Adoption In Singapore

Having a child is a traditional part of building a family. Adoption is the legal process under the Adoption of Children Act (“ACA”) where the adopters become the new legal parents of the child, and all legal ties to parenthood that the previous parents may have with the child are officially severed.

How do I adopt a child in Singapore?

For the adoption to be successful, both the child to be adopted and the person applying for adoption have to meet several criteria.

The Child

The child to be adopted must be younger than 21 years of age and not be married. This is because at 21, the child is already legally an adult, and if the child is married, there is no need to break ties with the biological parents.

The child must also be a Singapore citizen or permanent resident or a Dependent Pass holder. However, children of foreign citizenship can also be adopted, as long as the laws of the foreign country are complied with.

The Adoptive Parent

The parent or parents must be at least 25 years old and at least 21 years older than the child. However, not meeting the age criteria does not automatically preclude you from adopting. You may still be granted the adoption order if you or your spouse are below 25 years old and/or less than 21 years older than the child. The adoption may be allowed if you or your spouse and the child are related by blood, or if there are other special circumstances that make it just for the adoption to be allowed. However, if you are married but adopting the child by yourself, you must get the consent of your spouse before you make the application

Can a single person adopt a child in Singapore?

Single Male

Single males are not allowed to adopt a female child unless the male can prove that he and the girl are closely related.

Other criteria for adopting

Homosexual couples

Unfortunately, homosexual couples will not be able to apply together to adopt a child. ACA only allows joint applications from married couples, and same-sex partners are currently still not allowed to be married in Singapore.

Best Interests/welfare of the child

Before granting any adoption order, the court will take into account the needs and best interests of the child. The courts have wide discretion and can take into account any number of factors in its assessment on whether the adoption will serve the best interests of the child. An example that the court will consider is the environment of your family; for example, if the court discovers that your spousal relationship is unstable and abusive, the court is unlikely to place the child under your care as it would not be in the best interests of the child to be in such an environment and witnessing fights between its adoptive parents. Depending on the age and mental maturity of the child, the wishes of the child can also be taken into consideration as well.

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Consent is one of the most important requirements. Consent from the following parties is required for the adoption: the parent or guardian of the child; or the person who has custody of the child; or the person liable to support the child.

The ACA mandates that every person whose consent is needed understands the effect of consenting to the adoption – renouncing all of his or her rights in relation to the child. However, in special situations such as if the parents of the child have deserted the child, or the people mentioned above are unable to give their consent for a valid reason – such as being mentally incapable of giving consent – then the court can waive this requirement.

How much does it cost and how long does it take to adopt a child in Singapore?

Typically, adoption takes about 5-7 months to complete. For a Singaporean citizen or permanent resident child, the process is as follows:

The parent must attend a compulsory pre-adoption briefing to understand the adoption process and roles and responsibilities of a parent;

Search for a potential child to adopt;

Obtain necessary identification documents of the child – an itemised breakdown of costs in obtaining the child may be required;

Submit an application to the Family Court and attend interviews conducted by a Child Welfare Officer (CWO);

The judge will then make a decision based on the CWO’s report;

If the application is successful, a new Birth Certificate for the child will be prepared, and you will have the option of changing the child’s name by executing a deed poll.

If a couple goes through an adoption agent to look for a child, the fees can range from $25,000 to $35,000.

However, be wary if you are looking to use a surrogate parent; section 11 of the ACA prohibits payments to birth parents in return for them giving up the child for adoption. The court must approve any payments or rewards made to the birth parents before the adoption can be made official.

How we can help

The adoption process is tricky as it requires many steps and making the appropriate applications to the court. The priority in Singapore on adoption is to focus on the child’s welfare and to ensure a safe and healthy environment of the child. Only then will the court in Singapore consider granting the adoption. If you are looking to adopt, please do not hesitate to contact us for a consultation and we will have a fruitful consultation with you on your available options.

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Our specialised lawyers and their team are standing by to assist you. Our first consultation is free.

The information contained within this website contains general information about our lawyers, Law Firm and procedures and is not intended to constitute legal advice.
Any person viewing or receiving information from this Website should not act or refrain from acting, on the basis of any such information without first seeking appropriate legal advice.
Please consult a lawyer for specific review of your case and advise. 

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Enquiry from Emerald Law


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Joint Managing Partner

Enquiry from Emerald Law


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