If you decide to adopt a child, then it is vital that the correct legal process is followed and securing the right advice is crucial. Adoption involves a complex legal process involving many individuals and several Agencies.
At hpjv solicitors, our specialist family lawyers provide bespoke advice to families across Cardiff, Newport, Chepstow and South Wales. We can assist you with expert advice on the correct process and legal proceedings relating to adoption. The prospect of expanding your family is exciting but can also be stressful. Our goal is to make the adoption process as smooth, efficient, and stress-free as possible, so you can focus on getting ready to welcome your new child into your home.
Should you be faced with the distressing prospect of your child being adopted against your wishes, then you must know what to do and when. You must not delay in seeking the correct legal advice as the effect of an Adoption Order is to remove all parental rights and responsibilities from the birth parents. Our lawyers specialise in matters concerning children and it is important that you get the right advice and support.
We offer free consultations to all new clients, so get in touch with our adoption solicitors in Cardiff, Newport and Chepstow today by calling 01633 242526 or filling in the enquiry form to the right of the page.
What our adoption solicitors in Cardiff, Newport and Chepstow can do for you
We can provide practical and individually tailored advice on all types of adoption matter, including:
- Adoption of children in care
- Fostering to adopt
- Adoption by relatives
- Same sex couple adoption
- Step parent adoption
- International adoption
- Post adoption problems
- Challenging adoption applications
We can also advise on other child-related family law matters, including surrogacy and Special Guardianship Orders.
Adoption can be a lengthy and nerve-wracking process, but our specialist adoption solicitors will be by your side every step of the way, including:
- Providing pre-adoption advice on the procedure and potential eligibility
- Guiding you through the assessment and approval process
- Advice and representation in relation to challenges by birth parents or anyone else with parental responsibility
- Applications to court for Adoption Orders
- Post-adoption advice and support
If you are the birth parent of a child in adoption proceedings or someone else with parental responsibility, we can also provide expert advice on challenging the proceedings.
How does the adoption process work?
The standard adoption process takes about 6 months and will be conducted either by your local authority’s adoption agency or a voluntary adoption agency. The process is as follows:
- The agency will send you information about adoption and will arrange to meet you
- You will be invited to preparation classes
- A social worker will visit you several times to assess your suitability to become adoptive parents
- A police check will be carried out to check whether you have any criminal convictions (previous convictions won’t automatically rule you out, but could affect your application, particularly if you have committed offences against children in the past)
- You will have to provide three referees to give personal references
- You will have a medical examination. Having disabilities or health issues will not automatically rule you out, but you must be able to care adequately for a child
If the agency approves you, they will match you with a local child or refer you to the National Adoption Service for Wales or the Adoption Register for England.
After your child lives with you for a certain period of time, you can apply to court for an Adoption Order to make the adoption permanent and to grant you parental rights and responsibilities. The necessary time a child must live with you depends on the circumstances:
- Children placed by local authorities – 10 weeks
- Step parent adoptions – 6 months
- Fostering for adoption – 1 year
- Overseas adoption – 6 months
- Other adoptions – 3 years (continuous or not but within 5 years prior to the application)
The Adoption Order will also take away parental responsibility from the child’s birth parents, so usually, they must consent before the adoption can take place (although ultimately, the court will make the Order if it is in the best interests of the child).
Who can adopt a child?
The first question potential adopters often want answered is, ‘can I adopt’. The simple answer is, anyone over 21-years-old can be eligible to adopt assuming they are able to provide a caring and stable home environment for a child. Characteristics such as sexuality, gender, marital status, disability, or religion cannot automatically rule you out as a potential adopter.
Who can be adopted?
Any child under 18-years-old, who has never been married can be adopted.
Can you be legally adopted after 18 in the UK?
You may want to adopt an adult over the age of 18 if, for example, you want to formalise a relationship with a new stepchild. However, it is unfortunately not currently possible to adopt a person over 18 in the UK.
How do I adopt my stepchild?
You may want to adopt your stepchild if want you to take parental responsibility for them, enabling you to make important decisions about their upbringing including:
- Choosing how and where the child is educated
- Disciplining the child
- Consenting to the child’s medical treatment
To adopt your stepchild, they must have lived with you and your spouse or partner for at least 6 months, and you must tell your local authority of your intention to make an application to court for an Adoption Order at least three months before you submit it.
You will be assessed by your local authority for your suitability to adopt and a social worker will produce a report which is taken into account by the court when considering your adoption application.
How do I adopt my foster child?
Fostering for adoption tends to occur when the child cannot be returned to their birth parents and the local authority responsible for the child wants to minimise how many changes in carers they go through.
The child is placed with carers who are both qualified foster carers and approved for adoption. The process for adopting your foster child is the same as standard adoption. You will be assessed and approved by an adoption agency and a court will make the final decision on whether to make an Adoption Order.
Can I adopt if I’m single?
Yes – marital status will not affect your suitability to adopt. Single parent families are very common nowadays and the ability to provide a safe and loving home for a child is not limited to married couples.
Can I adopt if I’m in a same sex partnership or marriage?
Yes – as above, the ability to be compassionate and loving parents isn’t limited to heterosexual couples and we have extensive experience assisting clients through all types of same-sex family law matters, including adoption.
Can I adopt a child from abroad?
You can adopt a child from overseas if:
- There is no safe environment in which they can be cared for in their own country
- It would be in their best interests to be adopted
- You’ve been approved for adoption by a UK adoption agency
The assessment process will be similar to a UK adoption, however, you’ll also need to visit the child in their home country and your application will be sent to an overseas adoption authority.
Can adoption be reversed in the UK?
Once an Adoption Order is made, it cannot be undone. However, an adoption application can be challenged up until an order is made final.
If your child is in the process of being adopted and you don’t agree, get in touch with our adoption solicitors as soon as possible for practical advice on challenging the proceedings before an Adoption Order is made.
Why choose hpjv’s adoption lawyers in South Wales?
Hpjv is one of South Wales’ most trusted law firms, having loyally served communities across Newport and South Wales for many years. We specialise in providing reliable, knowledgeable advice tailored specifically to your individual circumstances to give you the best possible chance of achieving a positive outcome to your matter.
We are accredited by the Law Society for our skills and expertise in Children Law, demonstrating our proficiency in assisting clients in child-related family law matters and acting as representatives for children during legal proceedings.
We are also accredited in Family Law Advanced for our expertise in complex child matters, including private children law and international issues.
One member of our team, Rosalyn Beaton, is an Accredited Family Law Specialist with Resolution, an organisation which promotes the amicable and harmonious resolution of family law matters, particularly where children are involved.
Hpjv Solicitors is independently regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).
Contact our adoption solicitors in Cardiff, Newport and Chepstow today
We offer free consultations to all new clients, so get in touch with our adoption solicitors in Cardiff, Newport or Chepstow today by calling 01633 242526 or filling in the enquiry form at the top of the page.