The Adoption of children is guided by the Adoption of Infants Act, Chap. 37:03 (PDF 579kb)
THE FOLLOWING SHOULD BE CAREFULLY NOTED
- Identify child (under 18 years) to be adopted.
- Welfare Division can only identify child if parents indicate that they are prepared to have child adopted.
- Select an Attorney-at-Law who will prepare the necessary documents for presentation at the hearing before a High Court Judge. The fees are set by the Attorney and this varies.
- A Welfare Officer or a Social Worker who is identified by the Attorney and will serve as Guardian Ad Litem. One of the roles of the Guardian is to prepare a Social Enquiry Report which will indicate to the Court whether all conditions are met for the adoption. The Guardian will also serve in a supervisory role in relation to the child prior to the adoption.
- The petitioner(s), parent(s) of child and child if of sufficient capacity MUST be interviewed by the Guardian Ad Litem. This means that the petitioner(s) if resident overseas must visit Dominica in order to be interviewed.
- The Guardian Ad Litem must be satisfied with all information presented during interviews and also documentation submitted by the Attorney-at-Law in order to recommend that the adoption be granted.
- The Guardian Ad Litem must also review all necessary documents related to the Adoption, for example birth and marriage certificates etc.
- The petitioner(s), parent(s), Child and Guardian Ad Litem must be present during the court hearing which normally takes place in the Judge’s Chambers.
- Applicant must be Twenty-five years and over.
- Order will not be made if the applicant is less than twenty-one years older than the infant in respect of whom the application is made.
- Where the applicant and the infant are within the “prohibited degrees of consanguinity” (family relationships) the Court may if it thinks it fit, make the order notwithstanding that the applicant is less that twenty-one years older than the infant.
- No order shall be made in any case where the sole applicant is a male and the infant is a female unless special circumstances justify the making of an Order.
- Both parents must give consent. But the consent of a parent may be dispensed under special circumstances. But consent may be dispensed based on:
- One spouse cannot be found
- Spouse incapable of giving consent
- Spouses separated and living apart
- Non-resident applicants must satisfy the court that they are fit and proper persons to adopt a child. This can be communicated through documented evidence from a recognized institution from place of residence, preferably a Social Work Agency.
- The effect of an Adoption Order is so that when the Order is made, all rights, duties, obligations and liabilities of the parent or parents, guardian or guardians of the adopted child, in relation to future custody, maintenance and education of the adopted child ………………………………………… shall be extinguished and vested in and exercisable by and enforced against the adopter.
- The applicant or in the cases of spouses at least one spouse must be present at the hearing of the application.
- Applicants from French Territories (Martinique and Guadeloupe) must first apply at home for permission to adopt a Dominican Child.
- United States Citizens must first seek information from a United States Counsular Office prior to submitting an application. The United States have set rules/conditions under which an adopted child can gain entry to the United States.
Under United States Immigration Law, the adopted child must be 16 years and under.