Adoption of Children Act

Link to law: http://laws.gov.ag/acts/chapters/cap-9.pdf
Published: 1944

Adoption of Children (CAP. 9 1

CHAPTER 9

THE ADOPTION O F CHILDREN ACT

Arrangement of Sections
Section

Short title.
Power to make adoption orders.
Restrictions on making adoption orders.
Matters with respect to which Court to be satisfied.
Terms and conditions of order.
Effect of adoption order.
Power to make interim orders.
Power to make subsequent order in respect of infant

already subject to an order.
Jurisdiction and procedure.
Restriction on payments.
Provisions as to existing de facto adoptions.
Adopted Children Register.
SCHEDULE.

ADOPTION O F CHILDREN

1. This Act may be cited as the Adoption of Children
Act.

2. (1) Upon an application in the prescribed manner Power to make adoption orders.
by any person desirous of being authorized to adopt an infant
who has never been married, the Court may, subject to the

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2 CAP. 9) Adoption of Children

provisions of this Act, make an order (in this Act referred
to as "an adoption order") authorizing the applicant to adopt
that infant.

(2) A person so authorized to adopt the infant and an
infant authorized to be adopted are in this Act referred to
as an "adopter" and an "adopted child" respectively, and
"infant" means a person under the age of eighteen years.

(3) Where an application for an adoption order is made
by two spouses jointly, the Court may make the order
authorizing the two spouses jointly to adopt, but save as
aforesaid no adoption order shall be made authorizing more
than one person to adopt an infant.

Restrictions on
making adoption

3. (1) An adoption order shall not be made in any
orders. case where-

(a) the applicant is under the age of twenty-five
years; or

(6 ) the applicant is less than twenty-one years older
than the infant in respect of whom the application is
made:

Provided that it shall be lawful for the Court, if
it thinks fit, to make an order-

(i) notwithstanding that the applicant is less than
twenty-five years of age, if the applicant is the
mother of the infant; or

(ii) notwithstanding that the applicant is less than
twenty-one years older than the infant, if the
applicant and the infant are within the pro-
hibited degrees of consanguinity, or if the
application is made by or on behalf of two
spouses jointly and the wife is the mother of
the infant or the husband is the putative father
of the infant.

(2) An adoption order shall not be made in any case
where the sole applicant is a male and the infant in respect
of whom the application is made is a female unless the Court
is satisfied that there are special circumstances which justify
as an exceptional measure the making of an adoption order.

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I LAWS OF ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA

Adoption of Children (CAP. 9 3

(3) An adoption order shall not be made except with
the consent of every person or body who is a parent or
guardian of the infant in respect of whom the application
is made or who has the actual custody of the infant or who
is liable to contribute to the support of the infant:

Provided that the Court may dispense with any con-
sent required by this subsection if saiisfied that the person
whose consent is to be dispensed with has abandoned or
deserted the infant or cannot be found or is incapable of
giving such consent or, being a person liable to contribute
to the support of the infant, either has persistently neglected
or refused to contribute to such support or is a person whose
consent ought, in the opinion of the Court and in all the
circumstances of the case, to be dispensed with.

(4) An adoption order shall not be made upon the
application of one of two spouses without the consent of the
other of them:

Provided that the Court may dispense with any con-
sent required by this subsection if satisfied that the person
whose consent is to be dispensed with cannot be found or
is incapable of giving such consent or that the spouses have
separated and are living apart and that the separation is likely
to be permanent.

(5) An adoption order shall not be made in favour of
any applicant who is not resident and domiciled in Antigua
and Barbuda or in respect of any infant who is not a
Commonwealth citizen and who is not resident in Antigua
and Barbuda.

4. The Court before making an adoption order shall be Matters with
respect to which

satisfied- Court to be
satisfied.

