If you need legal help and advice regarding adoption or surrogacy matters, Slater and Gordon Lawyers can help. Our specialist family and children law solicitors can assist you with a wide range of legal issues surrounding adoption law and surrogacy law. For a consultation, you can get in touch with us on freephone 0808 175 8000 or contact us online for a call back.
We understand the sensitive nature of these issues, and have the experience needed to deal with the legal framework which surrounds these areas in regards to children and their prospective parents. We can provide immediate legal representation and support anywhere in the UK.
Adoption offers a way of providing a child with a permanent family and home. It’s an alternative available to those who are unable to have children of their own, as well as being an option for those who believe they’re able to fulfill the needs of children who can’t be raised by their birth families. An adopted child legally becomes a member of his or her new family and stops being a member of their birth family. You don’t have to be a British citizen to adopt in the UK. However, you must have a fixed, permanent home either in the UK, Isle of Man or Channel Islands.
Adoption law is a highly specialised and complex area, especially when taking international elements into consideration. The process can involve family law issues in parallel with questions of criminal law and immigration practice. For example, in some circumstances, it’s a criminal offence for a family living in the UK to try to adopt a child abroad or to bring a child to the UK to adopt him or her here. The penalties for the offence may include a fine or up to a year in jail. The immigration issues relate to obtaining entry clearance and nationality for the adoptive child.
We’ve provided legal help and advice to many parents who are considering or who’ve embarked on the adoption process. Some examples of the ways in which we’ve assisted include:
Our solicitors are also frequently asked to advise in situations where a parent’s new partner wishes to adopt their children. Also known as step-parent adoptions, these used to be common. However, today, with the focus on the child’s best interests, successful step-parent adoptions are very rare.
In regards to step-parent situations, and with all proposed adoptions, we can advise on alternatives to adoption. For example, instead of an adoption order, it may be more appropriate for a step-parent or a prospective adopter to obtain parental responsibility. They could also be in a position to acquire a special guardianship order. Whilst these orders will not make a child legally a member of his or her new family and end the legal relationship with the birth family, they may be sufficient in the circumstances to meet the child’s needs.
Slater and Gordon Lawyers offer expert legal advice on adoption and surrogacy law, with a proven track record of helping people navigate the legal obstacles involved in these processes.
Surrogacy is an arrangement in which a woman carries and delivers a child for another person or couple. The woman who has the child is called the surrogate, and the parent or parents for whom the child’s intended are called the commissioning or social parents.
There are two general models of surrogacy arrangement:
Surrogacy has become a popular option among those wanting to have children. Parenthood and the experience of welcoming a child should be a happy time. However, it can also be stressful, especially if surrogacy’s involved. This is all the more so where the surrogacy arrangement involves another country, as so many do nowadays.
It's critical that people considering or involved in a surrogacy arrangement seek expert legal advice as early as possible as this will help ensure matters progress smoothly.
Under English law, the commissioning parent or parents aren’t automatically the child’s legal parents, meaning they might not have parental responsibility. This lack of status might come as a surprise to commissioning parents who’ve entered into an arrangement abroad in countries where they’ve established legal rights.
Who the child’s legal parents are might depend on a number of factors, including whether the surrogate’s married and whether the surrogacy is traditional or gestational.
To be recognised as the legal parents of a child born to a surrogate, the intended parents need to act quickly. The form of order that gives recognition is called a parental order. An application for a parental order must be made within six months of the child’s birth. This time limit isn’t extendable. Whether the Court decides to make a parental order depends on a range of factors. These can include how much money the intended parents have paid to the surrogate, to whom the child’s genetically related, and whether the surrogate (and, if relevant, her husband) consent to the order. There are also residential rules which might act as obstacles to intended parents seeking an order. Ultimately, the Court must be satisfied that a parental order is in the child’s best interests. Surrogacy agreements aren’t enforceable in England and Wales. This doesn’t mean that they’re worthless. However, it does mean that both surrogate and intended parents need expert legal advice about what might happen if relations break down. Different countries and territories apply different rules to surrogacy. What’s true of surrogacy in England and Wales won’t be identical to the legal situation overseas. We work closely with expert lawyers in other countries to ensure our clients have the benefit of specialist legal advice particular to their case.
Our specialist child law solicitors can provide you with expert legal advice and assistance wherever you are in your journey through the surrogacy process, from considering your options all the way through to representing you in an application for a parental order.
If you become involved in a surrogacy arrangement, these are some of the issues you must take into consideration:
If you need legal help and advice in regards to surrogacy or child adoption law, Slater and Gordon Lawyers can help.
We understand that adoption and surrogacy can be extremely sensitive and complex matters to discuss. Our team of highly training solicitors have the knowledge, resources and expertise to handle your case with the utmost care and respect at all times. We’ll work with you, providing you with the advice and support you need every step of the way.
Call our children law solicitors for an initial consultation on freephone 0808 175 8000. Our contact centre is open 24 hours, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Alternatively you can contact us online and tell us when to call you.
For more detailed information, check out our legal advice guides to adoption rights and surrogacy, which you can download and print.