Single men are allowed to adopt children

Adoption process

General information

An adopted child can be adopted by a married couple, an individual or a registered partner. The adoptive parent takes the place of the corresponding birth parent.

The fitness the adopter to take in an adopted child is examined in detail by the youth department of the respective district administration, the magistrate and in Vienna by the youth and family office

Due to the great interest in adoptions, applicants must have a waiting period Expect at least two to three years. Individuals and couples with biological children generally have a lower chance of having an adoptive child. If the birth parents of the child have died, relatives of the deceased have a better chance of being able to adopt the child.

Note

Further information on international adoption can also be found at oesterreich.gv.at.

requirements

  • An unconditional prerequisite for the approval of the adoption is the well-founded prospect or the fact that a relationship corresponding to the relationship between biological parents and children is to be established or already exists between the adoptive child and the adoptive child. The adoption must serve the well-being of the child who is not self-sufficient. In the case of independent (= adult) children, however, there must be a close parent-child relationship. This can be assumed above all if the adoptive child and the adoptive person either lived in the same household for five years or provided each other in a similarly close community. However, this period of time only serves as a guideline.
  • There must be no conflicting "overriding concern" of a biological child of the adopting person (e.g. endangerment of maintenance or upbringing of biological children). The economic interests of biological children (e.g. lowering the inheritance quota) are generally not taken into account.
  • Minimum age of adoptive parents:
    The adopters, i.e. the adoptive parents, must be at least 25 years old.
  • Maximum age of adoptive parents:
    The maximum age is not set by law.
  • Age difference:
    The adopter must be older than the adoptive child.
  • Marital status:
    As a rule, spouses / registered partners can only adopt one adoptive child together. Individual exceptions are regulated by law. In unmarried partnerships, however, the child can only be adopted by one parent. In principle, single people are also allowed to adopt a child. More information on stepchild adoption can also be found at oesterreich.gv.at.
  • Both future adoptive parents must consent to the adoption.
  • Personal, social, health and economic framework conditions have to be right.

Competent authority

How to proceed when adopting a child:

Adoptions may only be arranged by child and youth welfare agencies, formerly known as youth welfare agencies, or by recognized private agencies that are approved for adoption mediation in the respective federal state. Information (also on private adoption agencies) is available from the respective child and youth welfare agency.

The collection of a fee for the mediation is not permitted!

You should be careful with supposedly quick and unbureaucratic help from private intermediaries at home or abroad!

Procedure

An adoption comes about through a written contract between the adoptive parents and the adoptive child, which has yet to be approved by the court.

The Adoption contract becomes only with judicial approval effective. The decision on the approval of the adoption contract is made by the competent local guardianship court (district court (→ BMJ) at the child's place of residence). Before the decision is made, the court (→ BMJ) has to examine all the requirements for adoption and also hold hearings.

The approval of the adoption contract by the court (→ BMJ) can only be granted if the following persons agree to the adoption:

  • The parents of the adopted minor child
  • The spouse of the adopter or the registered partner of the adopter
  • If applicable, the spouse of the (married) adoptive child or the registered partner of the adoptive child
  • The adult elective child incapable of making a decision
  • The legal representative of the minor of the chosen child

Note

Also underage mothers have the right to consent to the adoption of their child and cannot be forced to give up adoption.

Have the right to be heard in the licensing procedure in court (→ BMJ):

  • The adopted minor child who is incapable of making a decision
  • The parents of the adopted child of legal age
  • The child and youth welfare agency
  • If necessary, the foster parents or the head of the home in which the adopted child is staying

In the case of approval by the court (→ BMJ), the adoption begins to become effective at the time of the contractual agreement of intent (conclusion of contract).

The judicial approval can be revoked ex officio or at the request of a party to the contract only for a few reasons listed conclusively in the law with retroactive effect (e.g. if the adoption was concluded with the primary intention of enabling the adoptive child to use the surname of an adoptive parent) or be canceled (e.g. if the maintenance of the electoral childship would seriously endanger the well-being of the electoral child who is not self-sufficient).

Required documents

The adoption of a child comes about through a written contract between the adoptive child and the adoptive child and through judicial approval upon application by one of the parties to the contract. If the adoptive child does not have the right to do so, the contract is concluded by his / her legal representative.

  • Notarized copies of the most recent date from the birth register with regard to the adoptive child, birth parents and adoptive parents
  • If necessary, marriage certificates, more recently certified copies of the most recent date from the marriage register with regard to the birth parents and the adoptive parents
  • Confirmation of the registration of the birth parents and the adoptive parents
  • Proof of citizenship of the adoptive child, birth parents and adoptive parents
  • Declarations of consent from birth parents and future siblings (if available)
  • Power of attorney from birth parents
  • If applicable, proof of the academic degree of the adoptive child, the birth parents or the adoptive parents

Upon request, the submission of the confirmation of the report can be replaced by querying the authority in the Central Resident Register (ZMR).

Additional Information

Links to advice centers and further information can also be found at oesterreich.gv.at.

Legal bases

§§ 191 - 203 General Civil Code (ABGB)

Last updated: January 25, 2021

Responsible for the content: Federal Ministry of Justice