There are four ways a child may be adopted in Alberta:
The most common types of adoptions are by family members. A family member can be a step-parent or a relative.
To qualify as a family member for the purposes of an adoption application, the person must be a relative of the child through blood, marriage, or adoption. Relatives include people such as the child’s grandparent, great uncle, great aunt, uncle or aunt.
The Court’s primary objective is to evaluate and promote the best interests, protection and well-being of children. This consideration considers several factors such as the child’s physical, developmental, mental and emotional needs, the child’s cultural and religious background, the child’s relationships by blood and the child’s wishes if they can be reasonably ascertained. Where the child is Aboriginal, the Court will consider the importance of preserving the uniqueness of the child’s Aboriginal culture, heritage and traditions.
An order for the adoption of a child who is less than 16 years of age or is 16 years of age but has not withdrawn from parental control must require the written consent of every parent. A parent includes the child’s mother or father, the lawful custodian of the child, or a person under a written agreement or court order who is required to provide for the child, has custody of the child or a right of access to the child. A parent cannot consent to place their child for adoption before the child is seven days old.
On the other hand, the Court may dispense with a parent’s consent if the Court is satisfied that obtaining the consent would cause the person emotional harm or the person cannot consent because of a developmental disability. A person who gives consent may withdraw it in writing within 21 days after the consent is given. Where that person had custody of the child immediately before giving the consent, the child shall be returned to them as soon as the consent is withdrawn. The Court may permit a person to withdraw their consent after the 21-day period where the Court is satisfied that it is in the child’s best interests to do so, and where that person had custody of the child immediately before giving the consent, the child shall be returned to him as soon as the consent is withdrawn.
An order for the adoption of a seven or older person shall not be made without the child’s written consent.
Before issuing an adoption order, the Court will hold a hearing. No notice of the hearing is given to a person who has given consent for their child to be placed for adoption and not retracted it or to a person whose consent has been dispensed with.
An application for an adoption order shall be heard in court in the absence of the public. The following people are not entitled to receive notice of an application for adoption: a person who has given consent and has not withdrawn it; a person whose consent has been dispensed with; or a parent of a Crown ward who is placed for adoption. The court files are sealed from the public but viewable to the parties involved.
An adoption order is final and irrevocable, subject to a limited right to appeal. No court shall make an order for access to the child by a birth parent or a member of a birth parent’s family.
For more information, please contact MD Family Law!
A step-parent adoption usually occurs when the natural parent of a child re-partners or marries, and the new spouse wants to adopt the child. The other natural parent is willing to give up custody, guardianship and parenting time with the child so that the step-parent can take over his/her role. In these situations, the natural parent signs an agreement giving up any rights to the child, and custody is then transferred to the other parent and the step-parent.
In this situation, the birth parent who has agreed to adoption will have no rights or obligations towards the child, including having to pay child support.
In order to formalize the adoption, an adoption lawyer will draw up various court documents as per the Adoptions Act, and will submit them to the Court. Once the judge signs off on the adoption, same is formalized.
Family adoptions generally occur when the natural parents of a child are either deceased or suffer from issues that make them incapable of caring for the child. In these situations, family members such as grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc, apply to adopt the child or children.
This type of adoption requires the consent of the birth parent(s), sometimes the Ministry of Family and Children Services, or a court order to take effect. The court’s main concern will be the best interests of the child when looking at the adoption application.
In order to formalize this type of adoption, an adoption lawyer will apply to the Court on behalf of the family to formalize adoption.
These adoptions involve children who live either inside or outside of Canada but are not related to the adoptive parents. These adoptions occur when parents decide to take over care and control of a child they do not know, for a variety of reasons.
These types of adoptions are handled through official adoption agencies.
If you have any questions, contact our offices now to speak with a divorce lawyer so we can help address you or your loved one’s legal jeopardy. We are available 24/7. We are a forceful group of family lawyers and we ensure that our clients throughout Alberta are provided with the best defense possible.