Before a court considers the application for adoption by a step-parent, the Family Court must first give approval for the adoption to proceed under s 60G of the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth). Approval is rarely given therefore legal advice should be sought if intending to adopt in such circumstances.
Although the Adoption Act 1988 (SA) provides for the adoption of a child by a step-parent the legislation discourages inappropriate applications. A step-parent or relative can only adopt a child if, in the interests of the child, an adoption order is clearly preferable to a parenting order [s 10]. The child's parent and step-parent must have lived together for at least five years unless the court is satisfied there are special circumstances [Adoption Act 1988 (SA) s 12]. The relationship between a child and a parent whose spouse adopts the child is not affected by the adoption order.
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