An Adoption Order has the effect of granting legal parental status. Adoption confers important legal rights and is a creature of statute, governed by the Adoption Act of Manitoba.
To apply for an adoption of a child in Manitoba, the adoptive applicants and child must reside in Manitoba. In all adoption proceedings, the best interests of the child are the paramount consideration.
All adoptions in Manitoba are handled by the Court of Queen’s Bench. Judges of the Court of Queen’s Bench pronounce Adoption Orders by “desk Orders” which means there is usually no need for any court appearance. Only if the Judge has questions, or if there is a requirement to dispense with the consent of a birth parent or there is trouble serving a birth parent there may need to be court appearances.
An adoption is initiated by filing a document called a Notice of Application for Adoption. For most categories of adoptions, there must be at least 30 days from the date birth parents are served with the Notice of Application before the Order can be pronounced by a Judge. Depending on the category of adoption, the timeline for having the adoption Order pronounced is often guided by the time it takes to obtain criminal record searches, child abuse registry searches, birth certificates from Vital Statistics Agency or a home study report.
For most adoptions, the documents that need to be filed are an affidavit by the adoptive applicants which your lawyer will prepare, marriage certificate if applicable, birth certificate of the child, criminal record checks, and child abuse registry checks. Depending on the category of adoption, a report may also be necessary.
In a private adoption, a report is necessary and is prepared by Adoption Options. The Adoption Act requires the report to address the following:
(i) the family and developmental history of the child,
(iii) the recommendation of the agency with respect to the adoption
(iii) the suitability of the prospective adoptive parent to be an adoptive parent, and the capability and willingness of the applicant to assume the responsibilities of a parent towards the child.
A report is required in de facto adoptions and extended family adoptions, and may be required in stepparent adoptions. For these categories the report must address the following:
(a) the suitability of each prospective adoptive parent as an adoptive parent;
(b) the capability and willingness of each prospective adoptive parent to assume the responsibilities of a parent towards the child;
(c) where the application is made jointly by two members of the child’s extended family who are neither married nor common-law partners, the stability of the relationship between the prospective adoptive parents and their commitment to maintain a joint household and jointly care for the child; and
(d) any other matters the court considers relevant.
There are different types of adoptions all of which have their own requirements. There are important considerations for whether consent of a birth parent is necessary, and if the child to be adopted is 12 years of age or older the child will need to sign consent.
Some of the different categories of adoptions are:
For all private adoptions, a licensed adoption agency needs to be involved. There are important steps that need to be taken before placement of a child can occur that is facilitated by a licensed adoption agency, being Adoption Options.
There will be a home study prepared by Adoption Options. The home study is generally completed prior to their being an identified child as a means to determine the suitability of the applicant to be an adoptive parent, and the capability and willingness of the applicant to assume the responsibilities of a parent towards a child.
Consent of birth parents cannot be signed until 48 hours from the birth of the child. Birth parents who sign Consent have the right to revoke their consent up to 21 days after the date she signed consent.
De facto adoption
An individual can apply for an adoption under this category if they have been caring for and maintaining the child for at least two consecutive years. For foster parents, they need to have had legal guardianship for two years by way of a Court Order.
An important difference with this category is that the Court may grant this type of adoption without the consent of the birth parents, although the birth parents still need to be served with notice of the adoption.
Extended family adoption
This category of adoption only applies to the immediate family being aunts, uncles and cousins of a birth parents and a spouse or common-law partner of any of those persons.
The special requirement with this category of adoption is that you cannot apply for adoption until the child has resided with you for at least six months and must apply no later than 12 months from the child coming into your care.
Step Parent Adoption
This category applies when a stepparent who is married to or common law with the parent of the child wishes to adopt the child.
This category contains a special provisions that allows the other parent to apply for access in the Court of Queens’ Bench to the child. The consent of the other parent is normally required for this adoption.
A person may apply to adopt an adult in Manitoba. With this category only the consent of the adult to be adopted is required.
There are certain conditions that need to be satisfied for an adult adoption. These are mainly in place to avoid adoptions being done for improper purposes, such as to get around immigration requirements. Therefore there are special provisions that apply to adoptions of an adult which are:
Conditions for adoption of adult
94(1) A judge may make an order of adoption of an adult without the consent of anyone, except the person to be adopted, as long as
(a) the person adopting is older by a reasonable number of years than the person to be adopted; and
(b) the reason for the adoption is acceptable to the judge hearing the application
Support during minority to be considered by a judge
94(2) Where an application is made to adopt an adult the judge shall take into consideration, in addition to any other relevant considerations, whether the care, support and control of the person to be adopted has been provided by the person applying to adopt for a reasonable time during the minority of the person to be adopted.
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