​​​This section provides a summary of the procedures for filing an application for adoption of a child through a document called an Originating Summons for adoption (OSA), the Adoption Statement (AS) and related applications at the Family Justice Courts. This section illustrates the general procedural guidelines and is not intended to be an exhaustive list of all the procedural issues which may arise in adoption proceedings.

 

The information provided below is general in nature and is not intended as legal advice. The Family Justice Courts cannot provide legal advice or assist with drafting the contents of any document.  

 

References to legislation

 

 


 

You are responsible for ensuring that the OSA, AS and any document required to be filed are in compliance with the Adoption of Children Act (Cap 4) ("the Act"), the relevant Family Justice Rules and the relevant Practice Directions ("the PD").

Finally, substantive issues arising in adoptions proceedings are beyond the scope of this section, which focuses only on uncontested adoption proceedings.

 


 

Adoption Workflow

The following diagram sets out the case-flow for adoption proceedings, from the time the OSA is filed, to the time of the final hearing of the OSA.

 

Case flow for Adoption Proceedings
 


 

What documents do I need to bring to commence the adoption proceedings?

a) Originating Summons for Adoption ("OSA") (see Form 37 of Appendix A of the PD)

b) Adoption Statement ("AS") (see Form 38 of Appendix A of the PD)

c) Affidavit verifiying and exhibiting the auto-generated AS (to be filed together with the OSA and AS)

d) Birth Certificate of the child (to be submitted to court with cover letter in Form 210 of Appendix A of the PD at least 7 clear days before hearing to appoint GIA)

e) Consent

Either:

(i) Consent of

  • Natural parent(s) of child
  • Guardian of child
  • Person liable to contribute to the support of the infant
  • Natural maternal and paternal grandparents of the child, where the natural parent(s) are below 21 years of age (see Form 39 of Appendix A of the PD)

Or

(ii) Application for dispensation of consent on the relevant person(s). This is filed as one of the prayers in the OSA and not by way of a separate summons (see paragraph 29(1) of the PD);

 

f) Application for dispensation of or substituted service of OSA and other documents (if applicable). This is filed as one of the prayers in the OSA and not by way of a separate summons (see paragraph 29 generally of the PD).

 


 

a) Service of the OSA and related documents

Personal service of the OSA and related documents on ALL the relevant persons must be effected. If not, an application for dispensation of service or substituted service on the relevant person(s) must be filed. You should note that the requirements for applications for substituted service or dispensation of service for divorce writs (see paragraph 79 of PD) are applicable to applications for dispensation of or substituted service in adoptions proceedings. This means that:

a)    At least 2 recent attempts at personal service should be made at the last known address (if any) of the relevant person
b)    If there is no response for both attempts at personal service, and you are not able to establish that the relevant person is residing at a particular address (for example, by stating that the applicants are residing at the same address as the relevant person and see him every day), then you should make attempts to locate the relevant person by contacting his relatives, friends, employer(s) (if any), in order to discover the address at which the relevant person is currently residing.
c)    Full details of your attempts to locate the relevant person and other details must be set out in the Affidavit.

Note:

In cases where the natural father’s identity is unknown, you do not need to file an application for dispensation of service of the OSA and related documents on the natural father.

In cases where the natural parents / natural grandparents are deceased, you do not need to apply for the dispensation of their consent and service of documents on them.

If the natural father refuses to accept the child as his child, he must nonetheless be served with the applications for dispensation of substituted service as well as for dispensation of consent. 

 

Filing of Documents and Amendments

Filing the consent of the Guardian in Adoptions ("GIA")
You are required to file the written consent of the GIA into court at least 7 clear days prior to the hearing date of the prayer for the appointment of the guardian in Adoptions (see paragraph 30(2) of the PD).
        

Filing of the Request For Further Hearing of Originating Summons and the affidavit of the GIA

Once the applicant(s) counsel receives the affidavit from the GIA, he shall file the Request For Further Hearing of Originating Summons and the affidavit in Court. A hearing date will be given within 3 weeks of the filing of the said Request.

