I am adopting a child: when might I need an adoption lawyer?

Adopting a child is a momentous and life-changing time filled with both excitement and trepidation. Adoption fundamentally alters the legal relationship your child has with you and the making of an adoption order is one of the most significant orders that can be granted in the Courts of England and Wales.

Adoption orders can be made in a variety of different circumstances: adoption by a stepparent, private adoption (directly with the birth mother), or public adoption (fostering to adopt, i.e. adopting through the local authority) but in each case the Court is concerned with whether making the order is in the child’s best interests taking account of the rest of his or her whole life. It is often the case that prospective adopters represent themselves or, where an adoption agency is responsible for the placement, rely on the local authority who is involved to pursue the case before the Court. However, for many prospective adopters getting legal advice and instructing their own lawyer is absolutely vital.

Instructing a lawyer can help to make sure that you are able to navigate the technical requirements which must be fulfilled to make sure that the application can proceed as smoothly as possible. It can also be reassuring to know that you have access to advice to help guide you through the process of pursuing your order.

Over recent years a number of important cases have emphasised the need for Courts to take great care to make sure that adoption orders are only made where they are necessary. This has led to an increase in the number of adoption order proceedings, which have become fully contested, often involving the child’s birth parents. These can be some of the most difficult cases for the Courts to resolve and can be a challenging and stressful time for prospective adopters. Instructing a lawyer makes sure that you have someone on your side to advise you, reassure you, and represent you in Court.

In the case of adoption proceedings, it is essential to have the utmost trust and confidence in your legal representative and this can be a very personal choice. Our experienced Public Access family Barristers can advise you on all aspects of your case and represent you in Court if necessary.

If you are ready to instruct a family lawyer to help with your adoption, read our simple step-by-step guide, then get in touch with the clerks in our central Brighton office who will discuss your needs and match you with the barrister best able to support you as you proceed with your plans to adopt.

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