Can You Adopt an Adult in the UK?
Have you ever wondered whether it is possible to adopt an adult in the UK? This is a valid question as adult adoption is feasible in other countries such as the US, Japan, Germany, and Canada. The case of the UK is somewhat unique. Unlike in the aforementioned countries, the rules state that it is not possible to adopt an adult in the UK who is above the age of 18.
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Why would an adult want to be adopted? It sounds absurd, but adoption has its fair share of advantages. For example, there is the prospect of financial and legal benefits. Nonetheless, it is not only about these benefits. Many actually choose to adopt an adult to recreate the emotional connection and family bonds.
How to Adopt an Adult?
According to the England Adoption Law, a British citizen is considered an adult upon turning 18 years of age. Unfortunately, it is not possible to adopt an adult in the UK who is above 18 years old. However, it is unclear on the actual ideal age for adoption. For instance, some argue that age is measured absolutely, and therefore anyone aged 17 years and 364 days still qualifies for adoption. According to the argument, this individual cannot be adopted on the exact date they turn 18. Therefore, it is still unclear on the actual age that a person ceases to be eligible for adoption in the UK.
Hence, to adopt an adult in the UK, you have to start these proceedings before they are eighteen; otherwise, you will not be able to do so.
Do I Have to Fulfil Other Conditions?
The fundamental prerequisite for adopting an adult in the UK is that the individual is below 18 years. But this is not the only condition. The individual must also be unmarried and should not be in any civil partnership with another partner. Also, the individual should not have been ever married or have been in any other civil partnership in the past.
Adopting a Relative From Overseas
Sometimes it might be necessary to adopt a relative, especially so as to reconnect with the family. Also, the rationale could be to give the adopted relative new living conditions that are more attractive than where they are living.
If an adult is approaching 18 years, you can still adopt them, but you need to consult the services of an immigration solicitor. You also need to be well versed with the adoption law advice. The Home Office may intervene and actually suggest that the adoption is not in line with the set stipulations.
Must You be a UK Citizen?
It is not a fundamental prerequisite to be a British citizen to start applying for UK adoption. Nonetheless, there are several conditions that you first need to fulfil, such as:
1. You must have a permanent home in the UK, the Isle of Man or the Channel Islands to qualify. If you have a permanent resident in these places, you can apply for adoption in the UK.
2. In addition to being a permanent UK resident, you must have lived in the country for at least one year prior to the application. In the case of those who apply as couples, one of the partners must have resided in the UK for at least one year.
3. Anyone who wants to adopt an adult in the UK must be at least 21 years old. Also, if you are adopting as a couple or together with another person, all of you have to be at least 21 years old. Presently, there is no maximum age for those seeking to adopt a child in the UK.
Must You be Married to Adopt?
You can be married or not before adopting in the UK. Therefore, if you do not have a partner, this should not worry you. According to UK adoption laws, anyone, including single, married, or those in any form of marital relationship, qualifies to adopt.
Must You Live with the Child Before Adopting?
Yes. You must live with the child that you seek to adopt in the same residence for a minimum of 10 weeks. After this period has lapsed, you can initiate the adoption proceedings.
Can I Change the Child’s Name after Adoption?
You are free to change the name of the adopted child in the UK. This change will be reflected on the adoption certificate, which actually now operates as the new birth certificate. This adoption certificate is indisputable proof that someone has legally changed their name.
The decision to change a name can be made either by the adoptee or by the guardians or those bestowed with taking care of the adoptee. In case one is an adult before being adopted, you do not require the adoption certificate. Nonetheless, you can still change their name by applying for the change of name deed.
Can an Adopted Child Inherit Property in the UK?
Adopted children will have the chance to inherit the property from the adopting parents. This is irrespective of whether the parents have made a will or not. Nonetheless, a stepchild does not automatically qualify for inheritance. Therefore, if parents of such children die before having established a will, these children will inherit nothing.
However, this is an issue that can be solved via having the foster or stepchildren as beneficiaries of the will. This is, however, unnecessary for a child who has been adopted by parents.
Does Adoption Mean that Links with Birth Parents are Terminated?
After adoption, a child is under the adopting parents, and therefore the rights of the birth parents cease. Therefore, if you successfully adopt, the child shall be under your care, and you will make all the key decisions about them.
Adopting From Abroad
It is possible to adopt from abroad if the country is a Hague Convention country. Some North African countries such as Morocco are not parties to the Hague Convention, and adoptions are not recognized there. Adoptions from abroad require the country concerned to recognize adoptions. Some countries like Morocco only recognize a form of Guardianship as opposed to adoptions, and adopting from those countries is mostly a matter of UK government discretion and involves compelling and compassionate reasons.
How Can We Help?
At Gulbenkian Andonian, we have invested heavily in family law soliciting, and we are here to assist you in fixing adoption issues. Our lawyers are experts in family law and immigration law, which is highly significant, especially in sorting adoption issues. We are also committed to serving all your adoption needs without seeking excuses not to serve you. Contact us, and we will be glad to help you navigate the complex adoption process and possibly make your adoption dream come true.
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Armen Andonian is the CEO of Solicitors Marketing, a London-based legal marketing agency. He is a legal content marketing expert who writes on UK individual immigration, business immigration, family law, finance, employment law and intellectual property. He has a passion for researching and communicating complex legal concepts and ideas in a clear and engaging manner and has developed a reputation as a highly skilled and versatile author on UK law-related issues. He has written for numerous publications, both online and offline, and his work has been featured in a variety of high-profile media outlets.