Adoption and parentage

The County Court hears and determines approximately 60 adoptions each year.

Cases heard in the Adoption and Parentage List relate to:

  • child adoption
  • adult adoption
  • substitute parentage
  • change of name applications.

Adoptions are prescribed under the Adoption Act 1984 and the Adoption Regulations 2019. Substitute Parentage applications are prescribed under the Status of Children Act 1974 and the Assisted Reproductive Treatment Act 2008.

Child adoption

Most decisions on a child's placement and prospective parents are made before an application for adoption is filed with the Court.

It is very common for the terms of the adoption to be agreed to by the parties before an adoption order is made by the Court.

A child adoption order may be made in favour of two people:

  • who have been married to each other for at least two years
  • who have been living in a de facto relationship for at least two years
  • whose relationship is recognised as a traditional marriage by an Aboriginal community or an Aboriginal group to which they belong and has been recognised for at least two years who have been living with each other in any combination of the relationships mentioned above for at least two years.

The child to be adopted must be under the age of 18 years old. A guardian’s report must be prepared by an authorised adoption agency. The authorised adoption agency also arranges for all the necessary adoption consents to be taken.

Adult adoption

A guardian’s report and parent’s consent are not required for adult adoptions. There are no adoption agencies involved in an adult adoption.

An application must be completed with supporting affidavits from the applicant and adoptee.

Substitute parentage applications

The Assisted Reproductive Treatment Act 2008:

  • regulates the use of assisted reproductive treatment
  • regulates the use of artificial insemination procedures
  • makes provisions with respect to surrogacy arrangements.

Application for information or court documents

The County Court cannot release any information regarding an adoption matter.

All requests for information must be made to Adoption Victoria at the Department of Health and Human Services.

Change of name applications

The Court may hear and determine applications to change the name of a child under the Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Act 1996.

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Page last updated: 3 August 2020