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I’m undergoing international adoption and I need legal advice

International adoption can be very complex, with different sets of rules and regulations to contend with depending on your circumstances and those of your child. Failure to deal with these properly can make it harder to complete the process, and cause issues later down the line.

The assessment and application process can be a difficult one, especially if your own personal situation is complex. You may also need advice about the legal ramifications of your adoption, including the position in relation to family trusts or inheritances.

As a top family law firm, incorporating world-leading expertise in fertility, adoption and family law, Vardags can help you steer you through this complex process. Whether you have started the adoption process or not, we can advise you how to negotiate the various difficulties, ensuring that your adoption is successful and legally sound. We can also help you to prepare for your new family, including estate and financial planning.

Frequently Asked Questions

Bringing a child into the UK for the purposes of adoption is a criminal offence, punishable with up to 12 month’s imprisonment and/or a fine. In order to bring a child into the UK for the purposes of adoption, there are strict regulations that need to be complied with, preferably in advance of bringing the child in. It is vital to seek legal advice prior to bringing a child who you wish to adopt into the UK.

Whether the child you have adopted from abroad will be recognised as legally yours in the UK depends on various factors. For example, if you adopt a child from a country that is a signatory to the Hague Convention 1993 through a Convention Adoption, then that adoption will be recognised in all 76 Hague Convention countries. An adoption that is classed as an ‘overseas’ adoption, and recognised as a full adoption in the UK may be registered in the Adopted Children Register.

If you have an international lifestyle, being able to move around freely with your adopted child will be a high priority. Whether you have legal parental status internationally will depend on whether the adoption order you hold is recognisable in the countries you will reside in. With our international expertise we can offer you specialist legal advice as to the potential issues you may face in different jurisdictions, and how to overcome them. As many of our clients have international lifestyles, we experienced at dealing with the legal complexities arising from the application of UK law internationally.

Some adoption orders are automatically recognised in England and Wales, such as those made in Scotland, Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man, Channel Islands, ‘overseas adoptions’ and adoptions under the Hague Convention 1993. Any other adoption made abroad will only be recognisable if it satisfies common law criteria. If a foreign adoption is neither automatically recognised, nor recognisable under the common law, then a domestic adoption order will need to be obtained.

OUR Children & Family TEAM

Caroline Korah

Partner - Head of Children Caroline Korah Vardags Partner Head of Children
“Caroline Korah is a highly dedicated lawyer who fearlessly represents her clients’ interest” 
Legal 500

Lucy Bolton

Partner - Divorce & Family Lucy Williams Vardags Partner Divorce & Family
“Lucy Williams is loved by clients and counsel” 
Legal 500

Jemima Kearney

Assistant Solicitor Jemima Kearney Graduate Trainee Solicitor

Is Vardags Right For You?

We offer a free consultation to qualifying individuals. Please call our confidential enquiry line on 020 7404 9390. Lines are staffed 24 hours.

When you contact us a member of our client relations team will take the full details of your situation, assess whether we can assist you, and if so, determine the best team for your case. 

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