Adoption is a selfless and wonderful act. However, it is also a legal process that must be handled properly in accordance with all applicable laws. Feldstein Family Law Group P.C. is here to help with your adoption. We can help you navigate this complex process while protecting your rights and working toward a swift and positive result. Our Ontario adoption lawyers understand how important this matter is to you and will provide personal attention and caring service every step of the way.
There are four distinctive routes by which children may be adopted in Ontario. The first, and the one we handle, is by a step-parent or other relative.
For more information on adoption and to discover how our firm can assist you, call (905) 581-7222 for a free consultation.
Step-Parent Adoption in Ontario
The most common request respecting adoption matters, dealt with by our firm, are requests for adoption by step-parents. This court-ordered procedure is set out more closely below. If you are interested in any of the other means of adoption, relevant information may be found at the government of Ontario website by clicking here.
As suggested by its name, a step-parent adoption involves an application made individually by the spouse of the child’s parent or jointly with the child’s parent under the Child and Family Services Act to either the Ontario Court of Justice or the Family Court of the Superior Court of Justice for an order for adoption. The definition of spouse employed in the legislation is based on the Human Rights Code and includes married partners and partners living in a conjugal relationship whether of the same-sex or opposite sex. Both the applicant and the adoptee must be residents of Ontario for the court to make an order. According to the legislation, a child is defined as a person under 18 years of age; however orders may be made in respect of individuals 18 years and older.
The overarching concern the court faces in making the adoption order is that the best interests of the child be met. Thus, a court will take into consideration aspects such as the emotional, physical, and mental needs of the child, the child’s wishes (if these can be ascertained), and the child’s religious and cultural background. Particular attention is afforded the cultural identity of children who are Indian or native persons.
A critical element in the adoption process is the presence of consent to the adoption by the persons affected. Thus, an adoption order will not be made without the written consent of every parent, the child, if seven years or older, and the spouse of the person applying. A parent’s consent cannot be given within the first week of the child’s birth. The legislation allows a person who has previously given consent to withdraw it within 21 days, a period that may be extended if the court finds it to be in the child’s best interests. Although the consent of every parent is generally sought prior to an adoption order being granted, the court will dispense with consent where it is in the best interest of the child to do so and the person, whose consent has been sought, has received notice of the adoption and the application to dispense with consent.
The court will hold a hearing before issuing an order. These are private and will be held in the county or district wherein the applicant or child resides. If a person has given consent or has had his or her consent dispensed with, no notice of the hearing will be given to this person.
One the court issues an adoption order, it is final. The adopted child then becomes the child of the applicant, and the applicant becomes the legal parent of the child. Indeed, the statute describes the new relationship as “as if the adopted child had been born to the adoptive parent.” The significance of this new status is marked – a court is prohibited thereafter from making an order for access to the adopted child for a birth parent or member of the birth parent’s family.
Free Consultation with an Ontario Adoption Lawyer
The adoption process can present challenges, but Feldstein Family Law Group P.C. can guide you through. Our Ontario adoption lawyers are experienced, skilled, and dedicated to helping you accomplish your goals. We welcome you to call our firm for a free consultation, at which point we can talk to you about your unique situation and how we can help.
Call (905) 581-7222 today to learn more about our adoption services. We proudly serve all of Ontario, including Mississauga, Vaughan, Oakville, and Markham.