Do you want to adopt a Step-Child? The mother of a young child consulted us about her new partner wanting to adopt the child so that he would be formally recognised as being the child’s parent.
Our client had separated from the child’s father and she had formed a relationship with her new partner. Our client’s new partner treated the child as if the child were his own. The mother had some difficulty with the school not wanting to recognise her new partner as being involved in the parenting and upbringing of the child. As a result the mother wanted have her new partner to legally recognised as the child’s parent rather than “just a step-parent”. We were consulted to provide legal advice about this step-child adoption process so that the mother and her new partner could consider the likely effects of the step-parent adoption which can have significant consequences in respect of receipt of child support from the biological father and parenting responsibility.
WHAT DO YOU NEED TO QUALIFY FOR ADOPTING A STEP-CHILD?
The formal adoption of a step-child by a step-parent is a legal process resulting in the step-parent becoming the permanent adoptive parent of the non-biological child and permanently severs the legal relationship between the child and the child’s biological parent and that parent’s family. The step-parent must satisfy a number of criteria to qualify to adopt the child such as: –
be married to or in a defacto relationship with one of the child’s biological parent;
been living with the child and one of the child’s biological parent for a least (3) years
be an adult who resides in Queensland and is an Australian citizen (or the spouse of an Australian citizen).
The child must be at least 5 years of age and not more than 17 years of age.
ARE YOU QUALIFIED TO ADOPT A STEP-CHILD?
Provided that the step-parent satisfies the qualifying criteria the step-parent must then obtain leave of the Family Court (the permission of the Court) to be able to commence adoption proceedings for the adoption of the step-child and this is done by filing an Application in the Family Court. The Family Court will then determine whether or not to grant the leave by considering the relevant matters under the Family Law Act 1975 relating to the step-child’s best interests and the effect of the adoption on parental responsibility for the step-child and any current Court Orders for parenting. Once the Family Court has granted its leave to permit adoption proceedings to be commenced then an adoption application will need to be made to the department of Adoption Services Queensland. The department will then request the consent of each biological parent of the child to the adoption by the step-parent. If the consents of both biological parents of the child are obtained then the department will assess whether the step-parent is a suitable person for adopting the step-child and prepare a suitability report for the Children’s Court and provide a copy of this report to the step-parent. The step-parent is then able to apply to the Children’s Court to make a final adoption Order.
CALL US NOW TO MAKE AN APPOINTMENT AND FIND OUT MORE – CALL 07 3804 3244