Some of you may be considering adoption of children. Are you one of those planning to adopt a child? We are able to assist with such matters. Adoption of children is part and parcel of the field of family law. We have a family law practice which handles court applications for adoption of children.
In Malaysia, adoptions may be effected the Adoption Act 1952 (through a court order for adoption) and Registration of Adoptions Act 1952 (through de facto adoption with JPN procedures).
Below are some questions and answers about adoption of children.
Q: Who can apply for adoption of children in Malaysia?
A: The person(s) who can apply for adoption of children in a court of Malaysia is defined in section 4 of the Adoption Act 1952. There are three catogories.
First category: one or more of the applicant(s) for adoption of children must be:
- at least 25 years old, and
- at least 21 years older than the child.
If there are special circumstances, the above can be relaxed.
Second category: one or more of the applicants is aged 21 years or more, and is a relative of the child.
Third category: one of the applicant(s) is the mother or father of the child.
Generally, if the child is a female, the adoptive parent cannot be a single male, unless there are special circumstances which the court can accept.
When an applicant is not normally residing in Malaysia, he or she cannot apply for an adoption order. This also applies when the child is not normally residing in Malaysia.
For an adoption order to be given by the court, the child must have lived with the adoptive parent(s) for at least three (3) consecutive months before the order was given.
Further, the applicant must inform the Social Welfare Department of the adoption application at least three months before the adoption order can be granted.
Q: Who can apply for adoption of children?
A: Thus, when applying for adoption of children, under the Adoption Act 1952, an applicant may be:
- the father or mother of the child; or
- a relative of the child; or
- may be unrelated at all.
The word “child” is described in section 2 of the Adoption Act 1952 to mean: “an unmarried person under the age of twenty-one and includes a female under that age who has been divorced.”
Q: How can I go about applying for adoption of a child?
A: You may contact a law firm that practices family law (such as ours) to assist you in making such an application. Section 3(1) of the Adoption Act 1952 states that in cases for adoption of children, the power to grant the adoption order lies with the family court.
An application for adoption of children may be made by two spouses, jointly.
An father or mother of a child may also apply for adoption of his/her child, alone or with the support of his/her spouse.
Q: What is the legal effect of adoption of children?
A: The natural parents of the child will lose their natural parental rights (section 6(a) of the Adoption Act 1952).
Further, section 9 specifically lays out in detail the effects of the adoption order.
After an adoption order is made, the person applying for the adoption will get all the rights and obligations of the natural parent, or guardian of the child. The adoptive parent(s) must bear all the duties for the upkeep and education of the child. The adoptive parent(s) will be able to decide on the well being of the child, the future of the child, and even the marriage of the child.
At the same time, the natural parent(s) will lose all his/her rights to have any say over the child’s life.
In cases of adoption of children, the adoptive parent(s) will be treated henceforth as the lawful parent(s) of the child, and the child will be treated as the lawful child of the adoptive parent(s).
If an adoptive parent dies without a will, the adopted child will inherit from the adoptive parent. If the adopted child dies without a will, the adoptive parent(s) will inherit from the adopted child.
We hope that this has helped you understand adoption of children in Malaysia a little bit better.