Becoming a (Legal) Step-Parent: 7 Important Steps in the Adoption Process
Adoption is a beautiful, complicated, life-changing process — and that’s true no matter which way you go about it. With all the legal jargon, mountains of paperwork, fees, and seemingly endless waiting time, the adoption process can be confusing if you don’t have help from a trusted source such as our team at Adoption NSW.
Your adoption journey may feel difficult, but we’ll help you get there by taking things one step at a time. In fact, we’ll start by laying out the adoption process so that you know what to expect.
7 Steps of Adopting
Step one: Do the research
Before anything else, make sure that adoption is the right choice for you and your family. Take the time to talk with everyone involved — you want to make sure you’re doing what’s best for the child.
Step two: Get some advice
This step may be optional but that doesn’t mean you should skip it. Investing in legal advice from trusted adoption lawyers early on will often save you time, money, and effort.
Step three: Contact the non-custodial parent
You need to let the non-custodial parent know that you're planning to make an adoption application. Whether or not they give their consent, this step is an absolute must so make sure to do it early on.
Not sure who is required to give consent? We answer that and other common step-parent adoption questions in our blog.
Step four: Obtain a court report
If the adoptive child is under 18, the NSW Supreme Court requires that you provide a written report, which must be prepared by a Contracted Adoption Assessor. This professional will speak to you, the child, the birth parents, and other parties and create a report regarding the proposed adoption.
Step five: Complete registered counselling
The consenting party (whether that is the child who is over the age of 12 or the non-custodial parent) must undergo registered counselling before they can officially provide their consent and allow the adoption process to go forward. Registered counselling provides an opportunity to consider the Mandatory Written Information as well as the legal changes that adoption brings.
Step six: Obtain consent
An independent party (such as a lawyer or adoption counsellor) must witness the consent in order to validate this part of the process.
Step seven: Lodge your application
There are several ways you can do this: File jointly with the custodial parent, file as the sole applicant, or use one of our DIY kits to complete the process yourself (learn more about the benefits of this option here). To lodge your application, contact the NSW Supreme Court.
Simplifying the Process
Our team at Adoption NSW wants to make your adoption journey easier in every way we can. From our unique DIY kits to our panel of lawyers offering expert legal advice to our informative adoption blog, we’re doing our best to help you achieve your goals.
For more information about intrafamily adoption, visit the NSW Communities & Justice site.