Have you ever loved your partner so much you wanted to adopt
Polo magnate, John Goodman who is facing a civil trial in the US
over the death of a 23-year-old in a hit and run accident, did just
A judge previously ruled that a trust Mr Goodman had set up for
his two children could not be considered part of his financial
worth if a jury awarded damages to the victim's family. In an
attempt to provide for his girlfriend, Mr Goodman has since adopted
said girlfriend as his legal daughter, in turn allowing her to be
entitled to a third of the family trust. An American Court has
described the action as a new "twilight zone" for the
It is very unlikely that we get such a twilight rezoning case as
the Adoption Act of NSW and it's mirroring counterparts from
other states state that adoption applies to a child under the age
of 18 or for a person over the age of 18 that was cared for as a
ward or stepchild of the adoptive parent when they were
In Australia adoption is understood by most people to have the
same meaning Angelina Jolie and Madonna understand it to have.
There have been cases where children have been adopted by family
members when their parents could not care for them. Of course there
will always be the precedent setting case or two that come with a
slightly off-centre set of facts.
In one interesting case a married couple asked the wife's
mother to become the surrogate mother of their child as the wife
suffered from cervical cancer.
When determining who were the parents of the child (taking into
account that all the parties agreed that the child belonged to the
husband and wife regardless of who carried him in the womb) Justice
Watts made this interesting comment "It came as a surprise to
me, and I am afraid it will come as a surprise to the parties, that
at law, [the grandmother] is Michael's mother, [the
grandmother's partner] is his father, [the wife] is his
maternal step-sister and [the husband] is his maternal
step-brother-in-law. The good news is there is a way to rectify
this surprising result."
At the conclusion of the case, his Honour made recommendations
for the amendment of certain sections of the Family Law Act to
avoid any such surprises in the future.
Regardless of the background, adoption like a ripple will have
effects that will carry through to the life of the child and the
parents. So if you are thinking of adopting your stepchild, ward or
even a family member remember to always seek legal advice
beforehand to understand the legal consequences such a decision can
have on you, your adopted child and the rest of your family.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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