Ruth Cabeza acted for YP, the second respondent, in a case concerning an adoption order. YP, a Swiss national now aged 18, was the subject of an application for a stepparent adoption order.
The applicant and the mother were married and then divorced some years before the child was born, but had resumed a close and supportive relationship when the child was about 3 years old. Although the mother and the applicant did not live together they spent considerable time with each other both in England and Switzerland as well as taking holidays together as a family in other locations.
Due to restrictions on travel imposed by Covid- 19 the child had not been able to spend time with the applicant in his home in London, although they were in regular contact via phone and video calls which presented a potential difficulty in that a condition of making an adoption order is that the child must have had his home with the adopter for not less than 6 months at the date of the application. Applying the dicta in Re G  EWCA Civ 105 to give the term ‘home’ a wide meaning, the court was satisfied that this criterion was met. Other complicating factors included the extent to which the applicant and the mother were in an enduring family relationship, the weight to be given to the birth father’s passive opposition in the welfare evaluation and the impact that making or not making the order might have on the inheritance prospects of the child.
It was held that the adoption criteria had been met and that it was in YP’s best interests to make the adoption order.
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