Adoption Solicitors

Adoption is a wonderful and rewarding way to expand your family, but it isn’t an easy road to go down. Once you’ve been approved as an adopter and brought your child home, you still need to go through the legal process of obtaining an Adoption Order. The Adoption Order gives you the parental rights and responsibilities you need to give your child the strongest start in life.

At Atkins Hope, we can assist with the legal parts of adoption, including:

  • Helping you obtain an Adoption Order
  • Advising you on parental rights and parental responsibility
  • Resolving adoption disputes, such as representing you in disputes involving the birth parents

We can also provide emotional support and general advice throughout the adoption process.

We have experience in all types of adoption, including:

  • Adopting a looked-after child from care through a local authority or voluntary adoption agency
  • Private adoptions through a local authority or voluntary adoption agency
  • Adopting a stepchild
  • Adopting a relative, including a child you are a kinship carer for
  • Adopting a child from abroad
  • Adopting a foster child
  • Adopting a surrogate child (e.g. if you can’t get a Parental Order)
  • Post-adoption legal issues, such as contact with adopted children

Our expert adoption lawyers can offer you:

  • Decades of experience handling straightforward and complicated adoption matters
  • Resolution trained mediators and collaborative lawyers to resolve any disputes
  • Law Society Accreditation in Children Law
  • Certainty on costs at all times

Speak to our adoption solicitors today

To speak to one of our adoption solicitors today, please ring 0208 680 5018 or contact your local Atkins Hope office in Croydon, Medway, Blackheath or Guildford.

To ask a quick question, you can use our simple online enquiry form, and a member of the team will get back to you quickly.

How our adoption solicitors can help

Once you’ve been approved to adopt and matched with a child, you need a solicitor to help with the legal parts of the adoption process.

The family court needs to finalise the adoption by making an Adoption Order. The Order transfers parental rights and responsibilities to you and severs the link with the birth parents.

Our adoption solicitors can guide you through this legal process, including:

  • Advising on your eligibility for an Adoption Order
  • Drafting and filing the Adoption Order documents
  • Helping you obtain a copy of the adoption certificate (which replaces the birth certificate)
  • Representing you during the adoption court proceedings, including at any family court hearings

Depending on the type of adoption you are going through, you may encounter the legal process earlier on. For example, if you are fostering to adopt, the local authority may be applying to court for a Placement Order before the adoption can go ahead.

If you would like support and general legal advice about adoption while this process is ongoing, we are also happy to help.

Adoption FAQs

Can I adopt a child?

Almost all adults over 21-years old can be eligible to adopt a child. It doesn’t matter whether you are married or single, whether you are heterosexual or LGBTQ+, what your lifestyle is like, or what your race, gender or background is. In England and Wales, we recognise that so long as a person can provide a loving, supportive and secure home for a child, they should be able to adopt.

There are only a few things that could prevent you from adopting a child. These are:

  • If you are not a legal resident in the UK, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man or have been a legal resident for less than 12 months
  • If you have a criminal record for offences against children or certain sexual offences

If you have a criminal record for other kinds of offences, this doesn’t automatically disqualify you from adopting a child, but it may be taken into account during the adoption assessment.

Equality laws protect you from being discriminated against during adoption processes. However, the child’s welfare is the most important thing, so certain characteristics may be taken into account. For example, if you have a disability, this may be considered by the adoption agency or local authority.

But, even if you are concerned about your disability or another characteristic, social services may be able to provide assistance to help you adopt, so never rule yourself out.

How do you adopt a child?

The adoption process will vary depending on the type of adoption; for example, adopting a stepchild and adopting a child from abroad are very different processes. However, the basic process of adopting through a local authority or adoption agency is as follows:

Register your interest and initial checks

The first step is to contact your local authority or a voluntary independent adoption agency to register your interest. You will usually need to attend a group to get information about adoption and to undertake training.

The agency or local authority will run background checks on you to make sure there is nothing that will immediately rule you out as a potential adopter.

Assessment process

The next step involves going through a rigorous assessment process to make sure you are suitable to be an adoptive parent. Your social worker will likely visit you in your home and put together a report which will be considered by an adoption panel.

The adoption panel will make the final decision about whether you approve you for adoption.

Matching you with a child

Once approved, the authority or agency will start work to match you with a child. It’s really important to make sure that both you and the child are right for each other, so this process can take a while.

Once matched, you and the child will be gradually introduced, and contact will increase until they come and live with you.

Adoption Order process

Once the child has lived with you for a specific period of time (usually 10 weeks), you can apply for the Adoption Order to finalise the adoption and transfer legal parenthood to you.

How long does adoption take?

Everyone’s adoption is different, but the process typically takes around 6-months from start to finish.

What is an Adoption Order?

An Adoption Order is a court order that transfers the legal parenthood of a child from their birth parents to their adoptive parent(s).

Why do you need an Adoption Order?

Without legal parenthood or parental responsibility, you don’t have the legal right to make decisions about how your child is raised. You also won’t have legal ties with your child, for example, inheritance rights.

An Adoption Order gives you all the legal rights and responsibilities you need to raise your child. It also severs the link between the child and their birth parents, preventing the birth parents from having any further say in the child’s care and upbringing.

Can the birth parents change their mind about adoption?

Unless the local authority has taken the child into care and obtained a Placement Order to place the child for adoption, the birth parents typically need to provide their consent before an Adoption Order can be made.

If the birth parents decide they don’t want to consent, the court will usually decide whether going ahead with the adoption is in the child’s best interests. This means you may be able to get an Adoption Order even if the birth parents object.

Speak to our adoption solicitors today

To speak to one of our adoption solicitors today, please ring 0208 680 5018 or contact your local Atkins Hope office in Croydon, Medway, Blackheath or Guildford.

To ask a quick question, you can use our simple online enquiry form, and a member of the team will get back to you quickly.