Can a divorced man adopt a child in India?

In this article, we will answer the following question: Can a divorced man adopt a child in India? We will talk about the requirements and legal regulations for adopting a child in India, but also the conventions regarding international adoptions.

Can a divorced man adopt a child in India?

Yes, a divorced or widowed man can adopt a child in India, as per The Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act, 1956 (HAMA).

This Act covers Hindus, Buddhists, Jains or Sikhs. Some relevant parts of the Act are:

  • Married couples or single adults can adopt;
  • Legally the man adopts with the consent of his wife;
  • A single man or woman can adopt;
  • If a biological child already exists in the family, a child of the opposite sex has to be adopted;
  • Children adopted under this Act get the same legal rights as a biological child might;
  • Children under the age of 15 years can be adopted;
  • A single man adopting a girl should be at least 21 years older than the child;
  • A single woman adopting a boy should be at least 21 years older than the child; and
  • Adoption under this act is irrevocable.

Who can adopt in India? Additional Eligibility Criteria

As per Juvenile Justice (Care & Protection of Children) Act 2000 as amended from time to time, the court may allow a child to be given in adoption:

  • to a person irrespective of marital status; or
  • to parents to adopt a child of the same sex irrespective of the number of living biological sons or daughters, or
  • to a childless couple.

Additional criteria:

  • 2 years of stable relationship in case PAPs are married
  • To adopt children in the age group of 0-3 years, the maximum composite age of the PAPs should be 90 years wherein the individual age of the PAPs should not be less than 25 years and more than 50 years.

Legal Requirements to adopt in India

The current legislation in India based on which adoptions are made:

  • Law of 1890 on guardianship.
  • Decree on Guardianship and Adoption of 1956.
  •  Decree of the Supreme Court of India of February 6, 1984, regarding the principles that should govern adoption.
  • Law on Child Care and Protection of 2006.
  • Guidelines of the Indian Ministry of Social Affairs concerning internal and international adoption from 2004 and 2006, which are currently being revised.

 Requirements regarding adopters

  •  Married couples with 2 years of stable marriage and with age and situation, both economic and health, adequate to support a child.
  • The age of neither of the prospective parents can be under 25 years old or exceed 55 years old.
  •  Single people up to 45 years of age to adopt a minor with an age range between 0 and 3 years, and 50 years to adopt a minor from 3 years old.
  • The age difference between the adoptive parents and the minor must be 21 years or older.
  • Same-sex couples cannot adopt. 

Requirements related to the adoptee

  •  A child is adoptable if there is a delivery document from her biological parents. In the case of abandoned children, there must be a certificate of adaptability issued by the Childhood and Social Security Committee. Siblings cannot be separated.
  • There must be a Certificate for International adoption issued by the Adoption Coordination Agency indicating that no national adoptive parents have been found in 30 days.
  • The child must be under 12 years old.
  •  Children over 7 years old must give their consent.

Requirements relating to intermediation

The process of applying for adoption must be carried out through accredited private bodies in conjunction with local authorities.

Types of adoption in India

The decision taken by the local authorities is a judicial decision of guardianship for adoption in the receiving country. The adoption must be completed in the receiving country within two years of the court decision.

A full adoption:

  • Creates ties of filiation between adopter and adoptee similar to those produced by nature.
  • It extinguishes the pre-existing ties of filiation with the biological family. 
  • It is irrevocable.

The process of adoption in India

According to the Hague Convention of May 29, 1993, the file must be sent to the Central Authority of India.

 The adoption request must be accompanied by the following documents:

  • Certificate of suitability.
  • Psychosocial reports.
  • Recent photographs of applicants.
  • Birth certificate.
  • Marriage certificate, if applicable.
  • Declaration regarding the health of the applicants.
  • Medical certificate.
  • Declaration regarding the economic situation of the applicants accompanied by supporting documents.
  • Employment Certification.
  • Statement of income.
  • Bank references.
  • Applicant property data.
  • Declaration of the applicants stating their intention to obtain guardianship of the child.
  • Documents from the competent body committing that the child will be legally adopted, following the laws of the receiving country, within a period not exceeding two years from the time of the child’s arrival.
  • A document by which the applicants undertake that the adopted child receives the necessary schooling and education appropriate to the status of the adoptive parents.
  • Commitment to monitoring the child’s adaptation, sending reports quarterly for the first two years and every 6 months for the next three.
  • Power of attorney of the applicants in favour of the officials of the social or child welfare agency of India, which will be required for the processing of the file.
  • Document from the competent body by which it undertakes, in the event of a breakdown of the adoptive family, before the legal adoption takes place, to take care of the child and to find an appropriate alternative placement with the approval of the Central Agency for Resources for Adoption.
  • Document according to which the Mediating Entity undertakes to reimburse the corresponding Indian welfare agency, as established by the competent Court, all expenses generated by the maintenance of the child and by the process.

