S.Korean Cabinet passes bills to allow single people to adopt

15 April 2022

The South Korean Cabinet on Tuesday approved bills to allow single people to adopt children, as the number of one-person households is sharply increasing.

The Justice Ministry revised the Civil Act and the Family Litigation Act, which currently stipulate only married couples can legally adopt, reports Yonhap News Agency.

Under the revisions, single people can adopt if they are 25 or older and meet requirements to sufficiently guarantee the welfare of the children.

The Ministry said it will submit the amendments to the National Assembly on Friday for approval, while it also strengthened qualification reviews of would-be adoptive parents.

The revisions call on the family court to consider parenting time and the post-adoption environment when reviewing applications, in addition to their capability and conditions to raise a child.

In addition, an investigator will be sent to families applying for adoption to probe suitable conditions for raising a child.

“This change in the legal system reflects the rapid increase in the proportion of single-person households and the fundamental shift in the notion of family,” the Ministry said.

The single-member family has become the most common form of family arrangement in the country as an increasing number of people avoid or delay marriage and the population is fast aging.

The number of one-person households reached 6.64 million in 2020, up from 6.15 million a year earlier, according to Statistics Korea.

The proportion of one-person families hit a new high in the year, accounting for 31.7 per cent of total households, up from 30.2 per cent the previous year.