View Full Version : OT: Adoption and the Legal Side of it...

15-10-2003, 12:57 AM
I know theres been a few OTs here lately but i wanted some ideas/help on this one from ppl here...hope you guys can help...

If a parent got divorced, and father moved away...and the mother remarried, and the new husband applied for legal adoption of the children, and was approved...and now they split up....
and the child wants to reverse the adoption and have the biological father as the true only father of this child, but keep the surname from the stepfather?

Can that be at all done? Or is the biological father the true legal father no matter what?....


15-10-2003, 07:45 AM
You can do whatever you want. Name can be whatever you prefer. It's nice when they adopt the stepchild, but a shame when that turns to custard. Depends though, know someone in that situation where was largely brought up by step-dad and separation happened after they left home and they guy still feels like his Dad and he doesn't want to change anything.

Kid in soccer team I coach has changed his surname three times in five seasons. From real Dad, to Mums maiden name to step-Dad.

15-10-2003, 10:01 AM

If you don't want to mess with lawyers to get the full legal position try your local Citizens Advice Bureau - they usually have a free/very cheap legal advice service that answers questions like this.


15-10-2003, 01:06 PM
Do you have to pay to get all that adoption thing sorted (as you know I know nothing about adoptions.)

If you did I don't suppose you couldn't just ask for your money back and have it fixed? Won't be covered by the Consumer Guarantee Act or Fair Trading Act, didn't last the intended use?

I have to say the Biological Father is the true legal father, but for some reason he gave up his child, did he fight, if it went to court must be a reason why he lost? I don't understand that, I don't understand why someone else would adopt someone so that their lastname is same as the stepdad. If only kids were old enough to make up their own minds, a bit annoyed with how parents are in thinking they know what is best.

If I ended up in that situation, I would still prefer my biological dad's lastname and wouldn't want my name changed.

15-10-2003, 01:15 PM
Chris - you can mess with me. Community Law Centres are helpful too.
I've never heard of an adoption reversal. However if everyone agreed I think the Family Court might allow a further adoption by the biological father.
Otherwise it may be possible to have the Adoption Order set aside but that is probably a matter for the High Court.
I am not sure it is even possible without evidence of duress or fraud.

The short answer is that the adoptive father remains the father of the child on all records and in terms of the law. His name has to be removed and the biological father substituted to achieve what you ask.

So far as name is concerned - this is much easier. A person of 18yrs or over can change their name by Deed Poll. A form can be obtained from the Registrar of Births.
Under that age any surname you like can be used provided there is no fraud but the parents/guardians can veto that and insist on an official surname.

None of the name changes affect the Birth Certificate - so far as I know that can only be changed by the Court - usually by adoption.

Hope this helps


15-10-2003, 01:53 PM
The situation is that the biological father thought it would be a good decision just to say yes to it the adoption (i was only 5 or 6)...but has always regretted it...but since i;m 20...i get to choose watever...
and if i got to choose i just want my biological father to be my father by law, but i dont want to change my name at all...not even surname or anything...

and i dont want this to turn into a one big mess u know...wouldnt be fair on family or anyone else thats why i here asking for advice....

15-10-2003, 02:34 PM
Thats cool Chris.
Many fathers and mothers agree to adoption by the new partner of the other parent. Often with misgivings but thinking they are doing the right thing for the child.

The current legal thinking is that such adoptions should be discouraged as they can cut a child off from a birthparent. Your concern is a good example of why step-parent adoption is not necessarily a good thing.
Mind you in some cases it is the very best thing for the child.

Anyway "No" is the cheap and simple answer. Nevertheless a Birth Certificate is only a piece of paper. Your true Dad is still the same man whatever a bunch of rules may say.

15-10-2003, 02:41 PM
but what does it take to have the true biological father recorded on the birth certicifitate? if you rather we talked about this via email or msn, then email me on the addy in profile :)

And personally adoption is good coz it assures the child to actually have parents thru childhood,...but there should be clauses like, they get to have contact with their true biological parents, and stuff like that...coz i know some adoptive parents would rather they not have ne contact at all coz when they got to a age they would understand then they mite want to change things..etc...

15-10-2003, 04:50 PM
Biological father is never removed from birth certificate, even in adoption, I don't think. Might be wrong but certainly wouldn't be changed at age five. We are talking impact on genealogy research and all sorts.

Reality is that adopted father has no real rights or obligations with someone age 20. They can't be sued for something the child did or withold permission to marry or join the armed forces. I am not sure any action is actually required.


15-10-2003, 06:51 PM
Chris- I am happy to communicate by e-mail if you like. However adoption affects many people and it might help for everyone to discuss in open forum. It is a sensitive subject.

Anyway Rob has raised a point that I need to check. Back tomorrow.

15-10-2003, 10:24 PM
my birth certificatre has my step father on it...
so guess they did change it...

but mum mentioned she has the "orgininal" birth certificate, so maybe its on that one?

Peter M
15-10-2003, 10:49 PM
Chris, Your biological father's name should still be on the original birth certificate. A second birth certificate may of been issued when the adoption took place with the step fathers name on it. I was legally adopted when I was 10 but my original certificate still has my biological father's name on it. This was never taken back from us. We kept both. So you shouldn't really have a problem. Continue to use your step father's name if you wish (I do) but get hold of the original birth certificate and use that as proof of your dad. Best of luck.

