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We asked Paul Slan, lawyer and Director of Professional Development at Gelman & Associates, some commonly-asked questions about family adoptions in Ontario. Please be advised that these answers are not intended as legal advice, but rather as an introductory overview on a legal subject. For legal advice regarding family adoption in Ontario, we recommend consulting with an Ontario family lawyer.

How much does it cost to adopt a child in Ontario?

A family adoption typically involves a step-parent adopting the biological child of their partner. In this circumstance, there is no set fee. A lawyer will charge their hourly rate.

What are the requirements to adopt a child in Ontario for a family adoption?

With respect to family adoption, this typically involves a spouse, or what is commonly called a step-parent, who is the spouse of a birth parent. The step-parent may adopt a child through a court application, provided that they have the consent of the other birth parent. If they do not have the other birth parent’s consent, they may ask the court to dispense with that consent based on the best interests of the child.

How long does it take to process a family adoption in Ontario?

Every court in Ontario is different, so the process can take anywhere from three (3) months to a year.

How does this process work if you’re adopting a child from overseas?

An overseas adoption has to be done by an adoption agency.

What will disqualify you from a family adoption?

Lack of consent from one of the parents can disqualify you from a family adoption. However, it may be possible to ask the court to dispense with that consent and process the adoption, based on the best interests of the child.

What is the latest age you can adopt?

There is no age limit on family adoption.

Can a single person who is a family member adopt a child for a family adoption?

There is a certain class of relatives that can fit the definition of family adoption. If you are an aunt or uncle, for example, then you may fit the definition and be eligible to adopt. For more information on this, we recommend consulting with a family lawyer in Ontario to review your options.

How can a lawyer assist me with a family adoption?

A lawyer may assist with a family adoption by preparing the court documents, submitting them to the court, and seeing the process to completion.

Can parents reclaim an adopted child?

No. Once the adoption order is made, it is final. Parents cannot reclaim an adopted child.

Do birth parents have any rights after a family adoption?

Assuming that the birth parents have consented to the adoption order, and the adoption order is made, it is final. Some adoption orders do allow for some form of visitation by the birth parent, but other than that, they have no rights.

How do contested adoptions work?

The only contest would be if one birth parent does not consent to the adoption, in which case the court may determine whether it is in the child’s best interests to dispense with that requirement of consent.

Contact Gelman & Associates for a Consultation on Family Adoptions in Ontario

If you would like to learn more, or discuss the specifics of your case involving family adoption, contact us at Gelman & Associates and schedule a consultation today. We have offices across Ontario in order to provide our clients with better access to justice.

Disclaimer: For specific legal advice on your family law matter, please consult with a family law lawyer. The content in this article is not intended to act as legal advice and is instead intended to act as a general overview of a legal topic.

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