Step Parents

Partner of Parent Adoption

Adjusting to being a step-family is often not easy it is important for step-parents to think very carefully about whether adoption will benefit their family.  It’s important that you take your child/children needs and feelings into consideration.

Adoption offers the child a legally permanent relationship with the adoptive parent which they will have all their lives. It means that the resident birth parent and their partner share parental responsibility for the child. There is no automatic right to adoption and it is not appropriate for every child in step-families.

If you wish to adopt your partner’s children so that you become their legal parent and share parental responsibility for them, this is called step-parent adoption.

The local authority has a duty to investigate the circumstances and prepare and present a report of their findings to Court.

Implications to Partner of Parent Adoption

  • If stepchildren are adopted, the law no longer recognises the other birth parent as having any parental links with the child.  Also, half-brothers and sisters, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins on that parent’s side will then be legally unrelated to the child.   Your child will be legally cut off not only from one of his or her parents but from a large section of that parent’s wider family too.  This could be confusing or distressing for the child and obviously needs careful consideration.  In recent years people have become more aware of how important it is for children to know about their origins.  In step-parent adoptions, too, it is important to ensure that, although legal ties may be severed, the child does not completely lose contact with the other parent and his or her relatives.
  • Adoption can make children feel that they have to choose between different adults who are all important to them. This is painful at the time and can lead to problems as they grow older. The adopted child may blame their parent or step-parent for the loss of the other birth parent.
  • There may also be practical disadvantages to adoption. An adopted child loses any rights to maintenance or inheritance from the other birth parent or that parent’s family (such as grandparents).

Advantages of Partner of Parent Adoption:

  • Your family is recognised by law
  • All its members have the same surname
  • The children share rights of inheritance with any other children of the family.

Alternatives to Partner of Parent Adoption

There are alternatives to step-parent adoption that may more appropriately secure the child’s place in your family.

  • A Parental Responsibility Agreement
  • A Parental Responsibility Order
  • A Residence Order
  • A Special Guardianship Order
  • A change of name by deed poll

Who can apply for Partner of Parent Adoption?

You can apply for Partner of Parent Adoption if all of the following criteria are met:

  • You must be 21 or over;
  • You don’t have to be married but you must be living with the resident birth parent, in an enduring family relationship (NWAS recommends a minimum of 2 years)
  • You must be continually living with the child for at least 6 months
  • You must have resided in the British Isles or has been habitually resident for at least 12months
  • The child must be under 18yrs old at the time of application to Court.

Applying for Partner of Parent Adoption

  1.  Contact the service and you will receive an information pack along with a response form. You can then decide whether you want to register your interest in going further.
  2. If you feel adoption is right for your family, complete the response form along with a formal notification letter of your intention to adopt and send it back to the office, we can then arrange an initial visit. The visit will take place in your home to give you further information about the adoption process.
  3.  You will be required to give the North Wales Adoption Service at least three months’ written notice of your intention to apply to the Court.
  4.  You will need to submit your application to court, the cost will be approx. £200. The court will request a written report from the North Wales Adoption Service.
  5. The North Wales Adoption Service investigates your suitability to become the child’s adoptive parent and the appropriateness of adoption
  6. The North Wales Adoption Service will submit our report to the Court on your suitability and the appropriateness of adoption.
  7. The Court considers your application and the local authority’s report and makes a decision.

If you would like to find out more about Partner of Parent adoption, please contact our team who will be happy to help you.