Get expert advice from an adoption lawyer.
If you’re worried that your child may be put up for adoption, having expert legal advice to call on is vital. In what is undoubtedly a distressing time, we will give you sensible guidance you can trust and steadfast legal support. There are ways to change the outcome of care proceedings, and we will help you make sense of your options, so you know exactly what you need to do.
Clear, practical guidance
When children’s services are considering putting your child forward for adoption, it is understandable to feel completely panicked. There is a chance you lose your relationship with your child altogether. However, we will work closely with you over the coming months to help you get the best possible outcome. We understand how the Adoption and Children Act works, and we’ve guided countless families through care proceedings, which can involve applications for a child to be placed for adoption. Our job is to manage what is a stressful situation, and we do this by being honest, realistic and logical so you can work towards building a better future.
At Blaser Mills Law, we take a positive stance. For us, that means finding the most pragmatic solution and working towards it. It doesn’t mean giving you false hope and keeping our fingers crossed. Instead, we will be very clear about what you are likely to achieve and give you straightforward steps to follow if you want to move forward.
We combine legal expertise with years of experience working with clients in the middle of some of the worst times of their lives. Our aim is to make sure you fully understand where you stand in terms of the law, which is why we’ll work closely with you and be there to answer any of your questions along the way, whenever you need us.
What are birth parents’ rights?
Before a child is put forward for adoption, the court will want to check whether you, the birth parent, agrees to it. If you do not, then the Court will need to decide if the children’s welfare throughout their lives still requires them to be placed for adoption. The Court will use this basis to determine whether or not to make an order authorising the Local Authority to place a child for adoption, known as a Placement Order.
Most applications for a Placement Order take place when care proceedings are already going on. The process gives you the opportunity to try to prevent an adoption from happening, but it really helps to have adoption lawyers on your side to put forward the best case. By speaking to us early, our family law team can take you through the entire process.
If care proceedings are ongoing, automatic legal aid will be available to the children’s birth parents. Even if care proceedings have ended legal aid may still be available and you should contact us to check.
Stopping the adoption process
Once the Local Authority applies for a Placement Order, it is likely that you are already far along in care proceedings and that they have not gone well for your family. It is difficult, but not impossible, to persuade the Court to refuse the Placement Order application. Even if the children cannot come home safely, the Court can be persuaded to make a different long-term decision (such as foster care, or care by a family member). If that happens, you may be able to get more contact to your children and the chance that one day they could return home if changes are made.
Cancelling a Placement Order
So long as your child is not placed for adoption already, if there has been a change in circumstances, parents can apply for the Court’s permission to revoke (cancel) the Placement Order. This prevents the Local Authority from trying to place your children for adoption. If a child is about to be placed, we can work extremely quickly to make your application before this happens.
In situations where a child has already been placed, and the prospective adopters have made their application for an Adoption Order, you will need the Court’s permission to oppose this application. This permission is very rarely granted, but you might have exceptional circumstances and should contact us for advice.
These are always extremely difficult and emotional applications, where sensitivity and expertise is vital. There are circumstances when the court will almost definitely come to a decision that goes against you. If this is the case for you, we can help you prepare for the outcome and understand your options.
Getting legal advice is essential, whatever your position in contested Adoption and Children Act proceedings, and you may be able to get means and merits tested legal aid to take care of the costs.
Adoption Law for adopters
If you are an adopter involved in a contested adoption case, whether that is a private arrangement or one through a Local Authority, you should contact us for support. The Local Authority may be able to fund some advice, in the event that a birth parent has obtained the leave of the Court to oppose your application.