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Bradford couple face ‘divorce’ to adopt child
A couple who have been told by social services they cannot adopt their child and take her to start a new life in Australia, because they are married, have discussed divorce as an option to secure their future.
Bradford builder Andrew Shackleton, 40, met dental nurse Carol, 39, on a trip back from Sydney, Australia, where his eight-year-old son James lives with his former wife. And Carol, from Buttershaw , decided that her children Bradley , 18, Angel, 14, and Emma, nine, would have a better life in Australia.
In 2011 she started plans to adopt Emma – her niece’s daughter whom Carol had a residency order to look after from when she was five months old – in order to move the family to Sydney.
The couple wrote to Bradford social services about their intention to marry and emigrate to Australia.
At their first hearing the judge requested a social services report.
Because the couple had wed in January social services blocked the adoption.
Mrs Shackleton said: “It is maddening. We’ve even talked about divorce as a way round this.
“We only ever wanted the best for our family, but social services are standing in the way of our future together in Australia.
“You try to give your children a stable home life, but by marrying we have made it all so much harder.
“We are hoping someone somewhere can see common sense and back us to be together.”
Mr Shackleton said: “I cannot believe what has happened – we blame social services for this nightmare.”
Bradford Council assistant director for Children’s Specialist Services Julie Jenkins said: “We have been in regular contact with Mrs Shackleton and have every sympathy for the situation they face. We are trying to help and advise the family as much as we can but we have to comply with the law. Mr and Mrs Shackleton have now made an application to adopt together but they live in separate countries.
“The law states that for a dual application to adopt a child, both applicants must have lived with the child for a period of six months continuously or three to five years not continuously. It is this issue that is preventing the adoption, not their marital status.”