§ Status conferred by adoption
§ 2.—(1) An adopted child shall be treated in law—
- (a) where the adopters are a married couple, as if he had been born as a child of the marriage (whether or not he was in fact born after the marriage was solemnized);
- (b) in any other case, as if he had been born to the adopter in wedlock (but not as a child of any actual marriage of the adopter).
§ (2) An adopted child shall be treated in law as if he were not the child of any person other than the adopters or adopter.
§ (3) It is hereby declared that this paragraph prevents an adopted child from being illegitimate.
§ (4) This paragraph has effect—
- (a) in the case of an adoption before 1st January 1976, from that date, and
- (b) in the case of any other adoption, from the date of the adoption.
§ (5) Subject to the provisions of this Part, this paragraph applies for the construction of enactments or instruments executed before the adoption or later, and so applies subject to any contrary indication, and in the case of an existing enactment or instrument so far as the context admits.
§ (6) Subject to the provisions of this Part, this paragraph has effect as respects things done, or events occurring, after the adoption, or after 31st December 1975, whichever is the later.
§ 3. A relationship existing by virtue of paragraph 2 may be referred to as an adoptive relationship, and—
- (a) a male adopter may be referred to as the adoptive father;
- (b) a female adopter may be referred to as the adoptive mother;
- (c) any other relative of any degree under an adoptive relationship may be referred to as an adoptive relative of that degree,
- but this paragraph does not prevent the term "parent" or any other term not qualified by the word "adoptive", being treated as including an adoptive relative.
§ Instruments and enactments concerning properly
§ 4.—(1) Paragraph 2—
- (a) does not apply to an existing instrument or enactment so far as it contains a disposition of property, and
- (b) does not apply to any public general Act in its operation on any disposition of property in an existing instrument or enactment.
§ (2) The repeal by this Act of sections 16 and 17 of the 1958 Act, and of references to those sections, does not affect their application in relation to a disposition of property effected by an existing instrument.
§ (3) Sub-paragraph (2) does not apply to section 17(3) of the 1958 Act (which is superseded by the provision for the protection of trustees and personal representatives in Part IV).
§ 5.—(1) Subject to any contrary indication, the rules of construction contained in this paragraph apply to any instrument, other than an existing instrument, so far as it contains a disposition of property.
§ (2) For the purposes of this paragraph, provisions of the law of intestate succession applicable to the estate of a deceased person shall be treated as if contained in an instrument executed by him (while of full capacity) immediately before his death.
§ (3) In applying paragraph 2(1) to a disposition which depends on the date of birth of a child or children of the adoptive parent or parents, the disposition shall be construed as if—
- (a) the adopted child had been born on the date of adoption,
- (b) two or more children adopted on the same date had been born on that date in the order of their actual births,
- but this does not affect any reference to the age of a child.
§ (4) Paragraph 2(2) does not affect any interest vested in possession before the adoption.
§ (5) Where it is necessary to determine for the purposes of a disposition of property effected by an instrument whether a woman can have a child, it shall be presumed that once a woman has attained the age of fifty-five she will not adopt a child after execution of the instrument, and notwithstanding paragraph 2 if she does so the child shall not be treated as her child or as the child of her spouse (if any) for the purposes of the instrument.
§ (6) In this paragraph "instrument" includes a private Act settling property, but not any other enactment.
§ (7) Paragraph 2(6) has effect subject to this paragraph.561
§ 6.—(1) In Scotland paragraph 2 does not affect the existing law relating to adopted persons in respect of—
- (a) the succession to a deceased person (whether testate or intestate); and
- (b) the disposal of property by virtue of any inter vivos deed.
§ (2) Paragraphs 4 and 5 do not apply to Scotland.
§ Other enactments and instruments
§ (2) In Scotland paragraph 2 does not apply in determining the prohibited degrees of consanguinity and affinity in respect of the law relating to marriage or in respect of the crime of incest, except that, on adoption, the adopter and the child shall be deemed, for all time coming, to be within the said prohibited degrees in respect of the law relating to marriage.
§ Adoption of child by natural parents
§ 8.—(1) Paragraph 2(2) has no effect as respects an illegitimate child adopted by both its natural parents.
§ (2) In the case of an illegitimate child adopted by one of its natural parents as sole adoptive parent, paragraph 2(2) has no effect as respects entitlement to property depending on relationship to that parent, or as respects anything else depending on that relationship.
§ Peerages, etc.
§ 9. An adoption does not affect the descent of any peerage or dignity or title of honour.