Sitting in the Botanic Gardens on a glorious summer's day, watching children playing, I was struck by how many different types of families there are in our modern society. For example, it is now possible for unmarried and same sex couples to adopt a child in exactly the same way as a more traditional couple can. While adopting a child can be a hugely rewarding experience, the process itself can be daunting. Many families have little or no experience of what is involved or even how to start off this legal process. Adoption is an important life event for all concerned and it is important that the experience be as fluid and positive as it can be.
Glasgow City Council's "Families for Children" team are actively promoting their services at the moment, encouraging potential foster and adoptive parents to find out more about the possibilities. Sadly, a large number of children are unable to stay with their birth parents, for a variety of reasons. In some cases, adoption is the best way for the authorities to ensure that a child in the care system can have a stable upbringing in a caring family unit, with all of the future opportunities that flow from a child having a loving home.
The Adoption and Children (Scotland) Act 2007 was designed to make the process of adoption faster and less complicated, with supports being put in place for families who do decide to make the life changing decision to adopt a child. Adoption is a legal process which extinguishes the legal relationship between the child and his or her birth parents, creating a new legal relationship whereby the adoptive parents take on all of the parental rights and responsibilities of a birth parent. That legal relationship is created by the Court, who can make an Adoption Order following the lodging of an Adoption Petition. In most cases, a child will be placed with adoptive parents by the local authority, but not always. Sometimes a family member or carer may wish to seek advice about assuming responsibility for a child in a more formal way. In all cases, specific legal rules apply to govern the process by which the Court comes to a decision about whether or not to grant an application for an Adoption Order.
In choosing a solicitor to help guide you through the adoption experience it is important to find a solicitor with specialist knowledge who can provide practical support while de-mystifying what can seem like a daunting legal process.
As I watched families of varying ages, stages and types enjoying some of the benefits the West End has to offer, I was reminded that, just as the decision to adopt carries with it responsibility yet positivity, so too does the job of a family lawyer assisting families with the legal aspects that often occur in a period of change in the structure of a family.
Amanda Masson is a Partner in Harper Macleod's Family Law team. She is accredited by the Law Society of Scotland as a specialist in Child Law, Family Law and Family Mediation and regularly advises clients on child-related matters including child relocation, adoption, residence and contact.
Harper Macleod's team of family solicitors understands that divorce and separation can have a huge impact on your life, and can guide you through the best course of action with sensitivity and objectivity. Getting the best advice is crucial to resolving your situation, and there are many options available to you, from litigation and arbitration to negotiation, mediation and collaboration. We have also designed a number of packaged fees which, in certain circumstances, will let you know from the outset what the costs will be.
To talk to Amanda or one of our team call 0141 227 9545.