Can my partner adopt my child in Scotland?

In this blog post, we will answer the question “Can my partner adopt my child in Scotland?”. In doing so, we will look at the legal grounds for adoption as laid down by the government of Scotland, about the procedures for adoption and detailed look into the aspect of step parent adoption. 

Can my partner adopt my child in Scotland?

Stepparent adoptions currently make up roughly 20% of all adoptions in Scotland as social norms and family structures change. However, legal formalities can be challenging and perplexing for many prospective stepparents in adoption. 

We’ve compiled answers to some often asked issues that parents-in-law who are thinking about adoption need to know before getting started. 

Experienced family lawyers are needed to help and guide this process, though. rice paddies

What is adoption?

The process of adoption involves severing a child’s legal parent-child relationship with the biological parent and creating a new one with the adoptive parent. 

There are various reasons for people to adopt—couples who want to give their children a safe and loving home, in-laws who have been actively involved in their life for many years, etc.—and there is no set formula.

Adoption confers to the adoptive parents all parental authority over the child. The child is always regarded as an adopted child because adoption is a permanent action. 

The new parent-child relationship effectively replaces the child’s former biological parent’s legal relationship with the child. 

His parents’ rights and obligations, as well as their biological parental status, have ended.

Step parent adoption 

One approach for a stepchild to achieve parental responsibilities and rights for the stepchild is through adoption. However, before making a hiring choice, you must give it some thought.

The 1978 Act was replaced by the Adoption and Child Welfare Act (Scotland) of 2007. 

Adoption of stepchildren is now permitted under the new law for stepparents who live with their partners. Cohabiting partners and heterosexual and homosexual couples are included in this.

Adoption, which provides the child with a secure family identification and aids in their adjustment to a new family, is seen by many parents and stepparents as a highly good action. 

While many parents and stepparents seek emotional stability for their children, adoption only guarantees their legal safety. 

Therefore, in addition to adoption’s benefits, parents and stepparents must carefully assess any potential drawbacks as well as if the kid may attain mental stability through other means. I have.

Eligibility for adoption 

It is necessary for the parent-in-law who will eventually adopt the child to be wed, part of a legal partnership, or in a “permanent familial relationship” with the child’s mother or father. 

The mother or father must be at least 18 years old in order to have the rights and obligations of a parent with regard to the kid. Adoptions must be at least 21 years old, as with all adoptions. 

Parents and adoptive parents must reside in Scotland. If they are between the ages of 16 and 18, children must be under the age of 18 and unmarried.

Although there is no maximum age for adoption, it should be considered if the age difference between the adoptive parent and the adopted child is higher or smaller than the typical age gap between parent and child.

Legal grounds for adoption

The adoption is legally regarded as the child’s biological parent according to the adoption court decree. 

The parent’s rights and obligations toward the kid pass to the adopted person, who then shares them with his or her spouse, cohabitant, or cohabitant (the child’s mother or father). 

This indicates that adoption includes the obligation to raise the child as his own, the right to have the child live with him, and the right to be financially supported by him. 

It’s critical for the stepparent and her spouse or partner to understand that even if their relationship ends after adoption, the adoptive parent’s rights and obligations for the kid will remain in place.

Regarding the nature of parents 

Consent from biological parent 

Sometimes. The default stance is that if the biological parent, who the stepparent effectively fills in for, has the rights and obligations, then the biological parent must consent to the proposed adoption. 

The court will, however, give parental rights if the biological parent is incapacitated, unidentified, mentally unbalanced, unable to completely discharge their parental duties, or is most likely unable to do so. Refrain from working out. 

If the child’s best interests need it differently, the court may also waive their permission.

Does martial status of adoptive parent matter?

A connected couple or a single person may adopt a child. “Related couples” are referred to in the Adoption and Children (Scotland) Act of 2007. 

In a long-term family connection, this entails cohabitating as a couple, a life partner, a husband and wife, or a life partner. 

If the parties are not a part of the pertinent marriage, adoption is still an option. Parenting alone is also acceptable.

Housing status of prospective parent 

Employers of the future must adhere to strict residency and habitual residence restrictions. One of the couple members must reside in the British Isles if a related couple desires adoption. 

Alternately, each member of the couple needs to have spent at least a year living in the British Islands. the application’s submission date.

If the relevant couple includes adoption, at least one parent of the child must have lived in the British Islands for at least a year at the time the application is made.

The applicant must have lived or had a habitual abode in the British Islands for at least a year prior to the date of application if the adoption is by a single individual who is not a member of the relevant marriage.

Process of adoption 

Child Placement for Adoption – This occurs when the child is placed with a prospective adoptive family for adoption reasons prior to the issuance of the adoption order. 

The child must be at least 19 years old if the applicant (who desires to be adopted) or one of the applicants is the child’s parent, step-parent, or related person. 

Prior to the order being obtained, the child’s dwelling had been with the petitioner for 13 weeks at the age of the week. If neither of these situations apply, the applicant must always have the child for a full year before the order is made.

