It has been rumoured that Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt have extended their family by adopting a seventh child.
Various agencies have reported that that the couple have added to their family by adopting a 16-month old Cambodian child.
Jolie and Pitt have already adopted children from a number of countries and are amongst a list of A-list stars to do so, including Madonna, Cate Blanchett and Charlize Theron.
The way these international adoption cases are reported often suggests it is a quick and easy process. In reality, international adoption can be extremely complicated legally.
Adoption Law is Complex
It can be illegal to move children between countries – even for the purpose of assessment and adoption proceedings – if the correct permission has not been granted by a court in advance.
There can also be complications over having adoption orders made in one country recognised by another. It’s always better to find out in advance whether or not the original order will stand, or whether additional proceedings will need to commence in the country where the child will be raised.
The law regarding eligibility to adopt also varies significantly between countries, with some limiting ability to adopt by age, nationality, marital status, or prohibiting adoption by same-sex couples. It’s common to find you are allowed to adopt in one country, but not in another.
If you are looking to adopt you should be aware that many countries have a list of countries from which foreign adoptions are not accepted.
The Hague Convention on Adoption deals with international adoption and covers over 90 countries. Things can be made significantly easier when both the country of origin and the receiving country are signed up to the international adoption convention.
It’s usually necessary to have legal advice in both countries before and during the adoption process. Due to the complexities involved, forward planning is essential. Anyone considering adopting from a foreign country should do research and see a specialist international adoption lawyer at an early stage.
Cara Nuttall is a senior family solicitor at Slater and Gordon in Manchester who specialises in complex international children law cases.
For legal advice on international adoption call the children law experts at Slater and Gordon Lawyers on freephone 0800 916 9055 or contact us online and we’ll be happy to help.