Before the hearing date, check that the child's Dependant's Pass (if any) is still valid. If the pass has expired, the applicant(s) is required to file an affidavit exhibiting the renewed Dependant's Pass.

 

Amendment of OSA (see paragraph 28 of the PD)

You are required to file a summons supported by affidavit to amend the OSA. The summons will be fixed for hearing within 3 weeks of the filing of the summons.

If the application is granted by the court, the amended OSA must be filed within 14 days, or you will have to apply for an extension of time to file the amended documents. You do not need to extract the order granting leave to amend.

Amendment of AS (see paragraph 28 of the PD)

Leave is not required to amend the AS as it is not a pleading.

The AS may be amended by changing the information in the appropriate electronic template. The eLitigation system will then auto-generate the amended Statement.

Within 7 days of amending the AS, the applicant(s) shall file an affidavit exhibiting the amended Statement, stating that "the amended Statement exhibited therein is the same Statement generated by the eLitigation, and the contents entered into the eLitigation, and which now appear in the amended Statement are true and accurate". The affidavit shall also state the grounds for the amendment and exhibit the auto-generated amended AS and all documents necessary for proving the averments in the affidavit. The affidavit and the amended AS shall be served on the GIA within 7 days of filing of the affidavit.

 

Amendment of Adoptions Order and Schedule

You are required to file a summons supported by affidavit to amend the Adoptions Order and/or Schedule to the Adoption Order. The summons will be fixed for hearing.

The Court may allow the amendments of the errors. This is because once an adoptions order is made, the Court is functus officio (retains no legal authority because its duties and functions have been completed).

 

b) Adoption Statement (“AS”)            


In addition to the OSA, you must fill up the Adoption Statement (“AS”) in Form 38 of Appendix A of the PD. It is important that all relevant and mandatory fields in the template are filled in accurately. This is because the information required by the Schedule to the Adoption Order will be taken from this template.


You would need to ensure the accuracy of information set out in the AS and the Schedule by checking the details against ALL available documentation, in particular:

 

a)    Passport of the applicant(s), the child, and the natural parent(s);

b)    Identity card of the applicant(s), the child (if applicable) and the natural parent(s);

c)    Marriage Certificate (in the case of joint applicants); and

d)    Birth Certificate (of the child).


It is absolutely vital that all these details are correct, as when issuing the new birth certificate after the adoptions order is made, the Registry of Births will check the said details in the originating summons against those in the Schedule, and that the details in both these documents are consistent with all the available documentation.


The applicants’ particulars which must be double-checked are:

  • Names;
  • ID numbers;
  • Addresses;
  • Date of birth/country of birth;
  • Occupation;
  • Race/Dialect;
  • Religion; and
  • Nationality

 The child’s particulars which must be double-checked are:

  • Name(s) (the child’s original name(s), as they appear in the birth certificate/passport/other available documents);
  • Birth certificate/passport/ID number;
  • Address;
  • Date of birth; and
  • Place of birth
  • Gender

 The natural parents’ particulars which must be double-checked are:

  • Names (the names of the natural parents should be exactly the same as in the birth certificate of the child);
  • NRIC numbers4;
  • Addresses; and
  • Nationality

It is important to state in paragraph 6 (l) of the Statement that the applicants have been supporting the child. A common error is to state that the applicants have not been supporting the child.

 

If the natural father’s particulars are known, it is necessary to include this in paragraph 8(c) of the AS even if those particulars do not appear in the Child's birth certificate. It is also necessary to obtain his written consent to the adoption in the prescribed form.

 

Once the electronic template has been filled up, the e-Litigation will auto-generate the Statement.

