The general requirements for consent to adoption pursuant to Sections 180 – 191 of the new Child, Youth and Family Services Act govern most adoptions. They set out, among other things, whose consent is required, the differences in adoption processes as tied to the child’s age, how to withdraw consent, et cetera.
Both biological parents must consent to their child’s adoption if the child is under the age of 16, or over the age of 16 but unable to withdraw from parental control, likely due to a disability or other impairment, unless the child is under the sole care of a Children’s Aid Society.
In some situations, however, a Judge can dispense with the need for the consent of both biological parents if granting the adoption application is deemed to be in the best interests of the child. For example, if the person is unable to give consent because of a developmental disability, or because it would cause them emotional harm. However, a biological parent’s consent to adoption is valid only when the child is at least seven days old when the consent is given.
Relative or step-parent adoptions do not involve the onerous tests of an adoption from, for example, a Children’s Aid Society or other stranger adoption.
Any individual, including a biological parent or the subject child, may withdraw their consent to the adoption provided they do so within 21 days of giving their written consent. However, a Judge may grant an extension if satisfied it is in the best interests of the child to do so.
If the subject child is over the age of 12, that child must also sign a consent to being adopted by the applicant(s). The Whitby adoption lawyers at M.G. Michaels & Associates will help you co-ordinate hiring a lawyer, approved by the Provincial Office of the Children’s Lawyer, for the child to arrange a meeting between the child and lawyer to discuss the legalities of adoption and the need for consent. A child is not entitled to give consent without having independent legal representation.