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Contents (2000 - 75)
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Adoption Act 2000 No 75
Current version for 27 June 2017 to date (accessed 24 September 2017 at 09:51)
Chapter 4 Part 1
Part 1 General
22   Proceedings
Proceedings for the making of adoption orders and other orders under this Act are to be heard and determined by the Supreme Court.
23   Jurisdiction
(cf AC Act ss 8 and 9)
(1)  Subject to this Act, the Court may make an order for the adoption of a child (an adoption order) solely in favour of one person or jointly in favour of a couple.
Note.
 Couple is defined in the Dictionary to mean 2 persons who are married to each other or who are de facto partners of each other (de facto partner is defined in section 21C (1) of the Interpretation Act 1987 and refers to persons whether of the same sex or a different sex). The effect of the making of an adoption order is described in Part 11 of this Chapter.
(2)  The Court must not make an adoption order unless, when the application for the order is filed:
(a)  the child is present in the State, and
(b)  the applicant, or if the application is a joint application, each of the applicants, resides, or is domiciled, in the State.
(3)  For the purposes of this section, if the Court is satisfied that the child was present in the State, or that the applicant or each applicant was resident or domiciled in the State, for a period of 3 months immediately before the day on which the application was filed, the Court may, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, presume that:
(a)  the child was present in, or
(b)  that the applicant or each applicant was resident or domiciled in,
the State when the application was filed.
(4)  The Court has jurisdiction under this section to make an adoption order despite any rule of private international law to the contrary.
(5)  Subject to Part 2 of Chapter 5, the Court has jurisdiction, under and in accordance with this Part, to make an adoption order with respect to the intercountry adoption of a child referred to in Part 2.
Note.
 Child is defined in the Dictionary.
24   Who can be adopted?
(cf AC Act s 18 (1))
(1)  An adoption order may be made in relation to a child who:
(a)  was less than 18 years of age on the date on which the application for the order was made, or
(b)  was 18 or more years of age on that date and was cared for by the applicant or applicants for the order.
(2)  For the purposes of subsection (1) (b), a child was cared for if the child:
(a)  has been cared for by the applicant or applicants, or by the applicant and a deceased spouse of the applicant, as his or her or their child prior to reaching the age of 18 years, or
(b)  has, as a ward within the meaning of the Children (Care and Protection) Act 1987 or a person under the parental responsibility of the Minister administering the Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998, been in the care responsibility of the applicant or applicants or of the applicant and a deceased spouse of the applicant.
Note.
 Spouse is defined in the Dictionary.
(3)    (Repealed)
25   Previous adoption or marital status immaterial
(cf AC Act s 18 (5))
An adoption order may be made:
(a)  even if the child concerned has, whether before or after the commencement of this section and whether in the State or elsewhere, previously been adopted, and
(b)  irrespective of the marital status of the child.
26   Who can adopt?
(cf AC Act ss 8, 19, 20, 21 (1) (c) (i) (a))
An application for an adoption order may be made in accordance with this Act solely by or on behalf of one person or jointly by or on behalf of a couple.
Note.
 Couple is defined in the Dictionary.
27   Adoption by one person
(cf AC Act ss 8, 19 (2) and (3), 20, 21 (1) (c) (i) (a))
(1) Basic requirements One person may, subject to this Act, adopt a child only if the person is:
(a)  resident or domiciled in the State, and
(b)  of good repute and a fit and proper person to fulfil the responsibilities of a parent.
(2) Age requirements The Court must not make an adoption order in favour of one person who is not a birth parent or relative of the child unless:
(a)  the person is 21 or more years of age and 18 or more years older than the child, or
(b)  the Court considers that in the particular circumstances of the case it is desirable to make the order even though the person does not fulfil the age requirements.
(3) Consent of spouse The Court must not make an adoption order in favour of one person who is living with a spouse unless the person’s spouse consents in writing to the application for the adoption order.
Note.
 Spouse is defined in the Dictionary.
28   Adoption by couple
(cf AC Act ss 8, 19, 20, 21 (1) (c) (i) (a))
(1) Basic requirements Two persons who are a couple may, subject to this Act, adopt a child only if:
(a)  both of them are resident or domiciled in the State, and
(b)  both of them are of good repute and are fit and proper persons to fulfil the responsibilities of parents.
(2) Requirements for step parent The Court must not make an order in favour of a couple if one of them is a step parent unless section 30 is complied with.
(3) Age requirements The Court must not make an adoption order in favour of a couple if neither of them is a birth parent or relative of the child unless:
(a)  each of them is 21 or more years of age and 18 or more years older than the child, or
(b)  the Court considers that in the particular circumstances of the case it is desirable to make the order even though one or both of them do not fulfil the age requirements.
(4) Length of relationship requirement The Court must not make an adoption order in favour of a couple unless the couple have been living together for a continuous period of not less than 2 years immediately before the application for the adoption order.
(5)  The Court may make an adoption order in favour of a couple jointly even if one of them is a birth parent, or they are the birth parents, of the child.
Note.
 Couple is defined in the Dictionary.
29   Adoption by relative
The Court must not make an adoption order in favour of a relative of a child unless:
(a)  specific consent to the adoption of the child by the relative has been given in accordance with this Act by the appropriate person or persons specified in section 53 (b), and
(b)  the child has established a relationship of at least 2 years’ duration with the relative, and
(c)  the Court is satisfied that the making of the adoption order is clearly preferable in the best interests of the child to any other action that could be taken by law in relation to the child.
Note.
 Examples of other action that may be taken by law are the making of a care order under the Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998 or a parenting order under the Family Law Act 1975 of the Commonwealth.
30   Adoption by step parent
(1)  The Court must not make an adoption order in favour of a step parent of a child unless:
(a)  the child is at least 5 years old, and
(b)  the step parent has lived with the child and the child’s birth or adoptive parent for a continuous period of not less than 2 years immediately before the application for the adoption order, and
(c)  specific consent to the adoption of the child by the step parent has been given in accordance with this Act by the appropriate persons, and
(d)  the Court is satisfied that the making of the adoption order is clearly preferable in the best interests of the child to any other action that could be taken by law in relation to the child.
Note.
 Examples of other action that may be taken by law are the making of a care order under the Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998 or a parenting order under the Family Law Act 1975 of the Commonwealth.
(2)  Subsection (1) (b) does not apply to the adoption of a child who is 18 years of age or more at the time of the application for the adoption order.
31   Adoption of non-citizen child
(1)  The Court must not make an adoption order in relation to a non-citizen child as referred to in Part 2 of Chapter 5 unless:
(a)  arrangements for adoption of the child have been made by the Secretary or an accredited adoption service provider that may provide intercountry adoption services or the Secretary applies for the order on the basis that the proposed adoptive parent has intercountry parental responsibility for the child, and
(b)  the provisions of this Act and the regulations relating to intercountry adoptions have been complied with.
(2)  For the purposes of this section, a person has intercountry parental responsibility for a child if the child is from a country other than a Convention country or a prescribed overseas jurisdiction and the person, after being resident in that country for 12 months or more or being domiciled in that country, was given parental responsibility for the child under the law of that country.