All documents must be translated into English, legalized and authenticated.

Requirements for the international adoption process

More and more couples choose to adopt minors of foreign origin since in most cases the waiting periods are shorter than if they were to do so in their country.

To know if you are suitable or not to carry out the procedures of international adoption, you must bear in mind the common requirements:

  • Be over 25 years old. In the adoption by both spouses, it is enough that one of them has reached the mentioned age.
  • Be at least 14 years older than the person adopted. 
  • Having been declared suitable for the exercise of parental authority by the competent public entity.

As for advice, if you are considering international adoption, it is recommended that you contact a family lawyer in your city, who will give you all the necessary details to begin the procedure and will guide you through it.

On the path of adoption you have to be patient but above all to have a lot of enthusiasm since it is a long process and sometimes there are unexpected delays. There is a significant disproportion between the number of international adoptions that are finalized and the number of applications made.

What children can be adopted internationally? 

  • Children with an average age of 7 years.
  • Groups of siblings.
  • Children under 5 years of age with physical health problems or members of a group of siblings.
  • Victims of serious rights violations.
  • Victims of progressive abandonment and long institutionalization time.
  • With disorders in the behavioural and socio-affective field (with or without drug treatment).
  • With attachment disorders.
  • With morbid family antecedents such as intellectual limitations, psychiatric or personality disorders, drug and/or alcohol consumption, among others.

The adoption process for a married couple living abroad

The application process for a married couple living abroad begins when the public Central Authority or the accredited foreign body sends the application form and documents that the legal regulations require.

The documentation contained in the file is reviewed and analyzed by a psychosocial and legal team, to determine its suitability. If there are no legal and/or technical objections, they are entered into a Foreign Marriage Registry, remaining on the waiting list for the assignment of a child, according to their expectations and parental skills.

If any objection is found in the documentation, the applicants are informed through a letter addressed to the body that represents them, waiting for it to be corrected to proceed to enter them into the registry.

If the application is rejected, it is communicated through a letter addressed to the institution that sponsors the application of the marriage, informing in detail the legal and/or technical reasons that make the application unfeasible.

After selecting a family that meets the appropriate profile to assume the adoptive parenting of a child who hopes to be adopted by a family residing abroad, an assignment proposal is made, through which the sponsoring foreign body is formally notified. For this purpose, the most relevant background of the child is attached to this assignment, which allows the family to decide if they have the capacities to assume it or not.

If the assignment is accepted, the Central Authority of the offering country issues a document confirming their consent and, subsequently, the marriage documentation and the child’s background are sent to the region where the child resides, to start the adoption process.


In this article, we answered the following question: Can a divorced man adopt a child in India? We talked about the requirements and legal regulations for adopting a child in India, but also the conventions regarding international adoptions.

To summarize, yes, a divorced man can adopt a child in India, however, there are certain requirements that he must comply with. To remind you, a single man adopting a girl should be at least 21 years older than the child and adoption is irrevocable.

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FAQ on Can a divorced man adopt a child in India?

Can a divorced woman adopt a child in India?

Yes, a divorced woman can adopt a child in India. However, she must be 21 years older than the child she is willing to adopt, and she also must be found fit to adopt by a court. 

Can a single man adopt a child in India?

Yes, a single man can adopt a child in India, however, he should be at least 21 years older than the child and adoption is irrevocable.

What is the maximum age to adopt a child in India?

The maximum age to adopt a child in India is 45 years to adopt children in the age group of 0-3 years and 50 years for adopting children above 3 years.

How much does it cost to adopt a child in India?

The cost to adopt a child in India is between $30,000 and $40,000, although the price may vary depending on your travel expenses, the rate of your lawyer and other unpredictable fees.


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