Am I eligible to adopt a child?
Published 11 Dec 2017
Legally adopting a child in NSW is a complex area of family law - but ultimately will be incredibly rewarding for yourself, your family and, of course, your newly adopted child.
However, the finality of the process and stringent legal requirements means there are certain criteria that prospective parents must meet if they are to be successful.
Let's take a look at what you need to do to become eligible to adopt a child in NSW.
What is the NSW law on adoption?
Family & Community Services NSW defines the process as the transference of all legal rights and responsibilities for a child from birth parents to adoptive parents. This includes rights of inheritance between parents and child further down the line and changes that can affect other ongoing legal proceedings.
Am I eligible to adopt?
If you are considering adopting a child in NSW, there are several criteria you need to fulfil in order to be considered as a viable legal guardian:
- You must be a resident of or domiciled in NSW. If you want to adopt a child from outside the state, the process becomes more complicated as interstate adoption laws have to be considered.
- Applicants need to be over 21 years of age, and at least 18 years older than the child you intend to adopt. This is to ensure prospective parents are emotionally mature and financially secure enough to take on permanent guardianship responsibility.
- Adopters need to be of 'good repute' and 'fit and proper' to fulfil their legal responsibilities.
How do you define good repute and fit and proper?
When you submit your application for adoption, you will be required to provide information on a range of factors that determine your eligibility, including:
- Criminal records;
- Mental health and history of substance abuse;
- Physical health or any disabilities;
- Financial security.
If you have a criminal record, this doesn't automatically rule you out, but special consideration will be given to your application if you have committed a crime in the past. Serious cases like sexual abuse, violence or murder will leave you unsuitable.
Similarly, issues with physical or mental health will not automatically be a barrier to adoption. A referee check will be conducted to determine your personal character, and the information provided can aid your case.
If you want to adopt a child in NSW and believe any of these factors may unfairly impact your case, it is best to seek the help of an experienced Parramatta family lawyer. For more information, reach out to one of our legal specialists at Malouf Solicitors today.
Please call us on 02 8833 2000 to speak with a lawyer
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