Adoption Solicitors

If you are thinking of adopting a child, we would be happy to provide the legal advice and representation you require. The process can be lengthy, but we have the experience to make sure that it goes as smoothly as possible and that your family has the legal foundation you need for a secure future together.

We provide advice on all aspects of adoption and to all individuals involved. This includes adoption by relatives or step-parents, same-sex couple adoption and international adoption. We also advise birth parents whose child may be the subject of an application for an adoption order.

If you would like to talk to a London adoption lawyer, ring us on 0208 989 3000. Or use our simple contact form to request a call back and we will be happy to answer your questions.

Why choose Huggins Lewis Foskett for adoption services?

Our family law team has many years of experience in dealing with adoption. As well as exceptional legal expertise, we also provide an outstanding service to our clients. We understand how challenging the adoption process can be for everyone involved and you will find our adoption solicitors to be sensitive and approachable.

We will stay closely in touch with you throughout and make sure that we are available as needed to talk through any concerns you have and to answer all of your questions.

Our adoption services

Adoption advice

We can advise you on all aspects of adoption, including:

  • Adoption through a voluntary adoption agency
  • Adoption through a local authority
  • International adoption
  • Step-parent adoption
  • Same-sex adoption
  • Surrogacy
  • Representation for birth parents during adoption
  • Contact agreements in adoption

Legal representation for adoption

We offer representation right from the start of your adoption journey through to final adoption orders. We can deal with adoption authorities, including where you are adopting a child from overseas.

We also provide representation for those in a child’s life who need their rights observed and their position protected, including relatives such as grandparents and step-parents.

Adoption orders

An adoption order is the final stage in adopting a child and will usually end the legal ties between a child and the birth parents, except in the case of adoption by a step-parent.

Once an adoption order has been made, UK adoption laws mean that the adoptive parents will have the legal rights of a parent in respect of the child.

International adoption

If you are considering adopting a child from overseas, it is crucial to follow the correct procedure to avoid breaching the rules on intercountry adoption. One of our international adoption solicitors can advise you as to whether you will also need an adoption order in the UK or whether an order from your child’s country of birth will suffice.

Everything you need to know about adoption

Who can adopt?

To be eligible to adopt a child in the UK you need to be aged at least 21 and have a fixed and permanent home in the UK, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man. You should have lived in there for a year or more before you start the adoption application process.

The following points will not prevent you from adopting under adoption law UK:

  • Marital status – you can adopt whether you are married, single, cohabiting or in a same-sex relationship
  • Disability
  • Religious beliefs
  • Home ownership – you do not need to own your own home
  • Employment – you do not need to have a job to be eligible to adopt
  • Having children already

You may also be able to adopt even if you have a criminal record, although if you or someone in your household has a criminal conviction or caution for offences against children or for serious sexual offences, adoption will not be possible. If you have a criminal record for other offences, this will be taken into account when considering you for adoption.

If you will be adopting a child with your partner, they must also meet these criteria.

What is adoption?

Adoption is the transfer of parental rights and responsibilities for a child from their birth parents to the adoptive parent or parents. Once an adoption order is made, birth parents will no longer have any rights in respect of the child, unless the adoption is within a family, such as adoption by a step-parent.

The adoptive parents will have parental responsibility for the child and in law the child will be considered to be theirs in the same way that a birth child would.

The process of adoption in the UK is either dealt with through a voluntary adoption agency or through a local authority. As a prospective adopter, you will need to be approved and go through a series of information sessions to help you understand what to expect and how best to help your child settle into their new life with you.

Once this has been completed successfully, you will be matched with a child and will have the chance to hear a little about them. If you feel that the child will be a good match, then you will have the opportunity to get to know them over a period of time. This will involve visits and eventually overnight stays.

If all goes well, the child will ultimately come to live with you. After a minimum of ten weeks, we will be able to apply for an adoption order. This is the legal document that finalises the adoption and means that you will officially be your child’s parent.

Are there any fees for adoption?

It is illegal for a UK agency to charge a fee for arranging an adoption but you will have to pay certain expenses. This includes fees for a police check, legal costs and the court’s fee for an application for an adoption order.

If you would like to call us, we will be happy to discuss the potential costs of UK adoption with you.

The situation can vary widely with overseas adoption. You will generally need to pay for the assessment process and this can be a considerable amount.

Will the birth parents keep any parental right?

After adoption, birth parents will no longer have parental responsibility for the child, unless the adoption is within the family. There is no legal requirement for an adoptive family to maintain contact with the birth family. However, in some cases you may be asked to agree to some form of contact.

If you are prepared to agree to this, a contact agreement will be drawn up setting out the details of what you are prepared to consent to. This could be direct contact, for example, taking your child to spend time with a sibling, or it could be indirect contact such as cards, letters and photographs. Indirect contact can take place via a third party such as the adoption agency or local authority so that the birth family do not have details of your address. The agency or authority will also be able to monitor the information that is provided to your child.

How long does the adoption process take?

Adopting a child from foster care can take up to 18 months. If you would like to adopt a baby, it will usually take longer and can be from two years to seven years.

The initial checks are likely to take at least a couple of months. During this time, you will also need to go to some preparation meetings.

The next stage involves more in-depth assessment of your situation, meeting with social workers and attending a course. This can take around four months, although it will differ depending on the organisation or local authority involved.

Once you have been approved, you will need to wait to be matched with the right child. Again, the time taken for this can vary widely.

How long is the adoption waiting list?

The length of the waiting list will depend largely on the child that you would like to welcome into your family. There are more older children and siblings waiting to be adopted than younger children. This means that if you would like to adopt a younger child, you may need to wait much longer.

Our adoption services fees

Fixed fee adoption services

We offer fixed fees for some adoption work so that you will know in advance how much it will cost.

Hourly rates for adoption advice and representation

For other work, we charge an hourly rate for our services. We will provide you with an estimate of the costs involved at the outset and keep you updated throughout. We will make sure that you have the level of legal expertise that you need, so that you will only pay basic rates for straightforward work.

Our family law team

Fee Earners

Marcin Typiak

Speak to our adoption solicitors in South Woodford, London

If you are thinking of adopting a child, we would be delighted to represent you.

Call our adoption lawyers in South Woodford, London now on 0208 989 3000. Or use the simple contact form below and we will get back to you soon.