In a recent landmark High Court case, the Court was required to decide on whether divorced foster parents could adopt a now-teenage child. An adoption order may be made on the application of two people if they are “spouses”. The issue for the Court was whether divorced couples are regarded as “spouses”.

The spouses involved had their previous application for an adoption order rejected by the Family Court, which ruled that divorced couples could not be included in the definition of “spouses” under the Adoption Act.

The Family Court ruling was appealed to the High Court, that then decided that the Family Court’s interpretation of spouses discriminated against applicants whose marriage had ended, and that discrimination because of divorce could not be justified.

If you are in the situation of wishing to adopt a child, whether you are a relative of the child or a foster parent, it is important to know what steps you need to take throughout the Court process and getting early advice from a professional experienced in this area of law will assist greatly.

Shaun Cousins