Popular keywords

Before you file

Before you file, make sure you:

  • Meet the requirements to adopt.
  • Complete the pre-application steps required by the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF).
  • Are prepared to make the necessary arrangements to attend court hearings, which will be scheduled on weekdays during office hours only.

Key facts

If you file an application, you are the applicant.

Refer to the following on how to file an application for an adoption order with the Family Courts.

Who can apply

Applicants who meet the requirements to adopt and have completed the pre-application steps.

Documents required

Refer to the full list of documents.

Estimated filing fees

Refer to this table for the estimated fees.

How to apply

Through eLitigation.

How long it takes

Most applications for an adoption order conclude within 6 months, unless there are incomplete submissions, complex circumstances or objections to the application.

Note

You may choose to file the application for an adoption order yourself or engage a lawyer. Find out where to get help.

What you will need

You will need to file these documents:

The Adoption Statement must be prepared according to Form 38 of the FJC Practice Directions. It must be filled in accurately, as the court will use the information from this statement to issue the legal documents related to the adoption.

Ensure that you check all personal details against available documentation, in particular the:

  • Passports of the applicants, the child and the biological parents.
  • Identity cards of the applicants, the child (if applicable) and the biological parents.
  • Birth certificate of the child.
  • (For joint applicants) Marriage certificate.

You should check all of the following particulars for each of the relevant parties:

For the applicant

  • Name.
  • Identity card number.
  • Address.
  • Date of birth.
  • Country of birth.
  • Occupation.
  • Race or dialect.
  • Religion.
  • Nationality.

For the child

  • Name (as it appears on their birth certificate, passport or other related documents).
  • Birth certificate, passport or identity card number.
  • Address.
  • Date of birth.
  • Place of birth.
  • Gender.

For the biological parents

  • Name (this should be exactly the same as in the child's birth certificate).
  • Identity card number.
  • Address.
  • Nationality.

Note: If the biological father’s particulars are known, you must include these details in paragraph 8(c) even if they do not appear in the child's birth certificate. You must also obtain his written consent to the adoption.

Tip

When filling up paragraph 6(l) of the Adoption Statement, you should state that you have been supporting the child.

You have to file a supporting affidavit for your application. Refer to this template.

The required supporting documents (exhibits) include:

  • The Adoption Statement labelled as the first exhibit.
  • A copy of the child's birth certificate or other means of identification of the child.
    • If this is not in English, include a copy of a certified translation.
  • (If the child is not a Singapore citizen) A copy of the child's dependant’s pass.
  • A copy of the applicant's identity card or other means of identification.
  • The consent of the relevant parties such as the biological parents and biological grandparents (if applicable). Find out how to prepare the documents.
  • All other documents to support the application for an adoption order, for example:
    • Marriage certificate of the applicants.
    • Foreign adoption order.
    • Foreign divorce order in respect of the biological parents (to help the courts find out the legal rights of the divorced biological father in relation to the child).

After completing the affidavit, you must swear or affirm the affidavit before a Commissioner for Oaths.

Guidelines

Refer to the following guidelines on what to do in any of these situations:

If your name or the child's name appears differently in separate documents

You must explain the discrepancies under paragraph 5 of the affidavit. Even a discrepancy in one letter, comma, space is considered significant.

Note: You must also set out all the different names in the Originating Summons and the Adoption Schedule as aliases, for example John Tan@Tan Ah Kow.

If the child is not a Singapore citizen

You must exhibit the child’s dependant’s pass.

Ensure that the child’s dependant’s pass appears as a stamp in the child’s passport and that it is valid beyond the date of the next hearing. Otherwise, you must apply to the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority to extend the pass. A copy of this extended dependant’s pass must be exhibited in the affidavit.

Note: A dependant's pass is compulsory. It is not sufficient to exhibit any other identity card, social visit pass, student’s pass, disembarkation card or any other passes.

If the child has no nationality but was born in Singapore

You must obtain a letter from the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority which states that they have no objections to the adoption. In this case, you do not need to obtain a dependant's pass for the child.

If you are a foreign applicant applying to adopt a child who is a Singaporean citizen

You must exhibit your work permit, employment pass or dependant's pass in the affidavit.

If you do not have any of the mentioned passes or permits, you must state the basis on which you consider yourself a resident in Singapore. For example, you may mention that you are in the process of applying for permanent residency in Singapore or that you have lived here for a number of years and will be doing so in the foreseeable future.

