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Adopting a child: requirements and procedure

Adoption is a measure taken to protect a child. Adoption will only be considered if circumstances strongly suggest that creating a parent-child relationship is in the child’s best interests and will not have a disproportionate negative impact on the other children of the adoptive parents.

Adoption by a married couple

If you are a married couple wishing to adopt a child, you should:

  • have been living in a household for at least 3 years
  • both be at least 28 years old
  • both be at least 16 years older and no more than 45 years older than the child.

Adoption by a single person

If you wish to adopt a child as a single person, you should:

  • be at least 28 years old
  • be at least 16 years older and no more than 45 years older than the child.

You may only adopt a child as a single person if you are neither married nor in a registered partnership. If you are and you wish to adopt a child as a single person, you may only do so if certain conditions are fulfilled. For more detailed information, contact the central authority for adoption in your canton of residence.

Cantonal authorities for matters relating to adoption

Adopting my partner's child

Agreements and other guarantees

The suitability of the prospective parents is assessed before they receive the authorisation to adopt a child. They need to guarantee that they can look after the child long-term, and are able to provide for and bring up the child.

If the child is capable of forming an opinion (usually from the age of 12), he or she needs to give consent to the adoption.

Usually, the child’s biological parents must also agree to the adoption of their child, unless they are unknown, they have been absent for a long period and their whereabouts are unknown, or they are permanently incapable of judgement. However, consent may only be given once the child is six weeks old.

Applying for adoption

File your application for adoption with the central authority for adoption in your canton of residence.

Adopting abroad