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Adoption & Fostering for LGBT people
For same sex couples and single LGBT people, adopting a child might be the obvious route to creating a family. The law has changed and the UK is progressive in its thinking towards LGBT people as adopters and fosterers.
Whilst potentially rewarding, there are several hoops to jump through before you can begin the adoption process. So if you’re considering adopting or fostering a child, whether singly or as a same sex couple, what do you need to know?
Adopting a child if you’re lesbian, gay, or a same sex couple
You can adopt a child if you’re in a same sex marriage, civil partnership or if you’re a single lesbian or gay man. In fact, in this country the only requirements for potential adopters is that they’re over 21, permanently residing in the UK and have no convictions for certain offences.
As a potential adopter, you’re also protected against discrimination based on your religion, gender, homeowner status and whether you’re working, unemployed or retired.
What is the adoption process for LGBT adopters?
Adoption is completed through an agency and both you and your partner (if you’re applying as a couple) will be assessed for suitability. This stage is extensive, however, and can take several months to complete – so be prepared. If you’re approved as a candidate for adoption, the search will begin for an appropriate match.
Since the law has changed, it’s much easier for you to secure parental rights for your partner. If you adopt as an individual, and subsequently form a settled relationship, your spouse or civil partner can apply for adoption at a later date.
Once you’ve been matched with a child, the final hurdle is to apply for an Adoption Order from the court – this severs ties with the birth parents and grants you full status as a parent for the child you’ve adopted.
Support for LGBT adopters
We understand the issues facing LGBT adopters, and we can support you from the start of your adoption journey.
If you wish to adopt a child from overseas, it’s a similar process and will be completed by a UK adoption agency. It is important to note that not all countries around the world allow LGBT persons to adopt, but we can help with any queries you may have.
We can advise you throughout the whole process of adoption and submit the initial application on your behalf. Whether you’re looking for advice, or wishing to start the adoption process, our specialist solicitors can help you through proceedings so you can start your family life.
Fostering a child
LGBT people are also eligible to foster children, either as a couple or individually. This involves placing a child within your home if he/she cannot live with their own families or if they’re going through a difficult time in their life. There are many different types of foster care situations including emergency, short-term and long-term. The process of becoming a foster parent is similar to that of adopting which includes a social worker assessing your relationship (if applicable) and living situation.
As you’ll be fostering, you’ll have no parental responsibility for that child. In a normal situation, the local authorities and the legal parents will share responsibility. As a foster carer, you’ll have to work closely with the local authority in particular. You will also be paid a fostering allowance.
If you wish for your foster child to live with you long-term, we can advise about court orders that may be available to you, such as a Child Arrangement Order or a Special Guardianship Order.
We offer all clients a free 30-minute consultation with a legal expert in family law, as well as fixed fees on our family law services so you’ll know exactly how much you’ll pay from the start.