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Civil Code Bill proposes age limit for adoption

The Civil Code Bill recently passed by the Parliament has proposed eligibility criteria for a person or a couple intending to adopt a child.

According to the bill, any couple who does not have child even 10 years after their marriage, an unmarried man or woman, widow or widower, and a divorced man or woman who has attained 45 years of age and cannot have a child may adopt a son or daughter by fulfilling the legal criteria.

The age difference between a person desirous of adopting a child and adoptee should be no less than 25 years.

“Notwithstanding provisions contained in the law, there shall be no age bar while adopting a son or daughter who has a three generational relationship with the adopter,” says the bill.

A person or couple shall not be allowed to adopt a child who has attained 14 years of age, is the only child of biological parents and has already been adopted as a son or daughter. Similarly, the bill restricts adoption of a non-Nepali as a son or daughter.

“However, these provisions shall not be applicable in the case of a non-resident Nepali, who has obtained citizenship of a foreign country,” the bill reads.

The rights, duties and responsibilities of adopted child will be equal to a son or daughter of the adopter, and he or she will not be permitted to claim property of his/her biological father or mother after being adopted by others.

Any person who is mentally unsound, has been convicted by the court in a criminal offence involving moral turpitude and does not have financial capacity to care for and educate a child will be disqualified from adopting a child, according to the newly endorsed the bill.

It has also proposed to prohibit a person from adopting a child if he/she already has a child with the same gender. However, if a man or woman is legally divorced and his/her children do not live with any one of them, he/she may adopt a child.

“The concerned district court may allow a person to adopt a child after examining the applicant’s financial status. The applicant should be able to prove he/she is capable of nurturing the child and ensuring his/her education and care.

A person willing to adopt a son or daughter should take written consent from both the parents of the prospective adoptee or any of the parents of the adoptee if father or mother is dead, or legal guardian if the identity of either of the parents is not known,” the bill states.

A person or couple willing to adopt a child should also acquire written consent from the child if he/she has attained 10 years of age at the time of adoption. As per the bill, it is for the adopted child to decide whether to use the surname of the adopter.

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