Navigating Family Law in the Philippines: What You Need to Know About Adoption in the Philippines

Adoption is a legal process where an individual or couple assumes the parental responsibilities of a child who is not biologically theirs. In the Philippines, adoption is governed by the Family Code of the Philippines and Republic Act No. 8552, also known as the Domestic Adoption Act of 1998. Understanding family law in the Philippines, particularly on adoption, is crucial to ensure that the process is carried out correctly and that the welfare of the child is protected.

Who Can Adopt and Who Can Be Adopted?

Qualifications for Adopter

Adoption in the Philippines is open to any Filipino citizen who is at least 27 years old, of good moral character, emotionally and psychologically capable of caring for children and has not been convicted of any crime involving moral turpitude. The adopter must also have the capacity to support and provide for the needs of the child to be adopted.

Qualifications for Adoptee

A person below 18 years of age who has been declared legally available for adoption or a person above 18 but is incapable of taking care of himself/herself due to physical or mental disability may be adopted in the Philippines.

The Adoption Process

Filing of Petition for Adoption: The first step in the adoption process is the filing of a petition for adoption with the Regional Trial Court (RTC) having jurisdiction over the place where the adopter resides or where the child to be adopted resides.

Hearing and Trial Custody Period: The court will then issue an order setting the case for hearing. The adopter and the child to be adopted will undergo a six-month trial custody period. During this period, the social worker assigned to the case will monitor the welfare of the child and assess the suitability of the adopter.

Social Worker's Report: After the trial custody period, the social worker assigned to the case will submit a report to the court regarding the suitability of the adopter and the welfare of the child. The report will also include the circumstances surrounding the child's placement in a child-caring institution, foster home, or with any person other than the biological parent.

Issuance of Adoption Order: The court will then issue an order granting the adoption if it is deemed to be in the best interests of the child.

Required Documents for Adoption

To start the adoption process, there are specific documents that you need to prepare. These documents are crucial for the court to determine your eligibility to adopt a child in the Philippines.

Birth Certificate of the Adopter: The birth certificate is a primary document that verifies your identity and age. You need to provide an original or certified true copy of your birth certificate issued by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).

Marriage Certificate (if applicable): If you're married, you need to present your marriage certificate as proof of your marital status. This document also verifies if you have the capacity to adopt a child.

Certificate of No Marriage (CENOMAR): A Certificate of No Marriage or CENOMAR is a document issued by the PSA that states that the adopter is not legally married or has no pending marriage application. It is necessary to secure this document to ensure that the adopter is qualified to adopt a child.

NBI Clearance or Police Clearance: An NBI clearance or police clearance is required to certify that the adopter has no criminal record or pending criminal cases. This document also confirms the adopter's good moral character.

Income Tax Return or Certificate of Employment: The adopter needs to provide an income tax return or certificate of employment to prove that he/she has the capacity to support the needs of the child. This document also verifies the adopter's financial stability.

Medical Certificate: The adopter needs to submit a medical certificate from a licensed physician stating that he/she is physically and mentally fit to adopt a child. This document is necessary to ensure that the adopter is capable of taking care of a child.

Home Study Report: A home study report is an evaluation conducted by a licensed social worker to assess the adopter's capacity to adopt a child. It also includes a report on the adopter's family background, living conditions, and other relevant information that may affect the child's welfare.

Written Consent of the Child: If the child to be adopted is 10 years old or above, he/she needs to provide written consent to the adoption. The child's consent is necessary to ensure that he/she is aware of and agrees to the adoption process.

Foreigner Adoption in the Philippines

Foreigners who wish to adopt a Filipino child need to comply with the following requirements:

Residency Requirement

A foreigner who wishes to adopt a Filipino child should have been residing in the Philippines for at least three continuous years before filing the petition for adoption. The foreigner should also maintain such residence until the adoption decree is entered.

Diplomatic Relations between Countries

The Philippines only allows foreign adoption from countries with diplomatic relations with the Philippines. This means that if a foreigner comes from a country without diplomatic relations with the Philippines, he/she cannot adopt a Filipino child.

Effects of Adoption

Adoption has various effects on both the adopter and the adoptee. Once the adoption order is granted, the adopter and the adopted child are bound by law, and the child will acquire the same rights and obligations as a legitimate child. The following are the effects of adoption in the Philippines:

Legitimacy of Adopted Child

The adopted child shall be deemed a legitimate child of the adopter and shall have the same rights and obligations as a legitimate child, including the right to use the surname of the adopter. The adopted child shall be entitled to all the benefits provided by law to legitimate children, such as support, inheritance, and other legal rights.

Parental Authority of Adopter

The adopter shall have the same rights and obligations as biological parents, including parental authority over the adopted child. This means that the adopter has the responsibility to care for and protect the child, provide for the child's basic needs, education, and well-being, and make decisions that are in the best interest of the child.

Support, Education, and Other Needs

The adopter is responsible for the support, education, and all other needs of the adopted child. The adopter is required to provide for the child's basic necessities, such as food, shelter, and clothing, as well as education, medical care, and other expenses necessary for the child's well-being.

Revocation of Adoption

Adoption is generally considered irrevocable in the Philippines, meaning that it cannot be undone or canceled. However, there is an exception to this rule, which is when the adopter and the adopted person are related by consanguinity within the fourth degree. In such cases, the adoption may be revoked upon the petition of the adopter or adopted person.


Adoption is a legal process that involves various requirements and procedures that must be carefully followed. It is essential to understand the Philippine family law on adoption to ensure that all legal requirements are met and that the welfare of the child is protected. Seeking the assistance of a lawyer is advisable to ensure that the adoption process goes smoothly and that all legal matters are appropriately handled. Remember that adoption is a lifelong commitment, and it is essential to consider all aspects before deciding to adopt a child.

Pinoy Attorney

Written by : Pinoy Attorney