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Adoption and Children Act (Northern Ireland) 2022

Section 43: Adoption orders

Section 43 explains the effect of an adoption order. An adoption order made by the court on an application under section 47 or 48 gives parental responsibility for a child to the adopters or adopter. It extinguishes the birth parent's parental responsibility, any order under the Children Order (which includes residence orders), any order under the Children Act 1989 or the Children (Scotland) Act 1995 (other than an excepted order) and any duty in an agreement or an order of a court to make maintenance payments (subsection (2)). The two types of orders under the Children (Scotland) Act 1995 which would remain in force once an adoption order has been made are orders concerning property and exclusion orders which bar a parent from the family home because of the risk he or she poses to the child. Once an adoption order is made, any liabilities of the birth parent under the Child Support (Northern Ireland) Order 1991 will cease to have effect. A parent for the purposes of that Order is defined as any person who is in law the mother or father of the child (see Article 2 of that Order). Once a child is adopted, the birth parent ceases to be the parent of the child and the adoptive parents become the parents of the child for the purposes of that Order. Therefore, on adoption, any existing maintenance assessment will cease to have effect and a court order (if any) for the child's maintenance will cease by virtue of section 43(2)(e). However subsection (2)(e) does not apply to a duty arising by virtue of an agreement which constitutes a trust, or expressly provides that the duty is not to be extinguished by the making of an adoption order (subsection (4)).

An adoption by a partner of a parent of the adopted child does not affect the parental responsibility of the parent of the adopted child or any duties of that parent (subsection (3)). Subsection (5) provides that an adoption order may be made even if the child to be adopted is already an adopted child.

Subsection (6) provides that before making an adoption order the court must consider whether there should be arrangements for allowing any person contact with the child. In this respect it may consider any existing or proposed arrangements, and obtain any views of the parties to the proceedings.

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Explanatory Notes

Text created by the Northern Ireland Assembly department responsible for the subject matter of the Act to explain what the Act sets out to achieve and to make the Act accessible to readers who are not legally qualified. Explanatory Notes accompany all Acts of the Northern Ireland Assembly.


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