Adoption law is highly specialised and complex. To help you get started, our experienced family lawyers have put together answers to some of the most frequently asked questions we receive.
Our team of adoption solicitors are here to guide you through the process, so you can give a child the home and love they deserve. If your question is not answered below, do not hesitate to contact our family lawyers on 0800 2800 421. We offer a free 30-minute initial consultation.
What is adoption?
Children can end up in care for a number of reasons. Adoption is the process by which a child is made a legal member of a new family. Adoptive parents have the exact same legal responsibilities and rights as biological ones. The rights of the biological parents are extinguished on adoption.
Can I adopt?
If you are over the age of 21, you can be considered as an adopter. You do not need to have previous parenting experience and your religious beliefs, sexual orientation, gender and marital status will not change your eligibility.
What are the criteria for adoption?
You must be over 21 years old in order to be considered for adoption. Your financial situation, as well as your health, will also be taken into consideration as you must demonstrate that you are able to provide long-term security for the child.
If you or your partner has a criminal conviction involving children, then you will not be able to adopt. Other criminal charges do not automatically exempt you but will be considered.
Can a single person adopt?
Yes – you do not have to be in a relationship in order to adopt. In fact, 14.9% of families in the UK are single-parent families, so it is not unusual.
Can I adopt if I already have children?
Yes – you can adopt if you already have biological or adopted children. However, you will need to consider carefully how adoption could impact them and your family as a whole. You can contact our experienced team of adoption solicitors for professional guidance on this matter.
Can you adopt a stepchild?
Yes – you can apply to adopt your partner’s child or children, granted they have lived with you for at least six months prior to application. You must inform your local authority in writing of your intention to adopt at least three months before you apply for an adoption order.
Can I adopt if I have a health problem?
Having a disability or underlying health condition should not bar you from being considered for adoption, granted that you are able to provide suitable care for the child. For further advice, call our team of adoption lawyers on 0800 2800 421.
Can you adopt someone older than 18?
Under the law in England, Northern Ireland and Scotland, only children under the age of 18 can be adopted.
Can you help me adopt overseas?
Yes – our team of adoption solicitors has helped many clients adopt successfully from overseas. If you are considering adopting a child from abroad, our adoption solicitors can provide you with all the information and guidance you need. Contact us to book your free 30-minute consultation.
Is there financial support available following an adoption?
Being an adopter means that you are entitled to all the same legal rights and entitlements as a biological parent, including statutory leave and pay. You may also be entitled to therapeutic support from The Adoption Support Fund (ASF).
Can I adopt if I am not a UK resident?
You do not need to be a UK citizen in order to adopt a child in England, however, you must have been a permanent UK resident for at least 12 months prior to application. This also includes residents of the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man. UK citizens living permanently abroad are also not able to adopt from England.