A step-parent can apply for an adoption order for a child they live with in exceptional circumstances where the welfare of the child requires it.
An adoption order is permanent and cannot be revoked. These are not made lightly by the courts who are increasingly cautious about granting step parent adoption orders.
All legal ties with the non-resident birth parent are severed.
There are alternatives to step-parent adoption which may more appropriately secure a child’s place in your family. For example, a step-parent who is married to the resident parent can gain Parental Responsibility (PR) by entering into a formal agreement with all those who hold Parental Responsibility, the child’s name can be changed by deed poll, or by applying to the court for a Parental Responsibility Order or a Child Arrangement Order.
Criteria for step-parent adoption
- You must be 21 years old or over and either married to or living with the resident birth parent in “an enduring family relationship” – in Hampshire Adoption we take this to mean relationships of three years or more
- You must also have been living in the British Isles or have been habitually resident for at least a year, and must have lived continually with the child for at least three years
- We expect all children involved in a step-parent adoption assessment to be over the age of 7 years, unless there are exceptional circumstances. This is because we believe it is important that a child is able to express their opinion about what they want to happen to them, and understand their birth story
- Children need to be under the age of 18 to be adopted, but the court can make an order up to the child’s 19th birthday
- Anyone with parental responsibility has to be in agreement
The role of Hampshire Adoption
All step-parent adoption orders involve an in depth assessment by a social worker from the local authority. If you live in Hampshire (excluding Southampton and Portsmouth), a social worker from Hampshire Adoption will need to assess the full circumstances of your family and prepare a report for court.
Call us if you would like to find out more about step-parent adoption
Phone 0300 555 1384
Monday to Thursday 8.30am to 5pm
Friday 8.30am to 4.30pm