Adoption is legally regulated in Victoria. The primary objective of adoption is to provide a safe, loving family for a child who cannot be cared for by their birth family. Another permanent arrangement for the care of a non-biological child is a permanent care order made by the Children’s Court.


Ben Sayer

Partner, Sayer Jones

Adult adoptions

Last updated

1 July 2020

In Victoria, it is possible to apply to adopt a ‘child’ even if they are aged 18 years or older. A person may be adopted when they are an adult, provided they have been brought up, maintained and educated by the applicant, as the child of the applicant, as if the applicant was the child’s parent (s 10 Adoption Act).

Under section 15(2) of the Adoption Act, an applicant seeking to adopt an adult does not have to be approved as a fit and proper person to adopt. Also, the involvement of Adoption Victoria or an approved agency is not required. However, the court must still be satisfied that special circumstances make it desirable that the person who is the subject of the application be adopted.

The court may require that concerned third-parties (e.g. a birth parent) be notified of the adoption application. However, this is not mandatory (s 16).

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