Full adoption creates a new parentage for the adoptee which replaces the old one. In simple adoption, a new form of parentage is added to the original one.

Whatever the type of adoption, it is open to all single persons over the age of 28 and to couples who have been married for at least 2 years or else where both spouses are over 28 years of age.

The adoptees

  • Full adoption only applies to minors under 15 years of age.
  • Simple adoption is allowed for older individuals, but in both cases, an age difference of at least 15 years (10 years when it concerns the child of the spouse) between the adopter and the adoptee must be respected.

Whatever the adoption, this concerns children who are:

– wards of the state (those for whom the child welfare service or ASE is responsible and who are deprived of a family),

– children whose father and mother or family council have consented to the adoption,

“Future” adoptees over the age of 13 must consent to the adoption.


  • Full adoption is an obstacle course. It begins with the child welfare service present in each administrative department. This service conducts an investigation into aspects such as the professional, social, and psychological situation of the future parent. After establishing their ability to take care of a child, a young person may be entrusted to them but the adoption will then have to be declared by the district court (TGI).
  • With simple adoption, an application is made to the district court. The ruling will be mentioned in the margin of the birth certificate.

The effects of adoption

  • Full adoption offers the adoptee new parentage which replaces the original one. The child takes on a new surname and has the same rights and duties as other children in the family. This means that the child inherits from the adopter. The adoptive parent(s) exercise parental authority.

Full adoption is irrevocable.

  • Simple adoption leaves links between the adoptee and their family of origin: in particular, the child retains their inheritance rights. The adoptee may also inherit from the adopter. The surname of the adopter is attached to the original surname, unless the adoptee agrees to solely bear the surname of the adopter.

Worth knowing:

Under certain conditions, adopters are entitled to adoption leave.

Reference text:

Article 351 et seq. of the French Civil Code.