Adoption and parentage

The County Court hears and determines approximately 80 adoptions each year.

Most decisions on a child's placement and prospective parents are made away from the Court and months before the filing of an application for adoption.

It is very common for the terms of the adoption to have been agreed to by the parties before an Adoption Order is made by the Court .

An Adoption Order may be made in favour of two people: * who have been married to each other for at least two years, or * 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, or * who have been living in a de facto relationship for at least two years, or * who have been living with each other in any combination of the relationships mentioned above for at least two years before the date on which the order is made.

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

Child adoption

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

The following links will provide you with information and forms that will assist you in making an application in the County Court to adopt a child.

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 is completed with supporting affidavits from the applicant and adult adoptee.

The following links will provide you with information and forms that will assist you in making an application in the County Court to adopt an adult.

Substitute parentage applications

The Assisted Reproductive Treatment Act 2008 came into operation on 1 January 2010. It regulates the use of assisted reproductive treatment and artificial insemination procedures and makes provision with respect to surrogacy arrangements.

The following information and forms will assist you in applying for a substitute parentage order.

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 the Family Information Network and Discovery at the Department of Health and Human Services.

Change of name applications

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

The following information and forms will assist you in making an application in the County Court for the name change of a child.

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Page last updated: 29 November 2018