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Transfer of parental rights part-2

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Chapter 163, the Adoption of Children Act of the Laws of St. Vincent and the Grenadines provides for matters pertaining to adoption. Number 53 of 1992 amended the act and from its inception the Family Court has been dealing with matters pertaining to adoption. Proceedings of the Adoption Board are now presided over by the President of the Family Court. After the Adoption Board has gathered all relevant information it passes it on to the High Court. {{more}}

Before the application goes to the High Court the Board does the ground work. It is empowered by law to receive the application, carry out certain enquires and receive reports about the child and the conditions of the adopter in St. Vincent in the Grenadines. To this end a case committee consisting of two members of the board is appointed to deal with the matter and to report back to the Board. This requires the committee to interview the adopters and to visit the premises where the child is expected to live in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

A child may be adopted abroad and a licence obtained to transfer the child but the adopter must be a Commonwealth citizen and a report from the St. Vincent and the Grenadines consular officer must be obtained to put before the judge.

The application before the High Court must be by way of originating summons which is the old procedure of the Court as family proceedings are not covered by the Civil Procedure Rules 2000. The documents must include the certificate of consent from the parent or guardian of the child among others.

If the applicant wants her identity to remain confidential, that person could apply to the Registrar General for a serial number to be assigned to the documents. The proceedings are heard in camera, that is, in the Judge’s Chambers and require the attendance of the applicant and the parent or guardian of the child. The attendance of the parents or guardian of the child may be waived if they cannot be found or are incapable of giving consent. The court may decide whether a person attends or not. It may require the person who is absent to provide a declaration signed before a notary public or a justice of the peace. Persons are examined separately by the court.

After the examinations the court may grant an adoption order or an interim order. An interim order is usually made for custody of the child for a period of two years which is regarded as a probationary period.

Where an adoption order is made, the order must be settled by the Registrar General. The information including that of birth is recorded in a special register kept for that purpose. After this the birth records are closed and are not made available to anyone. If there is an error in the adoption register it could be corrected the same way it is done in the Register of Births and Deaths. All rights of the child are thereafter transferred permanently from the natural parents to the adopted parents.

The adopted child assumes the same rights as a child that is born to the parent and could inherit property if a parent dies without making a will.

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