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Adopting a child: requirements and procedure

Adoption by a couple

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

  • have been married for at least five years or both be at least 35 years old
  • both be at least 16 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 35 years old
  • be at least 16 years older than the child

if you wish to adopt your spouse’s child: have been married to him or her for at least five years

if you wish to adopt a child which is not your spouse’s, you can only do so if you are not married. If you are, you’ll have to do it jointly with your spouse (see adoption by a couple).

Agreements and other guarantees

The future parents need to be able 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 16), he or she needs to give consent to the adoption.

Usually, unless the child is legally abandoned, the parents must also agree to their child’s adoption. However, consent can only be given once the child is six weeks old.

Adopting abroad