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How Long Does it Take To Adopt A Child in Scotland? 

July 5, 2024 Family Law

Get a better understanding of the adoption process in Scotland and the timelines involved. 

Adopting a child is never an easy process, as it involves a thorough and regulated process to ensure that the child being adopted is going to be well looked after by their adopted parents.  

If you are considering adopting a child, this blog aims to provide you with a better understanding of the application process, so you know what to expect from the very beginning.  

Table of content

• Adoption in Scotland 

• Understanding the process 

• How long does the process take? 

• Support with the adoption process 

• Frequently asked questions 

Adoption in Scotland  

There are a variety of reasons why individuals look to adopt a child in Scotland, whether it be to formalise their relationship as a step-parent, provide a home for an orphaned child, or exploring the possibility of adopting a child from overseas.  

Before starting your adoption journey in Scotland, it is beneficial to know if you would be eligible to adopt. 

Prospective adopters can adopt a child in Scotland if they:  

  • • Are 21 years of age or above   
  • • Are single or in an enduring family relationship  
  • • Are parents to another child   
  • • Weren’t born in Scotland, however, have lived in Scotland for over a year.  

There is no legal upper age limit for adoption if you are over the age of 21.  

Please note, eligibility can change if you’re looking to adopt a child from an overseas country.   

If you have any questions about your eligibility, please contact our family lawyers

Understanding the process 

Going through the adoption process can be long as you must go through detailed background checks to ensure the child’s welfare will be protected, and the adoption aligns with the child’s best interests.  

The first step of the adoption process is to go through an adoption agency. The adoption agency will ensure that the individuals applying fulfill the necessary criteria by undertaking a home study. Our family lawyers will be able to guide you through this process.  

Upon completion of all necessary checks and speaking with the adoption panel, the adoption agency will begin finding a suitable match for you. During this stage, you will be able to express the kind of child you would like to adopt, whether it be an infant or a child who is a little older.  

How long does the process take? 

Throughout the adoption process, the adoption agency will keep you well informed every step of the way. The assessment stage may take several months to complete, and matching up can take around a year.  

Rest assured, the adoption agency will communicate timelines and will let you know if there is anything holding the decision up.  

Support with the adoption process 

When you have been matched with a child, the adoption agency will closely monitor how the relationship is going. If the agency is satisfied with your bond, you can apply for an adoption order, officially making you the child’s legal parent rather than the child’s birth parents. The child’s biological parents will no longer have the parental rights to make decisions for the child. 

Having a designated family lawyer by your side throughout the formal legal process helps make it much smoother.  

At Jones Whyte, we not only have the largest family law team in Glasgow offering expert legal advice, but we also have transparent pricing and ongoing clear communication at every stage.  

Cameron Shaw, Partner within our Family law team, has vast expertise in adoption cases. He is a Curator ad Litem and Reporting Officer at various courts across Scotland. This role allows him to act as an independent solicitor, advising the Sherriff in matters of adoption. Additionally, Lynsey Brown, an Associate in our team, has vast experience in the field of adoption and is accredited by the Law Society of Scotland as a specialist in Child Law. 

For those considering international adoption, our family lawyers are well-equipped to provide support in navigating the differing rules and fees abroad. 

Frequently asked questions

Do I need to be married to adopt a child? 

No, you do not need to be married to adopt a child. Single people, married couples and civil partners can apply to adopt.

Is it harder to adopt if you are older? 

As long as you are over the age of 21, and have the ability both mentally and physically to care for the child.  

Why Jones Whyte? 

At Jones Whyte, our team have extensive experience in assisting and representing clients through the legal process. Speak to our team today for further information on child adoption in Scotland.  

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