Residency should be flexible in adoption of adult child

From this week’s article on AdvocateDaily, by our own Timothy Sullivan:

Judicial discretion should be exercised if someone wants to adopt an adult child from another jurisdiction, says Ottawa family lawyer and civil litigator Timothy N. Sullivan.

So when Justice Bruce E. Pugsley said he could not grant an adoption order of a step-daughter because the intended step-father, a 71-year-old man, lived in Newfoundland and not Ontario, the law was followed but “justice might not have necessarily been done,” Sullivan says.

“There is a pride of place in saying, ‘That’s my dad,’” says Sullivan, principal of SullivanLaw, who comments generally and is not involved in the case. “The intended step-daughter can say that, but it’s not recognized in law until she’s adopted legally.”

The result, Sullivan says, is the 48-year-old woman in Re G. (K.A.), 2015 ONCJ 615 (CanLII) who had fostered a relationship with her mother’s husband, may have problems in the future if there is no will or one is invalid.

“The legal effect of an adoption is minimal but it’s still not zero,” he says. “She won’t be accorded the benefit of being the de facto child of that prospective father or on a Family Law Act claim, for example.”

To read more, check out the whole article on AdvocateDaily.