Step 1-

Notifying the proper local government of the adoptive parent’s intentions is the initial step in legal proceedings. 

The municipality will then schedule the social worker’s home visit and request a report on the adoption aptitude and other adoption-related issues.

Placing a Child for Adoption – This takes place when the child is placed with a prospective adoptive family before the adoption order is made. 

If the child is at least 19 years old and the applicant (who seeks to be adopted) or one of the applicants is the child’s parent, step-parent, or related person, or if they were paired together by an adoption agency. Before the request was placed, the child’s residence spent 13 weeks with the petitioner at the age of the week. 

The applicant must always have the child’s home for 12 months prior to the order being placed if neither of those situations apply.

Step 2- 

The adoption application will be filed to the court along with the local government report and other pertinent papers once the report is completed. 

The court then sets a pre-hearing hearing for the following 6 to 8 weeks and, if necessary, mails a copy of the application to the birth parent and any other parties permitted to see it. 

In addition, the court will designate a guardian Adrite and a reporting judge. Within four weeks, the court will receive additional reports on the adoption request. Usually, the same lawyer serves as both curators and reporters.

The municipality where the applicant resides must be notified before the applicant can ask the court for an adoption order. 

A report outlining the whole status of the kid, the applicant, and whether the adoption decision is upheld will be written by the local government or adoption agency.

Step 3- 

Adoption opposition has a 21-day window for biological parents and any parties who obtain a copy of the application. 

In the event of a disagreement, the court establishes a deadline, requests an answer from the opposing party, and holds a preliminary hearing to discuss adoption. 

The court may, however, decide on adoption in a preliminary hearing if there is no opposition and it is determined to be in the child’s best interests throughout his or her life.

The local government’s or adoption agency’s report will be included with the adoption application when it is produced and submitted. 

The next step is for the court to determine whether or not the actual parent and kid need to receive the application. 

Adoption requires the consent of a child over the age of 12. The purpose of the report produced by the rapporteur/judicial officer is to advance the best interests of the kid.

Should the child be made aware that their stepparent is not their biological parent?

Concerns concerning the requirement for court reporting and the kid’s permission to adoption may arise if the child is raised believing that the stepparent is the parent and not knowing the mother or father who gave birth to them. 

You must give your agreement to adoption if your child is 12 years old or older when the adoption procedure begins. 

The only justification for renouncing their consent is their incapacity.

Parents used to be told to inform their kids about the reality of the situation. If not, you won’t be able to adopt because you won’t have your child’s permission. 

Children under the age of 12 do not need to provide their official consent, but the court should learn as much as it can about the child’s preferences and viewpoints on the proposed adoption. It is the responsibility of curators and reporters to address adoption-related concerns in some way.

Refusing to disclose the parent-child relationship to the child is not irrevocable, and the court will still weigh the advantages of adoption for the child. 

The court, however, can order parents to inform their kids of the adoption at a later time. Therefore, before opting to begin the legal adoption procedure, parents and stepparents must take this into account.

If not adoption then what? 

Since every family is unique, stepparents who are thinking about adopting their stepchildren should see a lawyer to learn more about their possibilities. The best course of action for stepparents is not usually adoption. 

For instance, it is doubtful that it will be in the child’s best interests to break the legal relationship with a biological parent through adoption if that parent is still actively participating in the child’s life. 

In this circumstance, a stepparent may instead think about asking the court for a residency order and/or a parental rights and liability order, both of which preserve the child’s legal relationship with the child’s biological parent. Increase.

Analysing the pros and cons of adoption 

Several benefits of adopting

  • All families are considered to be one legal family unit and are permitted to use the same name.
  • The same legal rights and obligations apply to in-law parents’ children as they do to their own.
  • The adopted child shares the same rights to inherit as the biological children.

a few drawbacks

  • Adoption is a binding contract. Thus, the adopted child is no longer eligible for financial support from the other birth parents and their families as well as inheritance rights. 

This might not seem significant right now, but it might be if there are financial troubles or if the child passes away in a new stepfamily when they are still young.

  • Your child might not want to let the past go, but you might. Long after their parents have left, children can still harbor loyalty toward their absentee parents and harbor dreams of reconciling with their birth family. 

Adoption may appear to be a rejection of or criticism of the birth family.

  • Even if their biological parents don’t remember them, adopted children may feel abandoned because they were “given” to someone else. 

The youngster could find it challenging to articulate their sentiments of rejection and shame as a result of this.

Brith parent’s rights 

If they haven’t already due to a previous settlement order, they will expire when the adoption order is issued. 

You might be given the go-ahead to maintain communication between the kid’s biological parent and the child in some situations, but this requires the employer’s approval and should be taken into account in some situations.

References 

  1. https://thespark.org.uk/relationship-support-parents-families/stepfamilies/step-parent-adoption/#:~:text=The%20Adoption%20and%20Children%20(Scotland,sex%20couples%2C%20and%20civil%20partners.
  1. https://www.caritaslegal.co.uk/child-adoption 

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