Step Parent adoption: what you need to know about adopting a stepchild
Are you considering adopting your partner’s child but don’t know what this means? Are you not sure about the adoption process?
There are many pros and cons to applying for an Adoption Order for your stepchildren. If an Adoption Order is made in respect of your partner’s child/children, it fundamentally changes your status as a parent for that child. You would gain parental responsibility through the Adoption Order and legally become that child’s parent.
At the same time it would however distinguish any parental responsibility the birth father has. Following the making of an Adoption Order the birth father is no longer considered the legal parent of the child. This status would therefore fall to you.
It is important that you seek the consent of the parents, including the birth father before the Adoption Order is made. This is something you will need to demonstrate when you make your application to Court. This is on the basis that he has parental responsibility for the child. Not all birth fathers have parental responsibility.
Before you can make your application to Court you would first need to inform your Local Authority of your intention. You will need to give them 3 months’ notice. During this time they will come out and speak to you and prepare a report as part of your application. This will confirm whether or not they agree with the adoption.
An Adoption Order can show your commitment to your stepchild/children. It is a lifelong commitment that you are taking towards them.
It isn’t however the only option. If you are wanting to be able to make the day to day decisions for the child alongside your partner, you can consider alternatives such as entering into a parental agreement. This would not however make you the legal parent of the child. It would simply mean that you could also make day to day decisions with the other parents who have parental responsibility.
There are a number of factors you need to think about before you make your application to Court to adopt your stepchildren.
Sarah Brown is an adoption solicitor based in our Huddersfield office but has clients from all over the country. If you require legal help or advice in regards to how to adopt a child, you can get in touch with her on 01484 538 421.