Information on Adoption Law
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When you adopt a child you become the child's legal parent and they will usually take your surname. They will also inherit from you just as if they were born to you. Upon the granting of an adoption order the child's natural parents will no longer have any rights or responsibilities towards the child.
It is always our recommendation that you discuss your adoption application with a solicitor prior to, or just after your application is considered by the adoption panel. Adoption is a major decision in every ones life, including yours, and should only be made after considering the legal implications fully.
You can apply for an adoption order as soon as the child starts to live with you but your application will not be heard for at least three months. If the adopted child is a new-born baby the three months can only start when they have reached six weeks of age. If you adopt an older child or a child with special needs you may want to wait a while before applying for the adoption order. If you are adopting a child from overseas an adoption order cannot be granted until the child has lived with you for twelve months.
The adoption hearing itself is usually a fairly brief affair. In court you, and the child if they are old enough, might be asked some questions and the decision to grant or refuse the order is usually made there and then.
If you are a couple you can jointly adopt. You do not have to be married. In the UK hetrosexual, gay and lesbian couples can adopt since the law was changed at the end of 2005.