Supreme Court rejects adoption requests, says it will not provide any legal benefit to children

Kuo ‘ikai tali ‘e he fakamaau’anga’ e kole ‘a ha ongo mātu’a ne na toki mali ki mui he 2015 ke tohi ko e fanau mali ‘ena fānau ne fanau’i ki mu'a te’eki ke na mali. Pehē ‘e ‘Eiki Fakamaau Lahi Paulsen ‘e maumau’i ‘e he kole ko ‘eni ‘a e lao ki he fānau mali’ kapau ‘e tali ‘ena kole’. E kei tu'u leva pe 'i he tohi ta'u 'o e fānau' ni ko e fānau 'ikai mali kinautolu.

The Supreme Court has turned down a request from a married couple to adopt their children who were born before they were married.

The couple have three children.

In his summary of the case, Lord Chief Justice Paulsen said because they were born while their parents were living together as man and wife but unmarried, they were illegitimate.

The applicant  married in 2015 shortly after the male applicant divorced his previous wife.  The marriage  did not legitimate their children because of the Legitimacy Act.

The parent’s legal counsel said the purpose of the application was to remove the children’s illegitimate status on their birth certificates.

“In a number of cases I have emphasised that adoption generally involves the total substitution of new parents for existing parents, the fundamental purpose of which is to provide a child, who cannot or will not be provided by his or her own parents, with a permanent and secure family life.” Lord Chief Justice Paulsen said.

“This case is of a different type as there is no intention to create a new family unit.

“The applicants have together raised the subject children from birth.

“It cannot be said that the granting of Letters of Adoption is necessary to provide the children with love, care, protection and security within a new family environment.”

The judge said the only reason out forward for granting Letters of Adoption in this case was  that the parents wanted to remove the illegitimate status of the children from their birth certificates.

He said no explanation was given as to why this would benefit the children. Letters of adoption would not confer any legal benefit on the children.

In any case, if the Court were  to  grant  Letters  of  Adoption  new birth certificates would be issued for each child which would make it plain that the registration was made following the grant of Letters of Adoption and that the subject child was therefore necessarily born illegitimate.

“I cannot perceive of a case where the Court would participate in a deception and  grant Letters  of Adoption  to  hide  from  a subject  child the  true  circumstances  of  his or her birth,” the judge said.

The   application for Letters of Adoption was therefore refused.

The main points

  • The Supreme Court has turned down a request from a married couple to adopt their children who were born before they were married.
  • Lord Chief Justice Paulsen said no explanation was given as to why this would benefit the children. Letters of adoption would not confer any legal benefit on the children.

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