Tip

Ensure that all photocopies of documents are clear and without dark smudges. Otherwise the documents may become illegible when scanned and submitted through eLitigation.

If this happens, you will be required to file a supplementary affidavit to exhibit clearer copies of the documents.

Before submitting your application, you must seek consent from at least one of the following parties:

  • Biological parents of the child.
    • (If the biological parents are below 21 years old) Biological maternal and paternal grandparents of the child.
  • (If the biological parents cannot be found or are unable to provide their consent) Guardian of the child.
  • (If the biological parents cannot be found or are unable to provide their consent, and there is no guardian) Person liable to contribute to the support of the child.

The party needs to sign the consent form (Form 39, FJC Practice Directions) before a Commissioner for Oaths or Notary Public.

Note: If you cannot use the court's form, your version of the consent form must make it clear that the person who is consenting understands the nature and effect of the adoption order:

  • If the person who is consenting is the biological parent, they must understand that the adoption order will permanently deprive them of their parental rights.
  • (If the child is not a Singapore citizen) You must include a copy of the child's dependant’s pass.

If consent cannot be obtained: apply for dispensation

If consent is not obtained, you need to apply for the dispensation of consent and service of documents on them. This means that you are requesting to proceed with your application without the relevant party's written consent.

You need to include the reasons for your request in the Originating Summons for Adoption. You must explain the efforts taken to obtain their consent. Refer to Paragraph 29 of the FJC Practice Directions for more information.

Guidelines

Refer to the following guidelines on what to do in any of these situations:

If the child has been adopted from a foreign country

The consent of the child's biological parents must still be obtained.

Foreign adoption orders have no legal effect in Singapore for the purpose of adoption proceedings. However, you must still exhibit the foreign adoption order in the affidavit.

If either the biological father or biological mother is under 21 years old

You must obtain the consent of all of the following parties:

  • Both the biological parents.
  • The parents (or guardians) of each biological parent who is under 21 years old.

Note: Please use separate forms when obtaining the consent of the biological parents and their parents (or guardians).

If the person signing the consent is not English-literate

The consent form must be interpreted in the person's chosen language. You must include an interpretation clause to state that this has been done.

If a biological parent cannot be found

You need to request for the dispensation of consent and service on this person.

If the biological father refuses to accept the child as his child

You must still file and serve the application for dispensation of consent and service on the biological father.

If the biological parents or biological grandparents are deceased

You do not need to apply for the dispensation of consent and service on such persons.

If the consent of the biological father cannot be obtained as his identity is unknown

 

The biological mother must file an affidavit stating that she is not aware of the identity of the biological father and to give brief reasons why. (For example, she may explain that she does not know the biological father's name, even his first name.)

In such cases, you do not have to apply for the dispensation of the biological father's consent.

Note: The fact that the biological father’s name does not appear in the birth certificate is not sufficient to establish that the biological father’s identity is unknown.

If the child is an abandoned child

 

The written consent of a protector is required for the adoption. The protector could be an MSF officer or an authorised person from a welfare home or orphanage.

You must serve the documents on this person, unless you obtain an order for the dispensation of service of documents on them.

Other related documents

In some cases, you may need to file other related documents to the court for your application. These may include:

  • (If one of the biological parents cannot be found) An affidavit from the other biological parent on why the other parent’s whereabouts cannot be determined.
  • (If the biological father is not listed in the birth certificate) An affidavit from the biological mother on why the biological father is not listed in the birth certificate.
  • (If one of the biological parents is below 21 years old) The affidavit from the parents or guardians of the underaged biological parent.

Note: This list is not exhaustive as the documents depend on the facts of each case. You may wish to seek legal advice if you need help for your case.

Estimated filing fees

The estimated filing fees include:

Item or service

Fee

File the Originating Summons for Adoption

$100

File the Adoption Statement

Free

File the supporting affidavit

  • (Up to 10 pages) $10
  • (More than 10 pages) $1 per page

File a consent

$10

Note: This table does not include fees payable to the MSF or additional fees payable to the LawNet & CrimsonLogic Service Bureau.

How to file and serve

You may choose to file personally or through a lawyer. If you are represented by a lawyer, the application will be filed by your lawyer.

