Recent years have seen a resurgence in adoptions in New South Wales with the number of adoptions taking place increasing significantly each year.
It is recognised that the adoption of children can often lead to better childhood experiences and outcomes than other types of legal arrangements that can be made for children who cannot be with their birth parents.
Hosking Legal offers legal advice and representation for parties interested in adoption or otherwise involved in adoption proceedings.
What is adoption?
Adoption is a process where the shifts all the rights, duties and responsibilities of the existing parent for a child, to the parent or parents adopting that child (known as the adoptive parents). After adoption, the child concerned will have a new birth certificate issued naming the adoptive parents on it. Adoptions have significant legal ramifications for the child and other parties involved.
What are the types of adoption in NSW?
The Adoption Act 2000 provides the legislative for adoption in NSW.
Adoptions can take place in relation to;
- Children who are Australian citizens
- Children within a given family – known as intra-family adoption
- Children of another country – known as inter-country adoption
Who can adopt?
An individual or a couple (including same sex couples) can apply to adopt. The persons applying must be domiciled in NSW, be of good repute and be fit and proper persons to fulfil the responsibilities of parents.
Persons who are authorised carers (foster carers) of a child may as well as relatives of a child may also be eligible to adopt that child if certain criteria are met.
How does the adoption process work?
This will vary according to the particular circumstances. Hosking Legal can provide advice that is relevant to your situation.
In making an adoption order the Supreme Court (which is the only court that can make the adoption order) will have regard to the best interests of the child and considers many factors before deciding if adoption is best for the child concerned.
The adoption process may involve Family and Community Services NSW or another accredited adoption organisation such as Barnardos. However, this is usually not required for intra-family adoptions.
There will be an expert assessment by an authorised person to establish that the parent seeking to adopt is a suitable person.
An Adoption Plan will be developed which is an agreement between the parties covering matters such as the child’s medical background, the child’s development and significant events, as well as contact between the child and parties.
What about issues of consent?
There are circumstances under which the court can make an order dispensing with the need for a parent to consent to a proposed adoption. For example if the parent cannot be found or if the court finds that their refusal to consent ought to be overruled due to the best interests of the child.
The consent of the child and their views will also play its part depending on the age of the child concerned.
If you would like to speak with one of our solicitors about adoption advice or representation please contact our office to book an appointment.