The Adoption Act

ACT OF 28 FEBRUARY 1986 NO. 8 RELATING TO ADOPTION

The Adoption Act was last amended 25th of April 2014.

Chapter 1. Conditions for adoption, etc.

 

Section 1. 

Adoption shall take place subject to an adoption order made by the Ministry. 

When the County Social Welfare Board has made a decision pursuant to section 4-20, second and third paragraphs, of the Child Welfare Act, and the decision is final, the Ministry shall issue the adoption order without examining whether the conditions laid down in the Act are met, 

The King may prescribe regulations to the effect that the public law provisions of the Act shall be made applicable to Svalbard and lay down special rules to suit local conditions. 

Section 2. 

An adoption order must only be issued when it can be assumed that the adoption will be in the best interests of the child. It is further required that the person applying for an adoption either wishes to foster or has fostered the child, or that there is another special reason for the adoption. 

Section 3. 

An adoption order may only be issued to a person who has reached 25 years of age. However, when there are strong reasons for doing so, the Ministry may issue an order to a person who has reached 20 years of age. 

An order allowing a parent to adopt his or her biological child may only be issued if such adoption will be of significance for the child’s legal status, or in the case of a new adoption of a child who has been adopted. 

Section 3 a.

In connection with the processing of an application for adoption, the Ministry shall require the presentation of an exhaustive criminal record certificate. 

Section 4. 

A person who has been declared incapable of managing his or her own affairs may only adopt with the consent of his or her guardian. 

Section 5. 

A person who is married or is a cohabitant may only adopt jointly with his or her spouse or cohabitant, unless the spouse or cohabitant is insane or mentally retarded or is missing. 

Persons other than spouses or cohabitants may not adopt jointly. 

Section 5 a.  

For the purposes of this Act, the term “cohabitants” means two persons who live together in a stable, marriage-like relationship. 

Section 5 b.

One of the spouses or cohabitants may, with the consent of the other spouse or cohabitant, adopt the latter’s child unless they are spouses or cohabitants of the same sex and the child is an adopted child originating from a foreign state that does not permit such adoption. 

One of the partners in a registered partnership may, with the consent of the other partner, adopt the latter’s child unless the child is an adopted child originating from a foreign state that does not permit such adoption. 

A divorced spouse or registered partner may, with the consent of the former spouse or registered partner, adopt the latter’s child. This only applies where one parenthood relationship has been established for the child, and this parent is divorced from the person who is applying for adoption. A corresponding right applies to cohabitants when the cohabitation relationship has been dissolved. 

A surviving spouse, registered partner or cohabitant may adopt a child of his or her former spouse, registered partner or cohabitant. This only applies when one parenthood relationship has been established for the child, and this parent is deceased. 

Section 6. 

A child who has reached 7 years of age, and younger children who are capable of forming their own opinions, shall be informed and given an opportunity to express their view before a decision is made as to whether an adoption order is to be issued. The opinion of the child is to be given due weight in accordance with the age and maturity of the child. 

A child who has reached 12 years of age may not be adopted without his or her consent. 

When requested, the municipality shall assist the authority responsible for issuing the adoption order in obtaining information regarding the case pursuant to the first paragraph and in obtaining consent pursuant to the second paragraph. 

Section 7.

A person under 18 years of age may not be adopted without the consent of the person or persons who have parental responsibility. If one of them is missing, insane or mentally retarded, the consent of the other is sufficient. If both persons are missing, insane or mentally retarded, the consent of the guardian is required. 

The parents may not give their consent until two months after the birth of the child. 

A father or mother who does not share parental responsibility shall, as far as possible, be given the opportunity to express an opinion before a decision is made. If a person other than the father or mother has been appointed guardian of the person who is to be adopted, the guardian shall also be permitted to give his opinion. 

Section 8. 

A person who has been declared incapable of managing his or her own affairs may not be adopted without the consent of his or her guardian. 

