A recent Sheriff Court decision has emphasised that if someone seeks to adopt a child but one of the natural parents of the child does not consent to the adoption then that adoption will only proceed if the child’s welfare requires it.
As the Sheriff said, it must be something more than being really desirable or reasonable – it must be necessary.
The circumstances of the case were unhappy and stressful for the people concerned, but it’s not the purpose of this blog to look at the facts of a single case. The lesson we should learn from it is that a Court has a range of options when a party asks for an adoption order, then even if it’s in the best interests of the children to remain exactly where they are, it does not necessarily follow that adoption will be the answer. The Court can make a lesser order even if no one asks for it.
The second lesson therefore, is that if you want an adoption and do not have the consent of one of the natural parents, you should make sure that you can show to the Sheriff why an order for parental responsibilities and rights is just not enough in the particular circumstances of your case.
Read our Adoption page for further information.