If you are representing yourself, follow these steps to file and serve the application.

Step

Result

1. File the application

Your application is filed in the Family Courts.

2. Collect the endorsed documents

You receive a copy of the application documents that have been endorsed by the Family Courts.

3. Serve the application

You inform the relevant parties of your application.

Visit the LawNet & CrimsonLogic Service Bureau to file all your prepared documents through eLitigation.

The Service Bureau will notify you via email or SMS of whether your application documents have been accepted by the courts.

If the court accepts your application documents, you will be asked to return to the Service Bureau to collect an endorsed version of the documents. This will include the date and time of the first hearing that you must attend.

You will need to serve a copy of the endorsed documents on the relevant parties. This means giving them a copy of the documents in person, in accordance with the court's rules. Refer to Paragraph 78 of the FJC Practice Directions and Division 66 of the Family Justice Rules.

If you are not represented by a lawyer, you may serve the documents yourself or engage a process server from a law firm of your choice.

Serve the application on the Ministry of Social and Family Development

You will need to serve your application documents on the MSF.

The court will also instruct you to seek the MSF's consent to act as the Guardian in Adoption (GIA). Refer to the MSF's website for instructions on how to submit the request for the adoption of a Singaporean or permanent resident child or a foreign child.

Serve the application on the biological parents

You will also need to serve your application on the child's biological parents unless any of the following applies:

  • You have obtained and filed their consent with your application.
  • You have requested for dispensation of service in your Originating Summons.
  • The biological parent is deceased.

Note: Even if the biological father refuses to accept the child as his child, he must still be served with the application.

After you file

You will need to submit additional supporting documents after you obtain the MSF's written consent to act as the Guardian in Adoption. Find out what you need to do.

Need help?

The information here is for general guidance as the courts do not provide legal advice. If you need further help, you may want to get independent legal advice.

Find out more

Resources

Related questions

If you are unable to serve the application, you must file a summons supported by an affidavit to request for dispensation of service or substituted service. The documents must be filed through eLitigation. If you are not represented by a lawyer, visit the LawNet & CrimsonLogic Service Bureau to file.

The supporting affidavit needs to include the following details:

  • How you have made at least 2 recent attempts to serve the documents personally at the last known address of the relevant party, and the outcomes of these attempts.
    • (If there was no response at both attempts at personal service) How you have attempted to locate the relevant party by contacting his relatives, friends or employer (if any).
  • (If you are requesting for substituted service) Why the substituted mode of service is good to bring the matter to the attention of the relevant party.

Note:

  • If the biological father’s identity is unknown, you do not need to file an application for dispensation of service of the adoption application documents on the biological father.
  • If the biological father refuses to accept the child as his child, he must still be served with the applications for dispensation of substituted service as well as for dispensation of consent.
  • If the biological parents or grandparents are deceased, you do not need to apply for the dispensation of their consent and service of documents on them.

To amend the Originating Summons

You must file a summons supported by affidavit through eLitigation to amend the Originating Summons for Adoption. If you are not represented by a lawyer, visit the LawNet & CrimsonLogic Service Bureau to file.

The summons will be scheduled for a hearing within 3 weeks after filing.

If the application is granted by the court, the amended Originating Summons must be filed within 14 days, or you will have to apply for an extension of time. You do not need to extract the order granting leave to amend.

To amend the Adoption Statement

Follow the following steps to make changes to the Adoption Statement:

  • Edit the Adoption Statement through one of the following ways:
  • Within 7 days of amending the statement, file an affidavit through eLitigation. This affidavit needs to include all of the following:
    • A copy of the amended statement (as an exhibit).
    • A mention that the exhibited amended statement is the same statement generated by eLitigation, and that the contents that appear in the amended statement are true and accurate.
    • The grounds (reasons) for the amendments and all other documents that prove that the amendment is necessary.
  • Within 7 days of filing the affidavit, serve the affidavit and amended statement on the Guardian in Adoption (MSF).

If the child does not have an original birth certificate, you have to explain in an affidavit why this is so and why you are unable to obtain a certified true copy of the original birth certificate. Submit this affidavit through eLitigation. If you are not represented by a lawyer, visit the LawNet & CrimsonLogic Service Bureau to file.

Go to Step-by-step guide

Step-by-step guide

2021/07/23

Share this page:
Facebook
Twitter
Email
Print