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Can I Oppose an Adoption Application?
The Local Authority might have been successful in obtaining a care and placement order for your child, but that does not mean that your child will be adopted once a prospective adopter has been found. With permission from the Court, there could be one last opportunity to oppose the adoption.
Once a child has been placed for adoption and a prospective adopter has been found, parents can request permission from the Court to oppose the adoption, which is known as “leave” to oppose. The Court determines whether permission should be granted on a case-by-case basis, however, the main question that will be asked is whether “there has been sufficient change in the circumstances since the placement order was made.” There are two stages to this test:
- Has there been a change in circumstances?
- If so, should the Court grant permission to oppose the adoption?
Change in Circumstances
Whether there has been a change in circumstances depends on the facts. The degree of change has to be sufficient enough to show to the Court that improvements have been made that benefit the child. It is extremely important that the changes made benefit the child because the Court’s main priority is and always will be the welfare of the child. Therefore, the Court must also consider the points outlined in section 1(4) Adoption and Children Act 2002, also known as the welfare checklist.
What is the welfare checklist?
The welfare checklist provides the Court an indication as to what questions must be asked to determine whether something is in the best interests of a child. The checklist includes:
- The child’s ascertainable wishes and feelings regarding the decision (considered in the light of the child’s age and understanding)
- The child’s particular needs,
- The likely effect on the child (throughout their life) of having ceased to be a member of the original family and become an adopted person,
- The child’s age, sex, background, and any of the child’s characteristics which the Court or agency considers relevant,
- Any harm (within the meaning of Children Act 1989) which the child has suffered or is at risk of suffering,
- The relationship which the child has with relatives, prospective adopters, and with any other person in relation to whom the Court considers the relationship to be relevant.
Will I Qualify for Legal Aid?
You can apply for Legal Aid to seek permission from the Court to oppose an adoption application, but this is assessed on the strength of your case and the likelihood of success. To determine this, the Legal Aid Agency and the Court will look at the changes you have made in your lifestyle, the evidence of these changes, and whether these changes will be sustainable in the future.
How can Johnson Astills Help?
If you want to oppose an adoption application then we may be able to help. Please contact Johnson Astills at either our Leicester Office on 0116 255 4855 or our Loughborough Office on 01509 610 312 and ask for a member of the Care Team so that we can advise you accordingly. Alternatively, please email us on email@example.com and a member of our team will be happy to assist you.