 

Section 9. 

The King may, with retroactive effect, approve an adoption order that was issued despite non-fulfilment of the conditions laid down in this Act.

 

Section 10. 

The issue of the validity of an adoption order may not be the subject of a preliminary ruling in a case concerning another issue.

 

Chapter 2.  Anonymous adoption, duty to provide information

 

Section 11. 

Section 18, first paragraph, of the Public Administration Act shall not preclude the parties in an adoption case from remaining unknown to one another (anonymous adoption). 

Section 12. 

Adoptive parents shall, as soon as is advisable, tell the adopted child that he or she is adopted. 

When the child has reached 18 years of age, he or she is entitled to be informed by the Ministry of the identity of his or her biological parents.

 

Chapter 3.  Effects of adoption, etc.

 

Section 13.

On adoption, the adopted child and his or her heirs of the body shall have the same legal status as if the adopted child had been the adoptive parents’ biological child, unless otherwise provided by section 14 or another statute. At the same time, the child’s legal relationship to his or her original family shall cease, unless otherwise provided by special statute. 

If a spouse or cohabitant has adopted a child of the other spouse or cohabitant, the said child shall have the same legal status in relation to both spouses or cohabitants as if he or she were their joint child. The same applies to children adopted pursuant to section 5 b, second, third and fourth paragraphs.

 

Section 14. 

A special provision may be made in the adoption order regarding the religious upbringing of the adopted child.

 

Section 14 a. 

Visiting access after adoption. 

In the case of adoptions carried out as a result of decisions pursuant to section 4-20 of the Child Welfare Act, the effects of the adoption that follow from section 13 of the present Act shall apply, subject to any limitations that may have been imposed by a decision pursuant to section 4-20 a of the Child Welfare Act regarding visiting access between the child and his or her biological parents. 

Section 15. 

If the child is adopted anew by any person other than the adopter’s spouse, cohabitant or registered partner, the legal effects of the first adoption shall cease in relation to the first adoptive parents and their relatives. 

Section 16. 

Note of an adoption order shall be made under the name of the adopted child in the national population register and in any other such public records as the Ministry may decide.

 

Chapter 3A.  Placement for adoption and approval of adoptive homes

 

Section 16 a. 

For the purposes of this Act, the term “placement for adoption” shall mean any activity for the purpose of creating contact between children who may be adopted and persons who wish to adopt, including any registration or investigation of persons seeking to adopt, registration of children who may be adopted or selection of parents for an individual child. 

Section 16b. 

It is prohibited for private individuals to engage in any arrangements for the placement of children for the purposes of adoption. Organizations are prohibited from engaging in such arrangements without the permission of the Ministry, cf. section 16 d. 

Any person who wilfully contravenes the prohibition set out in the first paragraph or is an accessory thereto is liable to fines or imprisonment for up to three months. An attempt shall be liable to the same penalty as a completed offence. 

Section 16c.

The Ministry will appoint a committee for the placement for adoption of children who are resident in Norway. 

The Ministry may issue further regulations regarding placement. 

Section 16d.

Organizations may be granted permission by the Ministry to arrange the placement of children from a foreign state for the purposes of adoption. Such permission shall only be granted to organizations whose main purpose is such placement. The organizations shall be operated on the basis of what are assumed to be the best interests of the child and shall not be concerned with financial gain. 

Such permission shall be granted for a limited period of time and shall specify the foreign state or states to which it applies. 

The Ministry may by regulations determine which further requirements may be imposed on the organization, its activity and its winding-up. 

The Ministry shall supervise the activity and may order the organization to rectify matters that are contrary to a statute, regulation or condition for permission. Permission may be retracted in the event of non-compliance with a statute, regulation or condition for permission. 

Section 16 e.  

A person who is resident in Norway must not adopt a child from a foreign state without the prior consent of the Ministry. 