(a) that every person whose consent is necessary
under this Act and whose consent is not dispensed with
has consented to and understands the nature and effect
of the adoption order for which application is made,
and in particular, in the case of any parent, understands
that the effect of the adoption ordkrwill be permanent-
ly to deprive him or her of his or her parend rights; and

(b) that the order if made will be for the welfare
of the infant, due consideration being for this purpose

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4 CAP. 9) Adoptzon of Children

given to the wishes of the infant, having regard to the
age and understanding of the infant; and

( c ) that the applicant has not received or agreed
to receive, and that no person has made or given, or
agreed to make, or give to the applicant, any payment
or other reward in consideration of the adoption except
such as the Court may sanction.

Terms and
conditions of

5 . The Court in an adoption order may impose such
order. terms and conditions as the Court may think fit and in par-

ticular may require the adopter by bond or otherwise to make
for the adopted child such provision (if any) as in the opi-
nion of the Court is just and expedient.

Effect of
adoption order.

6. (1) Upon an adoption order being made, all rights,
duties, obligations and liabilities of the parent or parents,
guardian or guardians of the adopted child, in relation to
the future custody, maintenance and education of the adopted
child, including all rights to appoint a guardian or to con-
sent or give notice of dissent to marriage shall be extinguish-
ed, and all such rights, duties, obligations and liabilities shall
vest in and be exercisable by and enforceable against the
adopter as though the adopted child was a child born to the
adopter in lawful wedlock, and in respect of the same matters
and in respect of the liability of a child to maintain its parents
the adopted child shall stand to the adopter exclusively in
the position of a child born to the adopter in !awful wedlock:

Provided that, in any case where two spouses are the
adopters, such spouses shall in respect of the matters aforesaid
and for the purpose of the jurisdiction of the Court to make
orders as to the custody and maintenance of and right of
access to children stand to each other and to the adopted
child in the same relation as they would have stood if they
had been the lawful father and mother of the adopted child,
and the adopted child shall stand to them respectively in the
same relation as a child would have stood to a lawful father
and mother respectively.

(2) An adoption order shall not deprive the adopted
child of any right to or interest in property to which, but
for the order, the child would have been entitled under any
intestacy or disposition, whether occurring or made before
or after the making of the adoption order, or confer on the

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Adoption of Children (CAP. 9 5

adopted child any right to or interest in property as a child
sf the adopter, and the expressions "child", "children" and
"issue" where used in any disposition whether made before
or after the making of an adoption order, shall not, unless
the contrary intention appears, include an adopted child or
children or the issue of an adopted child.

(3) For the purposes of this section "disposition" means
an assurance of any interest in property by any instrument
whether inter uiuos or by will including codicil.

(4) For the purposes of section 57 of the Friendly
Societies Act, which enables a Friendly Society to insure
money to be paid for funeral expenses, and section 58 of
the said Act, which restricts the persons to whom money
may be paid on the death of a child under the age of ten
years, the adopter shall be deemed to be the parent of the
child; and where before the adoption order was made any
such insurance had been effected by the natural parent of
the child, the rights and liabilities under the policy shall by
virtue of the adoption order be transferred to the adopter,
and the adopter shall, for the purposes of the said enact-
ment, be treated as the person who took out the policy.

7. (1) Upon any application for an adoption order, ~,",~~,'"O~,"k
the Court may postpone the determination of the application

, L A

and may make an interim order (which shall not be an adop-
tion order for the purposes of ;his Act) giving the custody
of the infant to the applicant for a period not exceeding two
years by way of a probationary period upon such terms as
regards provision for the maintenance and education and
supervision of the welfare of the infant and otherwise as the
Court may think fit.

(2) All such consents as are required to an adoption
order shall be necessary to an interim order, but subject to
a like power on the part of the Court to dispense with any
such consent.

8. An adoption order or an interim order may be made ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ n ~ ~ ~ ~ e r
in resDect of an infant who has alreadv been the subject of in resoect of
an adbption order, and, upon any apdlication for sulh fur- ~~~~~~~~~
ther adoption order, the adopter or adopters under the adop- order.

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6 CAP. 9 ) Adoption of Children

tion order last previously made shall, if living, be deemed
to be the parent or parents of the infant for all the purposes
of this Act.

