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Adopting your partner's child

If you are considering applying to adopt your partner’s child you need to be aware that adoption is not necessarily appropriate and you should consider the alternatives.

Adoption has lifelong implications for the child and birth relatives, and should only be recommended when it is in the best interests of the child.

While the wishes and feelings of the adults involved will be taken into account these are not the primary consideration.

We need to prioritise the needs of children in the care system who require adoption, therefore there can be lengthy delays in processing partner of parent adoptions.

Alternatives include: 

  • partners who are married to or in a civil partnership with the resident parent can acquire parental responsibility by entering into a formal agreement with all those with parental responsibility or by applying to the court for a parental responsibility order or a residence order
  • the surname used by a child can be changed by deed poll if all those with parental responsibility are in agreement.
  • the birth parent can write a will nominating the partner as guardian in the event of the birth parent’s death