This website is for use by legal professionals (lawyers and law practices) only. If the information is used incorrectly, you could risk losing money or your legal rights. If you are a member of the public looking for free advice about your legal problems please visit, or contact our Legal Help advice line on 1300 792 387, Monday to Friday from 8 am to 6 pm. 

If you decide to use or rely on the information or make decisions based on the information in this website (which VLA does not recommend) VLA is not liable to you or any third party in any way for any loss, damage, costs or expenses you or they may suffer or incur as a result.

What is adoption?

Adoption happens when the legal and social responsibility for a child is transferred to a family when that child cannot be cared for by their own birth family or by their extended family.

Adoption orders are made by the Supreme Court (or by the County Court if the applicant agrees to this). In practice, most adoption hearings take place in the County Court.

Children may also be cared for by others through court orders other than adoption, such as Permanent care orders or Parenting orders. Both of these kinds of orders are more common than adoptions in Victoria.

After an adoption order is made, the birth parents no longer have any legal rights over the child and the adopted child becomes a full member of the adopting family, although the order may include some ongoing contact between the child and the birth parents.

The child will generally be given the same surname and will have the same rights of inheritance as a child that had been born into that family. The child will also get a new birth certificate.

More information


Adoption Act 1984 (Vic)

See Adoption Act 1984 (Vic).