Stephensons Trustpilot stars
Based on count 1564
View all reviews

Adoption orders

The adoption process can be complex and intricate. If you are a single person or a couple considering adoption you will have thought about numerous factors and circumstances in your consideration. The child’s welfare will be at the heart of this. 

An adoption order will make the adoptive parents the child’s legal parents, which means that the birth parents are no longer the child’s legal parents. To assess whether an adoption order is an appropriate step, there are three specific circumstances that need to be considered:

  1. Has the court already assessed that the birth parent’s parental responsibility should cease due to mental capacity or the child’s welfare must be placed above parental consent?
  2. Have the child’s birth parents already consented to an adoption order?
  3. Has the child lived with the prospective adopter for the required amount of time?

loading staff

What circumstances does the court consider in assessing an application for an adoption order? 

  • The child’s wishes and feelings in the context of their age
  • The child’s needs;
  • The child’s age, sex, background and relevant characteristics;
  • The child’s welfare and the risk of harm if adoption is not granted; 
  • The child’s relationship with existing relatives including the quality and longevity;
  • Entitlement to inheritance. 

All these factors will be considered. If an order is granted this will mean three principal things:

1)  That the birth parents will no longer have parental and legal responsibility;
2)  The birth parents no longer have the right to apply for contact with the child but they may seek permission to ‘apply for leave’ to do so.
3)  The birth parents no longer make a financial maintenance contribution to the child.

We have empathetic and experienced members of our team who specialise in adoption. Please call us on 01616 966 229 if you would like to speak with one of our legal advisors. 

Challenging Adoption Orders

Before an adoption order, there is a placement order whereby the child lives with the prospective adoptive parents. There are certain circumstances in which a parent can apply to revoke a placement order but this comes to an end when the child is placed for adoption. When an application is made for an adoption order, the natural parents can apply to the Court for ‘leave’ in relation to the order. We have assisted parents in doing so where there has been a change in circumstances. 

Making an application for leave so that the question of parental responsibility can be reconsidered, requires strong evidence and the court will only consider it if there is significant change in circumstances since the making of the placement order.

Adoption orders can also be challenged once made. They are difficult to overturn as they are seen as permanent orders. However, in certain circumstances this can be done. Successful challenges are more frequently made by fathers who may not have been listed on the birth certificate and have been overlooked in the adoption process. Other situations where it may be possible to present evidence include if there has been coercion and unfair pressure or fraud whereby you believed you were signing a different document. 

If you would like to have an initial discussion regarding your case please call us on 01616 966 229.

Challenges by adoptive parents 

Sometimes adoptive parents may find themselves in a situation with a child that becomes seriously ill or who has a mental health issue that becomes apparent only later after the adoption order has been granted.  This can be extremely distressing for the adoptive parents and the child. However, in these situations the court will consider if the adoptive parents can have their responsibility removed. 

This is more likely to be considered if:

  • The adoption was handled without sufficient information or proper examination of the child;
  • The child’s birth parents refused to report observations about the child’s behaviour or illness.

If you think this may have been the case and you would like to talk this through with our experts in this field, please call us on 01616 966 229.

Stephensons’ family law team has a strong reputation for achieving positive outcomes for its clients.The department is accredited in the Legal 500 and the Chambers Guide to the Legal Profession as ‘leaders in the field of child care’.

Adoption order FAQs

What is an adoption order?

An adoption order is a legal document that cuts the legal ties between a child and their birth parents, meaning the adoptive parent(s) now become the child’s legal parent(s) officially and remain so for the rest of their life.

How long does an adoption order take?

Once the court has sent the adoption order to the General Register Office, is usually takes several weeks to be received and processed. It’s not unusual for the adoption order procedure to take around seven weeks in total.

What is an adoption order UK?

In the UK, an adoption order means that the birth parents are no longer legally the parents of the child. The legal responsibility passes to the adoptive parent(s) and the child permanently becomes a member of their adoptive family under law.

What happens after adoption placement?

Once an adoption plan has been agreed and the child is successfully placed with their adoptive family, there may be a plan developed for follow up support and outlining details such as provision for any post-placement contact with the child’s birth family members.


4.5out of 10
4.5 score on Trustpilot Based on count 1564

We're Great

It is our business to deliver legal services that work for our clients, and you can trust our specialists to take care of things on your behalf.

Our Trustpilot reviews

Ten things to know before attending a family court hearing

Preparing to attend a family court hearing can be stressful but our family law solicitors can guide and support you through the process. Here are ten things we think you should know before you attend a hearing. 1. Check with your solicitor whether the...

Read more

Twitter block 1 tweet


Inheritance Tax hits more homeowners

HMRC have recently published tax receipt data which shows that the amount received by the government in Inheritance Tax between April and May 2022 has increased by £100 million over the same time last year. It’s probable that this is because...

Read more

Family reorder

  • Victoria Gethin​
  • ​Karen Atkins
  • ​​Gwyneth John​
  • Amanda Rimmer​
  • Lauren Day
  • ​Tim Galbraith
  • Kath Geere​​
  • Jackie Price
  • Rachel Benett
  • Nicola Clayton
  • Catherine Gaskell​
  • Emma Roberts
  • Laura Simmons
  • Lorraine Baldwin
  • Bethany Corday​
  • Lauren Evans​
  • Amy Jones
  • Victoria Melluish​​
  • Hannah Mallin
  • Claire Pilling
  • Benjamin Armstrong
  • Jessica Macaulay