5 Important notes on the new Adoption Act 2017
5 Important notes on the new Adoption Act
Adoption (Amendment) Act 2017 signed into law on 21 July 2017 but not yet commenced.
The primary purpose of the Adoption (Amendment) Act 2017 is to give effect to Article 42A (Children) of the Constitution, in so far as it relates to adoption.
The Act provides for the adoption of any child, regardless of the marital status of his/her parents. It also provides that in any matter, application or proceedings under the Adoption Act 2010 before the Adoption Authority of Ireland or any Court, the best interest of the child must be regarded as the paramount consideration. In respect of any child who is capable of forming his or her own views, the Authority or the Court shall ascertain the child’s views and such views shall be given due weight having regard to the age and maturity of the child.
The Act also provides for a number of other changes including:
The right of any child to be adopted, irrespective of the marital status of his or her parents, where both parents consent to the placing of the child and to the making of an adoption order;
The Bill introduces a new test in the case of the adoption of children whose parents fail in their duty towards them in light of the Constitutional amendment. In deciding whether to grant an order under this section (section 54), the court will have to regard the rights of all persons concerned and will have to have regard to the views of the child. This section emphasises that in the resolution of these applications, the best interests of the child shall be the paramount consideration.
The Bill provides for the adoption of a child by his or her step parent without the requirement for the child's other parent to adopt his or her own child. The step parent will be the sole adopter and will have parental rights and duties in respect of that child as a result of the adoption being effected. Under this Bill, the legal status of the parent will not change and only the step parent will be an adoptive parent.
The Bill provides for the adoption of a child by civil partners and cohabiting couples.
This new law is intended to better reflect the complex realities of modern family life.