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How Adoption Works.

14th June 2010
By Legal-Zone in Family Law
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In order to adopt a child you must be over 21 years of age and the child must be under the age of 18. If it is to be a joint application to adopt you must be married or in a civil partnership. If you are unmarried only one person can be the adopter.

Very often the adoption will be carried out through an adoption agency. They will arrange for a social worker to visit you and make a home study assessment of your family. They will take references and check out your medical records. Following the initial assessment the adoption panel will make a recommendation as to whether or not you would be a suitable adoptive parent. If you are approved the process of matching a child to your family will begin.

Where an adoption agency is not being used the local social services department of the county council must be informed not less than three months before making the application to the court. In most cases your application to the court to adopt a child will be dealt with by a specialised adoption centre. These are courts which have specialist judges and adoption officers with special training and experience in the adoption process.

The judge has a number of options when considering your application. Very often a reporting officer will be appointed. If the current parent or guardian of the child agrees to the adoption a report will be prepared by the reporting officer to help and assist the court. As in all matters concerning children the governing principle will be what is in the child's best interest.

Should the child's existing parent or guardian not agree to the adoption the court will appoint a guardian to protect the child's best interest. The child's guardian will make a report to the court advising on what will be in the child's best interest and will represent the child in court. In most cases the local authority or adoption agency will be asked to prepare a report for the court which will include details about both the child and your family.

About four weeks after you have lodged your application for adoption with the court a first directions hearing will be fixed. At this hearing the judge will consider amongst other things whether the application is procedurally correct, whether all necessary documentation is in place, and will fix a timetable for further consideration of your application.

All legal ties between the child and his or her birth family are brought to an end on the making of the order and transferred to the adoptive parents. Once the adoption order has been made it will be final and cannot be set aside even should the reason for the adoption turn out to be unfounded. There have been cases where allegations against the birth family have been found to be wrong after an adoption has taken place. Notwithstanding this the adoption could not be set aside.


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