In August 2018 we posted this blog about the upcoming changes to adult adoption laws in South Australia.
As set out in the blog, in 2014 and 2015 the South Australian Adoption Act 1988 and the supporting Adoption Regulations 2004 were independently reviewed. Following this review, the South Australian Parliament passed the Adoption (Review) Amendment Act 2016 (SA).
The Adoption (Review) Amendment Act 2016 (SA) provided a new section which allows for adults to be adopted. Up until recently however, the regulations which supported the new provision for adult adoption had not been finalised. We are now pleased to report that the Adoption (General) Regulations 2018 have since been finalised and are now in effect. This means that adult adoption is now able to occur in South Australia.
What is the process to apply for adult adoption?
All applications for adult adoption in South Australia must be made to the Youth Court of South Australia. An application for adult adoption must be made by the proposed adoptive parent/s.
Under the new Adoption Act the Youth Court has power to make an adoption order in relation to children under the age of 18 years, as well as people over the age of 18 years.
The Court will not however make an adoption order in favour of a child who is aged 18 years or more on the date the application is made, unless the Court is satisfied of the following:
- That a significant parent to child relationship existed between the prospective adoptive parent or parents and the child before the child attained the age of 18 years; and
- The child appears to understand the consequences of adoption on the child’s interests, rights and welfare.
In determining whether a “significant parent to child relationship existed” the Court will take into account the following:
- Whether the child was cared for by the prospective adoptive parent or parents as their child prior to the child reaching the age of 18 years;
- Whether the child was, under the Children’s Protection Act 1993, placed in the care of the prospective adoptive parent or parents, prior to the child reaching the age of 18 years.
Before making an adoption order, the consent of both the child who is over the age of 18 years and the child’s biological parents or guardians must be obtained. However, there are specific circumstances where the Court will dispense with the requirements of consent from the child’s biological parents or guardians.
The court cannot make an order for adoption except in relation to a child who is in the State of South Australia and in favour of a person or persons who are resident or domiciled in this State.