Unmarried couples and adoption: when it is possible to welcome a child

In our country, single people can only adopt children with whom there is a family relationship, or minors with disabilities. Even those who are not married can adopt, but only in cases that Article 44 of Law 184/83 on custody and adoptions defines as “particular”. Here’s how to start the procedures and how public opinion moves around this law.

In this post we will talk about:

The general requirements for adoption in Italy

Can unmarried couples adopt?

An alternative to adoption for unmarried couples: foster care

Adoption is a look to the future: protect your child right away

Conclusions and final advice

Statistics from recent years tell us that Italy is among the main countries in Europe with the lowest rate of marriages celebrated , together with Slovenia, Luxembourg and Portugal [1]. All this confirms an already evident trend: fewer marriages in favor of coexistence . But what happens when an unmarried couple decides they want to adopt a child ?

Let’s see together when it is possible, in Italy, to welcome a child even if we are not married.

The general requirements for adoption in Italy

The requirements for adoption, whether national or international, are those provided for by art. 6 of Law 184/83 (as amended by Law 149/2001) which also governs custody, which states that ” Adoption is permitted to spouses who have been married for at least three years , or who reach this period by adding to the duration of marriage the period of premarital cohabitation, and between which there is no personal separation even in fact and which are suitable for educating, instructing and able to maintain the minors they intend to adopt “.

As for age, there are very specific rules. In particular:

– the minimum difference between the adopter and the adopted is 18 years;

– the maximum difference between adopters and adopted is 45 years for one of the spouses, 55 for the other. However, if the spouses adopt two or more siblings or if they already have a natural child or a minor adopted child, this limit is waived.

Age limits have been introduced to allow the adoptee to have suitable parents to raise and follow him during the various stages of life, but also to respect, in a certain sense, the limits imposed by nature, especially for mothers. Besides being suitable to educate, instruct and support children, then, the intended parents must not have any ongoing separation process, not even in fact.

Can unmarried couples adopt?

Although the law seems to speak clearly, the most correct answer to the question “is it possible to adopt a child in Italy, even if we are not married?” It is: “Sometimes yes”.

Adoption by unmarried couples is possible, as stated in article 44 of law 184, in ” particular cases ” and specifically:

“A) by persons united with the minor, orphan of father and mother, by family ties up to the sixth degree or by a stable and lasting relationship pre-existing the loss of the parents;

  1. b) by the spouse if the minor is also an adopted child of the other spouse;
  2. c) when there is an established impossibility of pre-adoption assignment “.

An alternative to adoption for unmarried couples: foster care

From 2013 it is possible to establish the union of the couple with a cohabitation contract , different from the marriage contract but legally valid.

As an indirect consequence of an expansion of the concept of marriage, another chapter was opened in 2015 relating to the form most similar to adoption: extended custody (Law 173/2015 on affective continuity) [2] .

The foster care formula , unlike adoption, must be generally understood as temporary because it presupposes that, sooner or later, the minor can return to the family of origin .

Foster care is seen as the willingness on the part of a family or a single to take care of a child or a minor who is in difficulty and who – for safety reasons – is removed from his or her nucleus.

To receive a foster child, the family must demonstrate:

  • To have enough space in the house to accommodate another member
  • To want to commit to maintaining relations with the child’s family of origin
  • To be able to follow the minor entrusted to him in his development path

Generally these forms of foster care last a maximum of 2 years but can be extended if the family of origin has not solved its problems.


However, the law on affective continuity recognizes a very important principle in these cases: the right of minors to continue to maintain a bond with the foster family . In particular, article 1 paragraph 5-bis highlights the possibility of the foster family to request the adoption of the minor considering the links established previously. The consent to the adoption is given by the Juvenile Court.


Adoption is a look to the future: protect your child right away

Adopting can be a long and complex process , especially for unmarried couples.


Once the dream is crowned, however, it is important to safeguard your child with a formula that allows you to assist him, even from a distance.


You can do it with MetLife Junior Protection, an accident policy designed for the needs of children and to meet the needs of continuous protection .


The possibilities offered by this insurance, which provides fundamental help in the event of accidents or illness with economic aid to cope with hospitalization or medical treatment, are completed with a protection that looks far ahead: you can safeguard their future in the event that you cannot take care of them more. Among the options, you can decide to keep an amount of up to 600 euros per month for each child, in case you can no longer take care of them.


Thanks to Junior Protection , you also have a support network that helps you in times of difficulty:


A doctor who responds 24 hours a day;


  • A qualified babysitter;


  • A home teacher if there are many school days to skip.


Conclusions and final advice

Unmarried couples , in Italy, can today adopt a minor only and only in particular cases regulated by law or through the extension of a custody due to emotional continuity : but the Juvenile Court and other parties must express themselves on this point required.


There is therefore a possibility that puts a point on the question and opens the possibility of adopting to those who have decided not to marry, but are still a family . And it could legitimately be for a little boy or girl whose life has started uphill.

by Abdullah Sam
I’m a teacher, researcher and writer. I write about study subjects to improve the learning of college and university students. I write top Quality study notes Mostly, Tech, Games, Education, And Solutions/Tips and Tricks. I am a person who helps students to acquire knowledge, competence or virtue.

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