Applying for an Adoption Order

There are requirements around who can apply for an adoption order and when this can happen in the process - this page sets out those requirements.

The parental responsibility of the birth parents continues up to the point at which an adoption order is made, although it will be shared with the Department if a Community Parenting Order is in effect, and with the prospective adopters, although to a limited extent. The prospective adopters will be provided with written information at the Introductions stage, setting out the extent that Parental Responsibility is shared with the Department.

The process, and its consequences, will be fully explained (and a written summary provided if required) to Adopters, the birth relatives and, according to their level of understanding , the child.

Applying for an order

  1. Given the irrevocable nature of the adoption order, the decision to start the application process should be made at a review and formally recorded.
  2. An application can be made by a single person or jointly by a married couple.
  3. The minimum legal age for an adopter is 18.
  4. The adopter (or one of the adopters, in a couple) must have their domicile in the UK, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man. 'Domicile' is the legal relationship between a person and a country which arises from his/her residence there with the intention of making it a permanent home.
  5. An application for an adoption order cannot be lodged with the Royal Court until the child has been living with the prospective adopters for at least 12 weeks.
  6. The legal fees of prospective adopters will be paid by the Department but they will have to pay the application fee, subject to written agreed authorisation.
  7. The Department will provide all reports required from it, by the Court, within three months of the application.

Non-agency domestic adoptions

Non-agency domestic adoptions are dealt with directly by the Greffe.

Inter-country adoptions

Adoptions of children from overseas are dealt with by a different process, see Inter-country Adoption and the prospective adopters will be considered as a non-agency adoption.


TaskResponsible officerRecord requiredTimecale
An application for an adoption order can be lodged by the applicants once a child has been in a pre adoptive placement for a minimum of three months.Fostering and adoption social worker / child's social worker / applicants / birth parents if applicableFirst Schedule (Form 1)Statement of applicant in support of adoption (Form 2)Consent to an adoption order or a provisional adoption order (Form 3)Second Schedule Matters to be addressed in the Placing Agency ReportAll to be completed within a three month time frame
Once the application is lodged, directions hearings will be scheduled and the process follows those set out within the Royal Court (Adoption) (Guernsey and Alderney) Rules, 2006.Adoption applications will be heard by the Lieutenant Bailiff, in the Royal Court.Deputy Greffier will advise the Department, the applicants and in contested applications, the appointed Advocate of the date of the 1st Directions Hearing.  Subsequent hearings will be sent to respondents, applicants, the Department and where applicable to the appointed advocate by the Deputy Greffier.Notice of Directions Hearing. 
The Lieutenant Bailiff may require the Department to file a statement(s) during the adoption application process .The child's social worker will file the statement as soon as possible and prior to the next directions hearing.Statement to be given to the Deputy Greffier As requested
In contested adoption cases it is usual to set a final hearing date of two-three days.Lieutenant Bailiff, The Royal Court