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Adoption and Children Act (Northern Ireland) 2022

Section 66: Status conferred by adoption

Section 66 provides for the determination of the legal status of an adopted person. Subsection (1) provides that the adopted person is to be treated in law as if born as the child of the adopter or adopters. Subsection (2) provides that an adopted person is the legitimate child of the adopters or adopter and, if adopted by a couple, or a partner of his parent, they are to be treated as if they had been born as the child of the relationship of that couple.

Subsection (3)(a) provides that in an adoption by the partner of a parent the adopted person is only to be treated in law as the child of the adopter and the partner of the adopter. In any other circumstances subsection (3)(b) provides that an adopted person is to be treated only in law as the child of the adopter or adopters (subject to subsection (4)). Subsection (4) provides that where the adopter is both a sole adopter and the natural parent, subsection (3)(b) is to have no effect with respect to anything dependant on the relationship to that parent, for example entitlement to property. A single parent may, for example, adopt their own child so that the child may cease to be illegitimate (although this now happens rarely).

Subsection (5) provides that this section has effect from the date of an adoption order being made in respect of an individual. Subsection (6) confirms that, subject to the other provisions of Chapter 4 and Schedule 4, this section applies for the interpretation of statutory provisions or instruments passed both before and after a person's adoption and has effect as respects events taking place on or after the adoption. Subsection (7) provides that this section does not apply to a statutory provision or other instrument passed or made before 1st October 1989 in so far as it contains a disposition of property; and does not apply to any public general Act in its application to any disposition of property in a statutory provision or other instrument passed or made before 1st October 1989.

The provisions in this section are intended only to clarify how an adopted child should be treated in law. They do not touch on the biological or emotional ties of an adopted child, nor are they intended to.

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