What is an adoption?
An adoption order in Western Australia is made pursuant to the Adoption Act 1994 (WA) and gives full parental rights and responsibilities to the adoptive parent, therefore severing any legal ties between the adopted child with their birth parent. Stepparents can adopt stepchildren to give them those full parental right and responsibilities.
The legal/court process for processing an adoption
Firstly any prospective step-parent who is considering a step-parent adoption must make contact with the Department of Communities – Child Protection and Family Support (“the Department”). The Department will offer you and your family counselling and information in line with the requirements under Schedule 1 of the Adoption Act 1994.
Following this process being completed, the Department will issue a Schedule 1 Affidavit from the relevant officer allocated to the matter. The stepparent will then need to make arrangements to complete an application to the Family Court of Western Australia for adoption of the child. This is where the team at Culshaw Miller come in – to provide you with legal support and guidance in completing the relevant application and supporting documents to ensure this process is completed efficiently and to the Court’s satisfaction.
Pending further recommendations from the Department, the Court is left to make the final determination and consider whether or not the application is in the best interest and welfare of the child. If the Court makes this finding, then a formal adoption order will issue.
In addition to step parent adoptions we can also assist you with adoptions in the following situations:
- Children living in foster care; and
- Adult adoptions.
If you have any questions or wish to discuss these matters further, please do not hesitate to contact our Head of Family Law, Mary Basta at Mary.Basta@Culshawmiller.com.au or 9488 1300.