 

 

 

c) Filing the affidavit

 

At the time of the filing of the OSA, you are required to file an affidavit which shall contain the following:-

  • A paragraph that states that “the Statement exhibited therein is the same Statement auto-generated by the e-Litigation, and the contents entered into the e-Litigation, and which now appear in the Statement are true and accurate”;
  • The auto-generated Statement labelled as the first exhibit;
  • A copy of the birth certificate and a copy of the certified translation (if the birth certificate is in a foreign language) or other means of identification of the infant;
  • The dependant’s pass of the infant (if the child is not a Singapore citizen);
  • A letter from Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) which states that it has no objection to the adoptions where the child, although born in Singapore is not a citizen of Singapore; or confirming that the department will grant an in-principle approval for an adoptions application (if the child is a citizen of a foreign country);
  • The identity card or other means of identification of the applicant(s);
  • The marriage certificate of the applicant(s), if applicable;
  • The consents of the natural parent(s) and natural grandparent(s), where applicable. The consent of every person, whose consent is necessary, is required to be filed in prescribed Form;
  • Foreign adoptions order (if applicable);
  • Foreign divorce order (if applicable) in respect of the natural parents (in order for the court to ascertain the legal rights of the divorced natural father in relation to the child);
  • The grounds in support of the prayer for dispensation of consent and service of documents on the natural parent(s) and/or grandparent(s); and
  • All other documents for proving the averments in the application for an adoptions order.

If your name or the child’s name in one document is different from your name or the child’s name as set out in another document, the applicant must:

             

a)   Explain the discrepancy in the Affidavit in Support of OSA if the discrepancy appears to be more than a typographical error or a difference in the order in which the person’s various names are written5; and

b)   Set out all the different names in the OSA as aliases, for example: John [email protected] Ah [email protected] [email protected] Ah Kow, [email protected] Ah Kow John@ John Tan Ah Kow

 

Note:

Even a discrepancy in one letter, the appearance or absence of a comma, or a discrepancy in the spacing between the different names (e.g. Tan Ah Kow and Tan AhKow) is significant. This discrepancy must be dealt with in both the Schedule and the OSA by setting out all the variations of the name in the said documents.


You should take note of the following:

 


      a)    Child’s dependent’s pass

           

                 i.       The child’s dependent’s pass will appear as a stamp on one of the pages of the child’s passport. Exhibiting any other identity card or pass of the child will not suffice.

 

                ii.       A social visit pass, student’s pass, disembarkation card, or any other pass for the child will not suffice. 6

               iii.       The child’s dependent’s pass must be valid for a time beyond the date of the next hearing. If it is not, the applicants must apply to ICA for the dependent’s pass to be extended. A copy of the child’s extended Dependant’s Pass must be exhibited in an affidavit for the Court’s perusal.

 

b)    Child with no nationality but is born in Singapore

 

If the child is born in Singapore but is not a Singapore citizen, nor a citizen of any other country, then a letter from ICA is necessary to state that they have no objections to the adoptions. It will not be necessary, however, to obtain a dependent’s pass for the child.

 

      c) Foreign applicants 

                i.         If the applicants are not Singapore citizens or permanent residents, their work permits/employment passes and/or dependent’s passes must be exhibited in the Affidavit. Ensure that the photocopies of the documents are in a light tone without dark smudges. Otherwise the documents will become illegible when scanned into the eLitigation system. If the documents are illegible, the applicant(s) will be required to file a supplementary affidavit to exhibit clear copies of the documents.

              ii.          If one of the parties is not a Singapore citizen or permanent resident and does not have a work permit, employment pass or dependent’s pass, the Affidavit should state the basis on which that party considers himself resident in Singapore7 (for example, the party is in the process of applying for permanent residency in Singapore, has lived here for a number of years, and will be doing so for the foreseeable future).

             iii.          The child’s dependent’s pass must be valid for a time beyond the date of the next hearing. If it is not, the applicants must apply to ICA for the dependent’s pass to be extended. A copy of the child’s extended Dependant’s Pass must be exhibited in an affidavit for the Court’s perusal.

