The Priority of Children’s Well-Being
Hall Brown’s Children Family Law team has extensive experience supporting families through a wide range of often complex public and private law matters, including those concerned with adoption and care proceedings.
Adoption is the process by which the legal relationship between a parent and child is changed.
If your biological child is made the subject of an adoption order, you are no longer their legal parent and your parental responsibility for that child is ended.
An adoptive parent becomes a child’s legal parent at the point at which an adoption order is made.
Hall Brown has helped many individuals – birth parents, adoptive parents and other family members – at all steps of the adoption process, even after the immediate legal formalities are completed.
My child has been placed for adoption or adopted
If your child has been made the subject of a placement or adoption order and you want to know your options for ongoing contact or further assessment, Hall Brown can offer advice and guidance.
I want to adopt a child in the UK (domestic adoption)
Likewise, the Hall Brown team can assist you if you intend to adopt a child, helping you meet all the criteria required of prospective adopters and taking you through all subsequent proceedings.
I want to adopt a child from abroad (inter-country adoption)
You might not be surprised to learn that adopting from a country outside England and Wales can be a more complicated process than adopting a child already living here, not least because of overlaps with immigration law.
Adoption rules and regulations can also differ between countries. An adoptive parent’s immigration status and nationality can be important factors.
It is essential, therefore, that parents wishing to adopt from abroad seek legal advice as soon as they can.
Hall Brown works closely with specialist immigration lawyers to provide parents and children with exactly the support which they need.
I want to adopt a step-child or family member
Even though adopting a child from a partner’s previous relationship is far from uncommon, there are a number of administrative steps to comply with in order for the process to be completed without difficulty.
It is possible to adopt a family member from another country, although the advice of a specialist lawyer is essential to overcome potential obstacles.
For example, guardianship orders granted overseas are not recognised in England and Wales and, therefore, will not confer legal responsibility for the child.
I have adopted a child and I am not getting the support I need
Hall Brown fully understands the challenges which adoptive parents face and appreciates how adoptive placements can break down if they are not properly supported by their local authority.
We can help ensure that councils comply with their legal duties to parents, thus enabling them to manage the unique circumstances for them and their adoptive child.
‘Kinship care’ is a term used to describe those situations in which a family member is caring for a child of the family.
Quite often, the child involved is a grandchild but it can also be a niece, nephew, younger sibling or even a more distant relative.
It is important that any adult entrusted with making day-to-day decisions about a child’s well-being, especially those relating to medical treatment or education, has the proper legal responsibility to do so.
Hall Brown can advise you as to the most suitable way to establish parental responsibility, either by agreement or via a formal application to court for a Child Arrangement Order or Special Guardianship Order.
PRIVATE AND PUBLIC LAW (CARE) PROCEEDINGS
The Children’s Law team at Hall Brown is also skilled in handling with other court proceedings aimed at protecting the best interests of a child.
They include Private Law proceedings dealing with issues which often arise with the divorce or separation of parents, such Child Arrangement Orders (which determine the living arrangements of children after their parents’ break-up), Specific Issue Orders (used to resolve parental disputes about very particular elements of a child’s upbringing) and Prohibited Steps Orders (which, as the name suggests, prevent parents taking unilateral decision on matters such as relocating a child within the UK or abroad, or taking decisions about its medical treatment).
In addition, Hall Brown deals with privately-funded Public Law care proceedings.
They are situations in which a local authority’s Social Services Department has deemed it necessary to escalate its involvement in a family’s affairs by beginning legal action.
These can be terribly stressful but Hall Brown has both the experience and expertise capable of providing reassurance and relevant guidance about how best to achieve a positive outcome.