Adoption orders are rarely granted to a relative or step-parent (see “Adoptions by a spouse or relative”). It is now generally recognised that the preferred alternative is to apply for a parenting order under the FL Act.
Victoria has given power to the Commonwealth Government to make orders in relation to ex-nuptial children. This, and the FL Act (as amended), allows people other than the parents to apply for parenting orders from the Family Court or Federal Circuit Court if they are concerned with the care, welfare and development of a child.
These orders are usually made with the involvement of the child’s natural parents. Such orders from the Family Court may take into account of the wishes of the child and may include provision for the child to spend time/communicate with their legal parents or other people.
The court may require the parties to attend counselling and may require the parties to obain an expert report to ensure that any arrangements proposed for the care of a child are in the child’s best interests.