Solicitors in Milton Keynes - Family Law, Motoring Law, Domestic Violence

24/7 out of office hours domestic violence advice line: 0845 450 1281 (local rates apply)


What is the best Age to be Adopted?

I recently acted for a couple who adopted a relative, in “private proceedings” as opposed to state driven proceedings. The couple were adopting the child because this is what they all genuinely wanted, not because the state had deemed it necessary or even desirable.

I decided to attend what is known as the “celebration hearing” where the Judge dresses up in his wig, gown and elegant finery, the child is rightly made the centre of attention and close family members smile and shed a tear or two. What followed was a tasteful piece of legal pomp and ceremony during which I was lauded and applauded for my “fine legal skills.” If only every day were like that! It was genuinely a pleasure and delight to be involved in court proceedings which left you feeling warm and fuzzy, as opposed to wet and drizzly.

The famous Judge who once described an adoption order as the most Draconian order since the abolition of the death sentence, really knew what he was talking about. I have, many times, witnessed the effect on parents whose children have been adopted against their will. It really must be seem like a living death to them.

In English law, although parental consent to an adoption can be dispensed with if it is being “unreasonably withheld”, it doesn’t mean that an adoption order will definitely be made just because the natural parents consent. The Court still has to consider what is known as a “revised welfare checklist” which is applied with careful reference to the welfare of the child. For example the Court would not make the order solely on the child’s expressed wishes and feelings, as this has to be considered in the light of the child’s age and understanding.

The Judge at the celebration hearing made a lovely speech and he told the child that he was not enjoying the end of a process, but the beginning of a process. I thought that this was a very neat reference to the facts that an adoption order is one of the very few English orders that is irreversible and the Court has to look at what is best for the child during his whole life (not limiting the analysis to what is best for him simply during his minority). After my experience of the celebration hearing, if anyone had asked me what is the best age to be adopted, I would honestly have answered “any age!”

family lawyers milton keynes
NHS Discounts Milton Keynes

Bastian Lloyd Morris LLP is a Limited Liability Partnership and is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. Registered in England under company no: OC329737.