Jurisdiction and 9. (1) The Court having jurisdiction to make adop-
procedure. tion orders under this Act shall be the High Court.

(2) Rules in regard to any matter to be prescribed under
this Act and directing the manner in which applications to
the Court are to be made and dealing generally with all
matters of procedure and incidental matters arising out of
this Act and for carrying this Act into effect shall be made
by the Chief Justice.

(3) Such rules may provide for applications for adop-
tion orders being heard and determined otherwise than in
open Court.

(4) For the purposes of any application under this Act
and subject to any rules under this section, the Court shall
appoint some person or body to act as guardian ad litem of
the infant upon the hearing of the application with the duty
of safeguarding the interests of the infant before the Court.

Restriction on
payments.

10. It shall not be lawful for any adopter or for any
parent or guardian except with the sanction of the Court
to receive any payment or other reward in consideration of
the adoption of any infant under the Act or for any person
to make or give or agree to make or give to any adopter
or to any parent or guardian any such payment or reward.

Provisions as to I . Where at the date of the commencement of this
existing de facto
ado~t ions . Act any infant is in the custody of, and being brought up,

maintained and educated by any person or two spouses jointly
as his, her or their own child under any de facto adoption,
and has for a period of not less than two years before such
commencement been in such custody, and been so brought
up, maintained and educated, the Court may, upon the
application of such person or spouses, and notwithstanding
that the applicant is a male and the infant a female, make
an adoption order authorizing him, her or them to adopt
the infant without requiring the consent of any parent or

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Adoption of Children (CAP. 9 7

guardian of the infant to be obtained, upon being satisfied
that in all the circumstances of the case it is just and equitable
and for the welfare of the infant that no such consent should
be required and that an adoption order should be made.

12. (1) The Registrar-General shall establish and Adopted Children
Register.

maintain at his office a register to be called the Adopted
Children Register, in which shall be made such entries as
may be directed to be made therein by adoption orders, but
no other entries.

(2) Every adoption order shall contain a direction to
the Registrar-General to make in the Adopted Children
Register an entry recording the adoption in the form set out
in the Schedule. Schedule.

(3) If upon any application for an adoption order there
is proved to the satisfaction of the Court-

(a) the date of the birth of the infant; and

( b ) the identity of the infant with a child to which
any entry or entries in the Register of Births relates,

the adoption order shall contain a further direction to the
Registrar-General to cause such birth, entry or entries in
the Register of Births, to be marked with the word
"Adopted", and to include in the entry in the adoption
register recording the adoption the date stated in the order
of the adopted child's birth in the manner indicated in the
Schedule.

(4) The prescribed officer of the Court shall cause ev-ry
adoption order to be communicated in the prescribed man-
ner to the Registrar-General, and upon receipt of such com-
munication the Registrar-General shall cause compliance to
be made with the directions contained in such order in regard
both to marking any entry in the Register of Births with
the word "Adopted", and in regard to making the
appropriate entry in the Adopted Children Register.

(5) A certified copy of any entry in the Adopted
Children Register if purporting to be sealed or stamped with

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8 CAP. 9) Adoption of Children

the seal of the Registrar-General's Office shall, without any
further or other proof of such entry-

(a) where the entry does not contain any record
of the date of the birth of the adopted child, be received
as evidence of the adoption to which the same relates;
and

(b) where the entry contains a record of the date i
of the birth of the adopted child, be received not only
as evidence of the adoption to which the same relates
but also as evidence of the date of the birth of the adopted 2 I
child to which the same relates in all respects as though
the same were a certified copy of an entry in the Register
of Births.

i

(6) The Registrar-General shall cause an index of the
Adopted Children Register to be made and kept in his office,
and every person shall be entitled to search such index and
to have a certified copy of any entry in the Adopted Children
Register in all respects upon, and subject to the same terms,
conditions and regulations as to payment of fees and other-
wise as are applicable under the laws for the time being in
force in Antigua and Barbuda in respect of searches in other
indexes kept in such office, and in respect of the supply from
such office of certified copies of entries in the Registers of
Births and Deaths.

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