Re Porter [2019] NZFC 9705

Published 26 November 2021

Adoption application — final adoption order — step-parent adoption — family unit — Adoption Act 1955, ss 3, 5, 7, 8 & 11 — Care of Children Act 2004, s 19 — K v B (1990) 6 FRNZ 604 (FC) — DPH v Horton [2004] NZFC 325, (2004) 29 FRNZ 700 — Orlwski v Hardy HC Christchurch M258/78, 25 August 1978 — Re Application by SJKB FC Dunedin FADM-2009-009-3956, 24 November 2011 — Brooks v Hooper [2016] NZFC 1904. The biological mother and stepfather of a child applied for a final adoption order in favour of the stepfather. The mother had been in a relationship with the biological father which ended when she became pregnant. He made it clear he was not interested in being a father and did not want to be registered as the father on the child's birth certificate. He had since applied for contact pursuant to a parenting order, but exercised this only twice, spending less than 10 hours of contact with the child during her lifetime. The mother and stepfather met and married in 2009 and had two children together. They sought an adoption order to recognise that the child was part of the family unit. The main relevant provision under the Adoption Act dealt with consent; pursuant to s 7, consent by the father was required, unless the Court was to find it was not expedient to seek that consent. The evidence was that the biological father was fully aware of the pregnancy and birth and had every opportunity to be a part of the child's life, but had chosen not to do so. Pursuant to s 11 of the Act, the applicants were required to be 'fit and proper' people, which the Court found them to be. The opinion of the child, aged 19 at the time of application, was also sought. Usually a Court would make an interim adoption order in the first instance but a final adoption could be made pursuant to s 5 if there were special circumstances justifying a final adoption order. The Judge considered similar cases, and found it was in the child's best interest to do so. The Judge made a final adoption order in favour of the stepfather. Judgment Date: 10 December 2019. * * * Note: names have been changed to comply with legal requirements. * * *