What is an Adoption Order?
An adoption order effectively means that a child ceases to become a legal child of their birth parents and hence becomes the adoptive child of his or her adoptive parents. Such an order can be applied for by the adoptive parents themselves, or any person with a relevant interest in the child including a step parent.
What is the effect of an Adoption Order?
Unlike parenting orders under the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) which have no effect on the child’s parental relationship and are capable of variation or discharge, an adoption order effectively brings an end to any parental orders previously in place and the legal relationship between the child and the parties not party to the Order.
Can a child be adopted by a step-parent?
With respect to step-parent adoptions, the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) enables step parents and the biological parent (that they are in a relationship with) to jointly apply to the Family Court for leave to commence adoption proceedings under s 60G. It is important that every step has been made to serve the other biological parent with the documents, as they need to provide the Court with their views (consent or denial of the Order). If leave is granted the applicants then go through a process of investigation involving the relevant government department, and a further application (when appropriate) is made to the Children’s Court seeking the parentage Order that is required. Once the Order is made the child then ceases to be the child of the former parents and exclusively becomes a child of the adopting parents. This is why the biological parent and step parent must apply for the Order jointly – otherwise the biological parent who is in a relationship with the step parent loses their legal parental tie.
If leave to have the Order made is not provided, the parties may have an ability to appeal the decision, or otherwise seek a different type of Order.
At Best Wilson Buckley, we have a team of experienced adoption Lawyers who can provide advice in relation to your obligations and rights in relation to adoption law in Australia. Contact one of our offices today to speak with an experienced adoption lawyer.