Katherine Marshall, Senior Solicitor
If you are considering adoption, we have good news! The Queensland Government has recently amended the Queensland adoption laws to broaden the category for those able to apply to adopt.
On 2 November 2016, the Queensland Parliament passed the Adoption and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2016. This new law amended a number of aspects of the existing adoption laws and, most importantly, expanded the eligibility criteria to enable the following persons to be considered as adoptive parents and ultimately to have their name entered on the adoption Expression of Interest Register:
- same sex couples;
- single persons; and
- persons undergoing fertility treatment.
Other amendments contemplated by this Bill also included improving processes for adopting a step-child, facilitating the release of certain information where required and also generally clarifying existing provisions of the Act and correcting drafting issues.
There are a variety of reasons why you might be considering adoption: infertility problems, experiencing pregnancy issues and/or miscarriages, being from a gay and/or lesbian relationship, being adopted yourself or you simply haven’t found the right person to have children with.
The adoption process is notoriously difficult to navigate in Queensland, lengthy in nature and can be quite expensive. The process is also dependent on what you are ultimately trying to achieve, i.e. are you wanting to adopt a child from Queensland; would you prefer to adopt a child from overseas; are you trying to adopt your step child?
Let’s try and break it down.
If considering adopting a child from Queensland or overseas, you must complete an Adoption Expression of Interest Form. For Queensland adoptions, an assessment of your eligibility will be undertaken. Provided you meet these requirements, your name will be entered on the Expression of Interest Register. In relation to an overseas adoption, you will also need to meet the eligibility criteria of the particular country you wish to adopt from prior to being entered on the Register. These requirements can be found on the Queensland Government adoption website.
Once on the Register, if you are selected to have your suitability assessed, you will shortly thereafter receive a Notice of Selection for Assessment. The assessment fee for a Queensland adoption is $636.70 and for inter-country adoption will be $4,573.25. Persons who are assessed as “suitable” to be an adoptive parent will be entered onto the Suitable Adoptive Parents Register. It is from this Register the adoption agency will select people who are the most appropriate for a particular child who requires adopting. If you are selected you will receive a placement proposal which you are able to accept or decline. If you do accept this proposal, an application will be made to the Children’s Court for an interim Adoption Order. A child must be in your care for a period of at least 12 months before a final Adoption Order can be made.
Prior to adopting, we recommend that you seek advice from Queensland Adoption Services and a family lawyer. The Queensland and Inter-country Adoption Handbook is also a useful tool that might provide you with some insight into this process and can be found on the Queensland Government website.
Our team of experienced family lawyers in Toowoomba, Brisbane, Ipswich, and North Lakes can be of assistance with your adoption matter. Call our team on 3812 1392, 4639 0000 or 3210 0281 to make an appointment.