Re Penitani Children [2019] NZFC 9195

Published 20 October 2020

Adoption — final order — dispense with father's consent — welfare and best interests of children — Adoption Act 1955, ss 3, 8 & 11 — Re C (adoption) [2001] NZFLR 577 — Manu [2015] NZFC 122. The applicants sought to adopt three children. They were the biological children of the female applicant, and the purpose of the application was so the male respondent (the mother's partner) would legally be a parent and guardian of the children. All of the children saw him as their father and wanted to have his last name and a connection to him. The biological father of the children had not taken part in the proceedings or seen the children in 10 years. The Judge was satisfied his consent could be dispensed with. Under s 3 of the Adoption Act (the Act) the Court has the power to make an adoption order. Section 11 of the Act requires the Court to be satisfied of three matters before either an interim or a final adoption order can be made. The first is that every person who is applying for the order is a fit and proper person to have the role of providing day-to-day care for the child and of sufficient ability to bring them up, maintain them and educate them. Secondly, the welfare and interests of the child will be promoted by the adoption. The wishes of the child should be considered, with regard to their age and understanding. Finally, the Court must be satisfied that the applicants will comply with any relevant religious conditions imposed by any parent or guardian. As the male applicant had a criminal history the Judge needed to look closely at his offending and whether it precluded him from being a fit and proper person to raise the children. The Judge was satisfied that he was a good father to the children and was fit. The Act does not require applicants to be people who have never made mistakes. The welfare and best interests of the children would be served by the making of an order by giving legal force to the reality of the family's situation. It would provide cultural and emotional comfort. A final order was granted. Judgment Date: 6 November 2019. * * * Note: names have been changed to comply with legal requirements. * * *