The Ministry shall assess the applicants before consent pursuant to the first paragraph is given. When the Ministry so requests, the municipality shall assist in providing information relating to an application for prior consent pursuant to the first paragraph. 

The municipality shall also assist in providing information relating to an application for adoption after the child has arrived in Norway, so that the adoption may be carried out. 

The Ministry may make regulations prescribing further rules regarding procedure, investigation of the applicants, conditions for giving prior consent and requirements regarding the suitability of the applicants, including requirements regarding age, health, good conduct, the length of the applicants’ relationship, finances, housing and participation in courses to prepare for adoption. The Ministry may also make regulations prescribing special requirements for single applicants. 

Section 16 f. 

Adoption of children residing in a foreign state shall take place through an organization which, pursuant to section 16 d, first paragraph, has been granted permission by the Ministry to engage in such activity. 

In special cases, the Ministry may consent to the adoption of a child residing in a foreign state taking place without the agency of an approved organization. 

Chapter 4.  Issues relating to private international law

 

Section 17. 

An application for an adoption order shall be decided in Norway if the applicant is a resident of Norway, or if the Ministry consents to the case being dealt with in Norway. 

Section 18. 

The application shall be decided in accordance with Norwegian law. 

If an application is made for the adoption of a child under 18 years of age, in deciding the application importance shall be attached to whether the adoption will also be valid in any foreign state with which the applicant or the child has such a strong connection by way of residence, nationality or in any other way that it would entail considerable disadvantage to the child if the adoption were not valid there. 

Section 19. 

An adoption that has been effected and is valid in a foreign state (intercountry adoption) shall be valid in Norway, provided that when the adoption was effected, the adopter(s) was (were) resident(s) or national(s) of the foreign state in which the adoption was effected. Similar validity is also accorded to an adoption that has been effected in a state other than the aforementioned, provided that the adoption is recognized in the state in which the adopter(s) resided at the time of the adoption. 

However, an adoption of a child who was under 18 years of age and resident in Norway at the time of the adoption shall not be valid in Norway unless the Ministry has consented to the adoption. 

In individual cases, the Ministry may decide whether an intercountry adoption is valid in Norway pursuant to the provisions of the first paragraph. The Ministry may recognize an intercountry adoption that is not covered by the first paragraph. 

A foreign decision concerning the annulment of an adoption in a case in which one of the adoptive parents or the adopted child is resident in Norway at the time of the annulment shall not be valid in Norway unless the Ministry consents to the annulment. 

Section 20. 

An intercountry adoption shall not be valid in Norway if it would obviously be contrary to Norwegian public policy (ordre public). 

Section 21. 

When an intercountry adoption is valid in Norway, the adopted child shall be regarded as the adopter’s(s’) own child in respect of guardianship, parental responsibility and the duty of maintenance. 

As regards the right to inherit on the basis of an intercountry adoption, the law that otherwise applies to the right to inherit from the deceased (the inheritance statute) shall apply, regardless of which state’s law the adoption decision is based on. 

Section 22. 

When consent has been given pursuant to section 16e, the intercountry adoption shall be valid in Norway. The Ministry may decide that it shall have the same legal effect as a Norwegian adoption.

Section 23. 

The King may by regulations authorize departures from the provisions of sections 17 to 22 above if this is necessary in order to fulfil Norway’s obligations pursuant to an agreement with a foreign state. 

Chapter 5.  Commencement, amendments to other Acts, etc.

 

Section 24. 

This Act shall enter into force on the date the King decides. 

From the date this Act enters into force, … shall be repealed. 

From the same date, the following amendments shall be made to other Acts: 

Section 25. 

The provisions of this Act shall also apply to adoptive relationships established before the Act entered into force. However, for adoptive relationships established before 1 July 1957 this shall only be the case when they are based on section 15b of Act of 2 April 1917 No. 1 relating to adoption, as it read after its amendment by Act of 24 May 1935 No. 2.