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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.

You may only adopt a child as a single person if you are not married. If you are married, and you wish to adopt a child as a single person, you may only do so if it is impossible to adopt a child jointly with your spouse. For more detailed information, contact the central authority for adoption in your canton of residence.

Cantonal authorities for matters relating to adoption

Adopting my spouse's child

Agreements and other guarantees

The suitability of the prospective parents is assessed before they receive the authorisation to welcome a child into their home. 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 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. Consent may be waived if one or both parents are unknown; their whereabouts have been unknown for more than two years; are permanently incapable of consent; or have not taken proper care of the child.

Applying for adoption

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

Adopting abroad