Those who are asking the question ‘can my partner adopt my child Australia’ must first and foremost understand that step parent adoption is entirely possible in Australia. In family law, step parent adoption is a type of intrafamily adoption wherein the married or de facto partner of the custodial parent applies with their partner to legally adopt the child in their care. This creates a legal relationship between the permanent adoptive parent and the child.
This means that the short answer to the question ‘can my partner adopt my child in Australia’ is yes. However, there are different procedures, processes and requirements that parties must be aware about. The family court always considers the interests of the child.
If you are looking to adopt your partner’s child, this article will be relevant for you. In this article on ‘can my partner adopt my child in Australia’ we explore the eligibility criteria for step parent adoption, the application procedure, and other relevant points even for the child’s parents i.e. the birth parent.
Can My Partner Adopt My Child Australia: Step Parent Adoption
What is step parent adoption? This is essentially the process of legally adopting your current partner or spouse’s child. This allows the adoptive parent to have all the rights and responsibilities over their step child. Generally, after the legal process is complete, the rights of one of the birth parents (and family) gets transferred to the adoptive parent (and family) of the child.
Importantly, the child’s non-custodial parent will not have any legal rights after the adoption. Even the child’s new birth certificate will change to include his/her adoptive parent’s name. This is why many people pose the question of “can my partner adopt my child in Australia”. There can be uncertainty around this depending on your former partner’s willingness to transfer his/her parental rights.
But seeing that the child’s best interests are always the main focus, many parties oblige and go through the process.
Can My Partner Adopt My Child Australia: Eligibility Criteria NSW
In order to be eligible for step parent adoption, there are certain criteria that the parties have to fulfil. This criteria and overall step parent adoption process may vary in different states. In this section, we highlight some of the requirements that parties need to fulfil in NSW. Courts will consider some criteria before approving the step parent adoption. These include:
- The child is at least 5 years of age;
- The step parent in question has lived with the child, and the custodial parent of the child for at least 2 years immediately before he/she makes the application for adoption;
- In accordance with the Adoption Act 2000 (NSW) all relevant parties have given consent to the adoption. This includes the non-custodial parent. He/she must be aware of all legal consequences once the adoption is complete, and give their consent for the same.
- The Court considers the adoption will serve the best interests of the child.
Any other relative with parental responsibility of the child must also consent to the adoption. Moreover, children over age of 12 can consent to their own adoption in NSW. Children over 18 years can also be adopted. But for this to happen, the adoptive parent (or step parent in this case) must have cared for that child when they were younger.
What is the Step Parent Adoption Process?
For those who want to know the answer to “can my partner adopt my child in Australia”, understanding the step parent adoption process is crucial. As mentioned above, depending on the local jurisdictions the eligibility criteria can differ slightly. So, firstly, if you are looking to adopt your partner’s child, you will need to get approval from the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia.
Once that is done you need to check adoption laws of your particular state. While you are seeking approval from the FCFCOA, you must also meet all the requirements that are set down by your specific state or jurisdiction.
Broadly, the key requirements of every state include age, residency status, and marital status of adoptive parents. While single people are eligible to adopt, courts and states may favour applications from married or de facto couples. Most importantly, depending on federal laws, each state will uphold the best interests of the child before making any adoption orders.
Moreover, depending on the state, some parties may also need to fill out an expression of interest or EOI form. For example, in NSW, a party who wishes to adopt will need to file the EOI form and give it to the Department of Communities and Justice .
Parties will need to undergo sessions and training that prepare them to become adoptive parents. More importantly, the child being adopted has to attend registered counselling before he/she is legally adopted. Registered counselling helps the child to become familiar with the full effects of being adopted by a step parent. Through these sessions, the children will understand the legal and emotional effects of step parent adoption.
Are There Alternative Methods?
The above-mentioned legal methods can be used if your partner wants to adopt your child i.e. for step parent adoption. But if you are wondering “can my partner adopt my child in Australia” and want to know if there are alternative methods to adoption, this section is important for you. Parties can include their current partner or spouse (step-parent of the child) in parenting plans. By doing so, the step parent will be more actively involved in the child’s life.
If not, parties can make an initiating application to the family court, and request parenting orders that give the step parent parental responsibility of the child. Parties will be required to show that this move will be in the child’s best interests.
Contact Our Family Lawyers To Seek Legal Advice
In this article, we have explored the question “can my partner adopt my child Australia” in detail by discussing step parent adoption and eligibility criteria for the same. Moreover, we have looked at alternatives to adoption as well. If you need lawyers to represent you in the family court, or to help you understand the Family Law Act, please reach out to us today.
For more information on this topic, do not hesitate to contact our family law firm. Reach out to us for any enquiries here.