Adopting a relative or step-child

Step parent adoption

Step parent adoption offers permanency and security to a child. It makes a change in a child’s life that will last a lifetime.

It is unusual for an Adoption Order to be granted without the consent or agreement of a parent who has parental responsibility. Since 2003, birth fathers who were not married to the child’s mother have parental responsibility if the father’s name is on the birth certificate.

All applications to the court for step parent adoptions should be made 3 months after the individual has notified us in writing of their intention to adopt the child.

Once you have lodged your application to the court, we will be asked by the court to complete an 'Annexe A' report for the court.

The court expects to have the views of all birth parents, in any adoption proceedings. Birth parents will therefore be interviewed in all cases, whether or not they have parental responsibility.

You will also need to have statutory checks undertaken, including a Disclosure and Barring Service check and probation checks. We will also need to ask friends and families to give references and interviews.

Before considering whether to adopt a step child we will want you to consider other options.

Alternatives to step parent adoption

Alternatives to step parent adoption include:

  • change of name by deed poll
  • parental responsibility agreement drawn up by a solicitor

A Special Guardianship Order or Residence Order from the court could extend parental responsibility to a step parent without changing the birth parents’ rights. These orders can give the child security, and even safeguard the child from risk, without depriving a birth parent of their parental responsibility by the granting of an Adoption Order.

If you are interested in finding out more, please contact us:

Adoption team

: 0800 652 1271 (freephone)