Many people struggle with the fact that the desire to give a child the love and stability of a ‘forever home’ can be the subject to so much red tape and can be a stressful experience.
There are several types of adoption and which are all complex, but we’re here to help. Our adoption team are here to simplify the adoption process and give clients a clear understanding of both the formalities and responsibilities. It’s our job to make everything clear, to guide you through and to make you feel as comfortable as possible with the whole process.
Our family law specialists can act for anyone seeking to adopt a child – step parents, couples or singles, married or unmarried, same sex couples – and we can advise on all types of adoption arrangements, including:
- Adoption by step parent
- Adoption by relatives
- Adoption by foster parent(s)
- Adoption from care
- International adoption – where the child is being brought from outside of England and Wales, and immigration laws also apply
- Local authority adoption – where a local authority is placing your child for adoption
- Special Guardianship Orders
Our Family Law team offer a free 30 minute consultation for new clients and we offer flexible appointments that can be arranged around your work schedule.
The Adoption team
The Adoption team are part of the Family Law department at Howells.
The Howells team is one of the best in the country. It has been consistently highly ranked for family work in the north, and is overseen by the hugely respected and much admired Alyson Siddall. Alyson has developed a group of many talents but with shared values. Tough and resolute in their legal representation, sensitive and compassionate in their client relationships, the team understand that they’re not dealing with ‘cases’ but with people, not bound up in legal process but in real lives.
Howells was highly ranked as a law firm for Family Law by Chambers UK 2018. The prestigious guide said Howells is “Increasingly active in dealing with high net worth cases and child abduction cases over the past year. Bolstered by a designated mediation and collaborative law group.”
Legal 500 2018
The Legal 500 2018 ranks the Family department highly and states that “Howells handles the full spectrum of matrimonial work and children law matters. Alyson Siddall is ‘hugely experienced but always still keen to learn’, and heads the department which benefits from individuals based across Sheffield, Rotherham and Barnsley. Siddall is regularly instructed in complex financial arrangements and has additional expertise in private children matters and collaborative law. Sharon Lockwood is another key name to note for financial work, while Sarah Walker is highlighted for childcare matters.”
Q.When do I need a Child Care solicitor about my children
A.if social workers are telling you they are worried about your children or expected baby, then you can talk to us about what might happen. This is so even if your child has not been born yet.
Q.Will my children be taken away from me if a social worker takes me to court?
A.the future care of your children is up to a judge. Not every child care case ends up with children staying away from their parents and/or family. Sometimes the application to court is not even to ask that the child should be removed into foster care. What happens at court depends on the facts of your case. You should come and talk to us as soon as possible if this is happening to you. We can give you advice about what might happen and often we can suggest things to do to try to make your situation better.
Q.Don’t social workers just want children to be adopted to make their statistics look good?
A.parents and family members often think this, or have heard this. Sometimes it feels like that if it is your child or relative and you don’t agree with what the social worker is saying. Adoption of a child is such a huge step to take that a judge will only allow this to happen if there are no other realistic ways for a child to stay in their family. A social worker has to look at all of those ways. Adoption is a last resort for everyone.
Q.My child is old enough to tell the judge that they don’t want to go into foster care, will that be able to happen?
A.Children don’t often go to court to talk to the judge, but the judge will know what your child is saying. Each child has an adult speaking on their behalf. The adult is called a Children’s Guardian. They tell the judge what the child is saying, and will recommend to the judge what should happen, independently of the social worker (and you). Your child will also have their own solicitor who works with the Children’s Guardian and makes sure what your child is saying is known to the judge. There are no promises that what your child says will be what happens, but the judge will hear their view and take that into account. If your child is mature enough, and doesn’t agree with the Children’s Guardian, then they might have their own solicitor who will put their views to the judge, and, though this is quite rare, will arrange for your child to attend court with the permission of the judge, to talk to the judge directly.