Adoption and Parental Rights

In certain circumstances, the intended parents are not eligible for a Parental Order. For those intended parents, the only option available to them is adoption.

If you are looking to adopt, it is important that you involve a registered adoption agency.

This area of law is complex and it is important to seek legal advice to ensure that you fully understand the implications of the same.


There are a number of important considerations which you should make before putting yourself forward as a prospective adopter.

If you have previously been having fertility treatment, which has proven unsuccessful, most adoption agencies will expect you to have waited a period of time (after the end of fertility treatment) before putting yourself forward as a prospective adopter.

For more information about the adoption process, and the legal process in applying for an Adoption Order, please contact our specialist team.

Overseas Adoption

If you live in the UK and are considering adopting a child from outside the UK, you must follow the correct procedures or you will commit a criminal offence.

For more information about adopting a child from outside the UK, please contact our specialist team.

Parental Rights

Parental Responsibility is defined as all the rights, duties, powers, responsibilities and authority of a parent. If you have Parental Responsibility for a child, you have the authority to act as a parent.

Mothers automatically acquire Parental responsibility.

If you are your child’s legal father (or a lesbian non-birth mother who is a legal parent at the time your child is conceived), you acquire parental responsibility by:

  • Marrying (or forming a civil partnership with) your child’s mother
  • Being registered on your child’s birth certificate (after 1 December 2003)
  • Signing a parental responsibility agreement with your child’s mother.
  • Obtaining a Parental Responsibility Order from the court.

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