Adoption and Surrogacy
Are you a step-parent who wishes to legalise the relationship with your partner’s child? Have you been working with an adoption agency and now been matched with a child for adoption? Are you looking to adopt a child from abroad? Whatever your situation, we are here to help you realise your dream of growing your family.
Going through an adoption can be both an exciting and emotional time, but also a time with an unclear road ahead. The rules and procedures governing the granting of an adoption order are complex, and you may be looking for advice on the legal route involved. Whether you are in the early stages of considering adoption or you are further along in the process, our skilled adoption lawyers can advise you on the legal steps at each stage.
An adoption order replaces the legal relationship between a birth parent and a child with an equivalent legal relationship between an adoptive parent and that child. Whatever the circumstances and whoever is going through the process (whether it be persons not related to the child, step-parents, grandparents or other relations, single adopters, heterosexual or same sex couples), all adoptions must follow the same legal framework. Any decision about adoption is made in the best interests of the child or children. The process is, therefore, not taken lightly and can be complex and intensive.
In certain cases, prospective adopters can be approached about ongoing contact between a child and a birth parent, sibling or other relative. We are highly experienced in dealing with this emotive and specialist area of law, having had experience in advising both prospective adopters and local authorities. We can help with all the legal aspects of adoption, whether it be liaising with local authorities, Children’s Reporters and the Court. We will ensure the process is fully explained to you at every turn and answer such common questions as:
- Will my age, marital status, employment situation or sexual orientation be a relevant factor in the adoption process?
- How do I deal with permanence orders?
- What do I do if the birth parent does not want to sever ties with the child I would like to adopt?
- What do I do if my adoption order is opposed?
- What is the difference between adoption and kinship care?
Surrogacy is when a woman carries and gives birth to a baby for someone who cannot have a child on their own. It is a notoriously complex area in terms of legalities. If you are considering surrogacy it is extremely important to get legal advice throughout.
Common examples of surrogacy include:
- A family member carrying a child for their daughter, sister or cousin
- A male same-sex couple using a female friend to carry their child
- A couple who use a surrogate mother abroad
The reason surrogacy can be tricky in terms of the law is because, when a child is born, the mother has immediate parental rights and responsibilities for the child. During surrogacy, the assumption is that she will pass the child to the intended parents she made the agreement with; however, the mother’s consent after the child’s birth is still required, even if a surrogacy contract has been signed. If the mother chooses not to give up the baby then she cannot be forced to. However, if the arrangement goes to plan and the child is passed to the new parents then they will still need to apply for the legal rights to be the child’s legal parents – and it must be done in the first six month of the child’s life.
As you can see even from this short summary there are many ins and outs of the law that you are better to take guidance on from an expert. If you choose to go abroad for a surrogate match then this can make things even more complex, although by no means unachievable with the right legal advice.
- Our surrogacy lawyers will guide you through the surrogacy process
- Applying for a parental order and making sure you meet the requirements needed
- Representing you in court
- Keeping you right on the complexities involved when using a surrogate mother abroad and bringing the child back to the UK
Throughout the entire process, you should remain aware that no money or benefits other than “reasonable expenses” should be exchanged between parties, and that, in the UK, it is illegal to use an agency that profits from surrogacy.