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The Institution of Adoption, According to Greek Civil Code

Adoption is the legal act by which the adopted child is legally excluded from his / her biological family and is legally integrated in the family of the step parents.

The institution of adoption is regulated in Greece with the Articles 1542-1588 of the Greek Civil Code.

Adoption has three forms: a) private adoption when prospective adoptive parents come into contact with the adopted child (usually through a private medical center); b) public adoption when prospective adoptive parents come in contact with a state institution and c) transnational adoption when prospective adoptive parents express interest in adopting a child from a foreign country as regulated by the Hague Convention.

Adoption has the interest of the adopted child as a priority and for this reason the law sets a number of conditions that must be met by both adoptive parents and adopted child in order to proceed with a legal adoption.

More specifically, according to the Articles 1543 and 1544 of the Civil Code, the following is required:

(a) the person who adopts  must have a legal capacity, and must have reached the age of thirty (30) though not have exceeded sixty (60),

(b) the age’s difference between the foster parent and the minor must be bigger than 18 years, but no more than fifty (50) years. This restriction is not applicable if a spouse wishes to adopt a child  already adopted by his/her wife.

According to the Article 1549 of the Civil Code, adoption takes place when the judicial decision is final, after the application of the prospective foster parent. Before the court, it is necessary to have express a personal consent of both biological parents  or only one of them if the other one has been deprived of parental responsibility or the guardian (if the minor has no parents) and of course the prospective foster parent. The minors also provide their consent before the court if they have reached the age of twelve. The consent of biological parents may not be given until three (3) months have completed since the birth of the child.

Prior to the realisation of the adoption, the social service is carrying out a thorough social research, on which a relevant report is produced, which is submitted to the court in time and which suggests whether or not the particular adoption is in the interests of the adopted child. This report shall be taken into account by the court in conjunction with the personality, health, economic and financial status of the adoptive parents and the adopted in order to ascertain whether adoption is in the best interest of the minor.

After the final decision of the court which accepts the application of the candidate adoptive parents, the decision is registered at the competent Registration Office and in this way the family relationship between the adoptive parent and  the adopted child is established. From now on, any legal connection of the child with the biological parents is interrupted and they have no longer the right to communicate with the child, while foster parents automatically acquire the parental responsibility. The adopted child receives the surname of the foster parent, but has the right, as soon as he/she reaches the age of eighteen, to add the surname he/she had before his/her adoption.

Particular mention is worthwhile in the case where the child who is adopted is a foreign national. Article 23  of the Greek Civil Code defines that the conditions for the establishment of an adoption, which contains foreign elements, are regulated by the law of the nationality of each party.

Therefore, in order for the adoption to be valid, it should be possible for the adopted person to be adopted under his / her law of native country, whereas for the prospective adoptive parent the possibility of adoption will be determined by the law of his / her own native country. Of course, there is always the possibility that the  law of the native country of the foster parent or the adopted child does not recognize the institution of adoption or prohibit it, while it is possible that the provisions of foreign law may be contrary to the national good or the public order, which makes impossible their application to the national legal order.

In fact, in order to enhance their family ties, the spouse of a third-country national may, in accordance with the aforementioned legal procedure, proceed to the adoption of his or her spouse's biological children.

The Law Office of Mrs. Kasatkina- Kouskou Svetlana undertakes with absolute discretion and confidentiality the legal procedures required for the legal foundation of adoption in Greece, having a deep knowledge of national and private international law. With absolute responsibility and with respect to the sensitive issue of adoption, our law office is helping you in the process of adopting a national or foreign child, always in the interest of the adopted child.


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