LGBT Adoption Solicitors
Adopting a child can be a great way to expand your family while giving a home to a child who needs one. LGBTQ people have the same rights to adopt as heterosexual people in the UK, but there are still many other legal considerations to think about.
Adopting is a popular option for many gay, transgender, queer and non-binary couples, alongside surrogacy and sperm and egg donation. However, as you might expect, adopting a child isn’t just a case of signing a form and bringing your child home. You will be required to take steps to establish your parental rights and responsibilities and protect the needs of the child. The process can be complicated and very stressful without the right support.
Crisp & Co’s LGBTQIA family law team have many years of experience dealing with gay adoption, as well as sperm and egg donation and surrogacy for same sex couples. We can advise you on all LGBT adoption issues, including the legal aspects of adopting a child, making sure the process runs smoothly and that all potential legal issues are anticipated and taken care of. This will leave you free to move on with this new phase of your life and enjoy every second spent with your new arrival.
Our LGBT adoption solicitors’ expertise
Crisp & Co’s expert same sex adoption solicitors can help you with all issues related to same sex adoption, ensuring all of the legal aspects of adopting a child are taken care of. Whether you want to adopt through an agency or local authority in the UK, you want to adopt your step child or you want to adopt from overseas, we are here to provide all the advice and support you need. Our service includes:
- Advising on your eligibility to adopt and UK adoption laws
- Advising about the adoption process and providing support throughout your adoption assessment and approval
- Handling the legal aspects of the adoption, such as applying for an Adoption Order to make the adoption official
- Advising on parental responsibility, including LGBT couples specific advice such as obtaining parental responsibility as a same sex second parent
- Providing support once the adoption has been finalised and helping you resolve any post-adoption disputes
As a specialist firm of family law solicitors, we have achieved national recognition for our skills and success stories. We help people up and down the country add to and complete their families through adoption, surrogacy and artificial insemination.
We are members of the Law Society Family Law Advanced Accreditation in recognition of our skills handling the most complex of family law matters. We are also Lexcel Accredited for our high standards of client care, compliance and legal practice management.
Who can adopt?
Being gay or in a same sex relationship is not a barrier to adoption in the UK, neither is being a single person who is LGBTQIA. Equality laws mean that anyone can adopt, regardless of gender, sexual orientation or marital status and other personal characteristics such as religion, ethnicity or employment status.
The only requirements are:
- You must be aged 21 or over
- You must be a legal resident of the UK, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man for at least 12 months
- You must not have any criminal convictions or cautions for offences against children or serious sexual offences (other offences will not necessarily mean you cannot adopt)
Can same sex couples adopt from abroad?
As well as UK adoption, we also advise LGBTQIA couples about adopting from overseas.
When adopting from abroad, one of the major differences to UK adoption is that you must also meet the eligibility criteria of the child’s birth country. Although the UK does not exclude same sex adoption, other countries may do. Some countries restrict LGBT adoption even though gay marriage is legal there.
We will support your goal to adopt from abroad as far as we are able, including advising on your eligibility in your chosen country.
As well as restrictions on LGBT adoption, there may also be other restrictions when adopting from overseas, such as upper age limits or requirement that the adoptive parents be a married couple. You can visit our International Adoption page for more general information about the process.
How does the adoption process work?
Visit our Adoption Solicitors page for a detailed explanation of how the adoption process works – it’s the same for LGBTQIA people and same sex couples.
Adoption Orders – finalising the adoption
To make an adoption legal, you will need to apply for and be granted an Adoption Court Order. This:
- Gives you parental rights and responsibilities for the child – you will become the child’s legal parent(s) and take on the role of raising them, keeping them safe, providing them with a home and financially supporting them
- Makes the adoption permanent
- Removes parental responsibility from the child’s birth parents – this means that they will no longer have any rights in relation to the child. It is worth noting that the birth parents usually have to consent to the adoption unless the court decides it is otherwise in the child’s best interests to be adopted
Our expert gay adoption solicitors can help you prepare your application for an adoption court order, making sure everything is correctly filled out and reducing the chances of any issues holding up the process.
Parental responsibility for LGBTQ people
Parental responsibility is the legal right to make decisions about a child’s care, upbringing and other important issues about their life. When you adopt a child, you will automatically be granted parental responsibility. However, if you marry or enter into a civil partnership with someone who is already a parent, you may want to establish parental responsibility without legally adopting the child.
This can be done with the agreement of the child’s parent and anyone else with parental responsibility. If a person with parental responsibility objects, you may be able to obtain parental responsibility with a court order.
For more information, visit our Parental Responsibility page.
Parental Orders for LGBTQ people
If you use a surrogate to have a child using your sperm or egg, you will normally need to apply for a Parental Order after the baby is born to legally become the child’s parent.
To apply for a Parental Order you need to be:
- Genetically related to the child i.e. the sperm or egg donor
- In a relationship where you and your partner are married, in a civil partnership or living as partners
- Have the child living with you
- Be a permanent UK resident
You cannot currently apply for a parental order if you are single.
Our LGBTQIA family law team can guide you through the process of applying for a Parental Order, helping to ensure that your parental rights are established and the best interests of your child are protected. Visit our Surrogacy Solicitors page for more information.
LGBTQIA people are also able to foster a child, regardless of whether you are in a relationship or single. Fostering involves taking a child into your care when they cannot live with their own family. Some foster placements can be short term but others can be long term. Some foster carers also choose to adopt their foster child – there is even a process called fostering-to-adopt when a person fosters a child with the intention of eventually making them their legal child.
Fostering is a challenging but extremely rewarding experience, whether you want to help a child who needs interim care before moving on to a more permanent placement or you want to foster a child in the long term. However, as a foster carer you do not have parental responsibility for the child – this will lie with the local authority and possibly the child’s birth parents.
If you would like to provide a permanent home to your foster child, we can provide specialist advice on the steps you can take. This could include getting a Child Arrangements Order, a Special Guardianship Order, or adopting the child to become their legal parent.
Get in touch with our expert gay adoption solicitors
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