15-10-2003, 11:01 PM
so ur saying i dont need to do anything?
if i want to have my true dad on the b/c all i can do is get that orginal and use/have that instead?

15-10-2003, 11:41 PM
In 1955 I with the 2 children's Mother adopted them. It was the first time an adoption with the biological Mother was undertaken under new law and the lawyers clerk was meticulous in my grooming and in a tizz because a precedent was about to ensue. The Judge wigged up approached me and took the two children's hands an said "Do you take these two children for better for worse" and smiled benevolently at me.....etc...The Birth certificate was in my name but the law has since been changed to allow the original birth certificate of choice.....That has never bothered me because I know that I was their only Father for most of their lives as one was 2 and the other was 4....NO attempt has ever been contemplated to conceal their true father and today the oldest is 50+ and I an a very happy and contented Father and Grand Father. That was in the High Court Building in Balance ST Wellington.

16-10-2003, 11:38 AM
Ok, I've done some research.

What you can rely on is the Adult Adoption Information Act 1985 - specifically Sections 4 - 6.
Upon adoption the Birth Certificate record is changed to show the adoptive parents. The original record is then Closed. It cannot be accessed except in special circumstances.

Furthermore if the original birth parent(s) do not want their names released the record is blank until they die.

At 20 you are an adult and can apply to the Registrar of Births for the original Certificate of Birth.

Unfortunately they won't just send it to you. First you are required to be referred to counseling through the Children and Young Persons Service. After counseling the original certificate will be given to you.

Bit of bureaucracy but you will achieve your purpose.

The Registrar
PO Box 31115
Lower Hutt
Ph 0800 225252

Good luck and am pleased to find a definitive answer for you.


16-10-2003, 12:03 PM
I consider your effort to be above and beyond the call of duty. Well done. Not sure I have anything I can slip you as a prize but I am sure your efforts will be appreciated by Chris.
I know this whole thing is utterly off-topic, but so what, PressF1 is about people helping people for no reason other than they know they might need help from someone one day. It's sort of like "Pay it forward" for geeks. (roll gooey music with choir in background)

16-10-2003, 01:57 PM
Yes I am very grateful of the help, support I am getting on this, especially from winston and i am definately thankful...and thanks to all the other posts i have got on this topic as well...

Your post makes me think that you think my adoption is that i dont know my true father etc...Correct me if i am wrong...And after reading some posts I dont think I've actually told the whole story..

As you know i've been adopted by step father yeah...but it didnt mean to mean that I dont know my true father but i actually do, we speak via emails once a week sometimes once a month depending on his work, but yeah i see him sometimes, and definately do know who he is, have always known....
the main thing I'm actually after is, changing the birth certificate to actually show my true fathers name not step father, and you mentioned counselling, i honestly dont beleive i would need to go do that..

But i really apprecate you going to the effort finding out information on this topic for me..and i hope my breif explantion actually clears abit of this up...

16-10-2003, 02:01 PM
Aww shucks..... :8)

I can't help much with computers so I try to help on other topics to repay the kindness and patience of PF1 members.

17-10-2003, 10:08 AM
Chris - I realise you know your birth father, which is great.

For that reason I cannot imagine you having any problem getting the "closed" (sealed) original certificate. Especially if your father went with you to the counseling or gave you a letter supporting your request. A statutory declaration or Affidavit from him would be even better.

However if your point is that you want your step-father expunged/removed/replaced on your current birth certificate then I have to refer you back to my first post. I do not think it can be done - or at least not without a lot of time and trouble, if at all. Your adoptive father has rights too and no one is going to remove his name without him being involved.

It seems to me that the original birth certificate gives you exactly what you want. True, it is not your current official record and I am not sure if you could use the original for a passport application but it should be sufficient for most purposes. More importantly I think that issue to you of the original would give you peace of mind.

As to the counseling - I'm afraid you have no choice. The law requires it. Nevertheless in this case where you know and are supported by your birth father the counseling would be a 15 minute formality.

Ring the Registrar on the 0800 number.

Hope this helps.


17-10-2003, 10:53 AM
Stand tall Winston... a real Kiwi.

Your help made my morning.

And best of luck Chris.


17-10-2003, 11:13 AM
Hey ur really are a great guy winston...i really appreciate all this...
Will talk to my true dad via email about it and also talk to mum too coz if dad rings mum and she knows nothing then a mess will start...
then go from there...
i cant contact stepfather as i dont know where he is but i think mum does...

I'll do all that, and is there a email address instead of that 0800 number as i could email them for some advice too..as i'm deaf..and please dont start being sorry for giving me a phone number...
i'll go look for it myself if u dont know it :)

17-10-2003, 08:22 PM
No problem. You want the Internal Affairs Department of NZ.
Specifically Births Deaths and Marriages.

e-mail is


I'm sure you will find them helpful. Good idea to talk to your family too - no need for misunderstandings. Perhaps you can see now why the law requires counseling - more than just the adopted child is affected by adoption.

All the best.