Re Nanai [2020] NZFC 7327

Published 24 November 2021

Adoption application — interim adoption — DNA evidence — witness declaration — father's consent — fit and proper person — Family Court Act 1980, s 12A(4) — Adoption Act 1955, ss 7 & 11. The applicants, a couple, applied for an interim adoption order of a child, who they had been trying to adopt for some years. The delay was due to some difficulty in finding the birth father, who was only established after DNA testing. The birth mother gave her consent to the adoption, and the birth father also signed a consent form and affidavit. There was an evidential issue with the consent as it had not been witnessed by an appropriate authority, but inquiries made by the lawyer to assist established that the witness had been acting under delegated authority. The birth father's affidavit was therefore saved by virtue of s 12A of the Family Court Act and admitted into evidence. Pursuant to s 7 of the Adoption Act, a father's consent may be dispensed with if a court considers it expedient to do so. The birth father had had no involvement with the child and did not wish to be involved as his affidavit stated. The Judge determined it was expedient to dispense with the need for the birth father's formal consent. Pursuant to s 11 of the Adoption Act, the Judge determined that the applicants were fit and proper persons to care for the child and that it was in the child's welfare and best interests to be adopted by the applicants. The Judge made an interim adoption order and directed an update from the Adoptions Unit, noting that the applicants could apply for a final adoption order in six months' time. Judgment Date: 24 August 2020. * * * Note: names have been changed to comply with legal requirements. * * *