 

 

 

d) Filing of Child’s Birth Certificate

The original birth certificate and the original translation of the birth certificate (if any) of the infant shall be submitted to the Adoptions Counter of the Family Registry at least 7 clear days prior to the hearing of the prayer for the appointment of the guardian in adoptions. The said documents are to be sent under the cover of a letter in the prescribed format.           


If the child does not have an original birth certificate, the applicant(s) has to explain in an affidavit why this is so and why they are unable to obtain a certified true copy of the same.

 

 


e) Consent


Consent of ALL the relevant persons must be obtained. If not, an application for dispensation of consent must be filed. The application for dispensation of consent must be personally served on the relevant person(s), unless the court grants leave to dispense with service or grants substituted service of the said application.

           

Before an application for dispensation of consent of a relevant person on the basis that the person cannot be found will be granted, the applicants should make attempts to locate the relevant person. Full details of the said attempts must be set out in the Affidavit.

 

Foreign adoptions orders have no legal effect in Singapore for the purpose of adoptions proceedings. Thus, the consent of the natural mother and father of the child who has been adopted in a foreign country must be obtained. The foreign adoptions order must be exhibited in the Affidavit in Support of OSA.


If the natural father and/or natural mother is/are under 21 years old (for Singaporeans, you can check this information from the child’s original birth certificate), the consent of the parents or guardian of the natural father and the parents or guardian of the natural mother must be obtained. Please note that the consents of the natural parent(s) and the guardian(s) of the natural parent(s) must be filed separately—i.e. it will not suffice only to obtain the consent(s) of the guardian(s) of the natural parent(s) only. The consent(s) of the natural parent who is under 21 years old must also be obtained.


The consent of the relevant persons must be in the Form. If it is not in the standard form, it must be obvious from a plain reading of the consent that:

 

a)    the person consenting understands the nature and effect of the adoptions order; and

b)    if the person consenting is the parent, that the effect of the adoptions order will be permanently to deprive him or her of his or her parental rights;

c)    the person consenting understands the nature and effect of the adoptions order; and

d)    the dependant’s pass of the infant (if the child is not a Singapore citizen);

e)    if the person consenting is the parent, that the effect of the adoptions order will be permanently to deprive him or her of his or her parental rights.


The consent must be given in the prescribed standard form. If the consent is not in the standard form, then a prayer for dispensation of consent must be included in the OSA and the grounds for dispensation set out in the affidavit in support of the OSA.
The consent must be signed before a Commissioner for Oaths/Notary Public.

          

If the person signing the consent is not English-literate, the consent must be interpreted to that person in his chosen language, and an interpretation clause to state that this has been done must be set out in the consent.

 

If the identity of the natural father is unknown, the natural mother must file an affidavit stating that she is not aware of the identity of the natural father (i.e. she is not aware of which man the natural father could be and/or has no idea of the natural father’s name, even his first name), and to give brief reasons why. The fact that the natural father’s name does not appear in the birth certificate will not suffice to establish that the natural father’s identity is unknown. The natural mother must still file the affidavit to explain that she is not aware of the natural father’s identity, and why. In a situation where the natural father’s identity is unknown, there is no necessity to apply for dispensation of the natural father’s consent.


In the case of an abandoned child, the written consent of the "Protector", an authorized person of the Welfare Home / orphanage / Direct of Social Welfare, is required for the adoptions. It is also necessary to serve the documents on these persons, unless an order for the dispensation of service of documents on the said persons is obtained.


 


 


 

f) Adoption Order & Schedule


 

After the Court has granted the adoption, the Adoption Order and Schedule will be generated by the e-Litigation system. The particulars in the Adoption Schedule will be extracted from the Adoption Statement filed earlier and auto-populated into the relevant fields in the Schedule.


 

Please check that the auto-populated particulars are correct. If the natural father's or mother's particulars do not appear in the child's birth certificate, please remove the information from the schedule before extracting the Adoption Order.

 

 

 

Last updated on: 10/4/2017 6:02 PM

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