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Legally adopting older children or adolescents

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Family law

Gilles has been living together with Francine as de facto (unmarried) spouses for 9 years now. They have not had children together, although Gilles has a daughter, named Elise, who is 10 years old. Elise’s biological mother died after giving birth.

Since she met Gilles, Francine has always behaved as if she was Elise’s biological mother. Francine considers Elise as her own daughter and she loves her very deeply. She is wondering if she could now adopt Elise at age 10.

Does the Child Have a Say?

No minor child may be adopted unless her father and mother, or her tutor, have consented to the adoption, or unless she has been declared by a court to be eligible for adoption. Given the fact that Elise’s mother is deceased, the consent of the remaining parent is sufficient. If the child is 10 years old or older, such as in the present case, the law requires obtaining the consent of the child, unless she is unable to express her will.

However, when a child younger than 14 years old refuses to give her consent, the Court may: (a) defer its judgement for the period of time it indicates; or, (b) grant adoption notwithstanding her refusal.

Consequently, refusal by a child 14 years old or older is a bar to adoption.

Consent to adoption by such child means that, even before the order of placement, there is a delegation (by operation of law) of parental authority to the person to whom the child is given for adoption. Therefore, Francine will have all the attributes of parental authority right away following such consent, such as the right to take important decisions for the well-being of the child Elise.

Nadia Pola, Attorney-at-Law
Alepin Gauthier avocats inc.

 

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