Adopt a child from Greece

Family law

«DEDES & ASSOCIATES» law firm undertakes and manages family law cases throughout Greece. Our basic principle is the privacy and protection of personal data of our clients and our main objective is the successful completion of their cases. Our lawyers team specializes in divorce matters (consensual or adversarial), spouse and child support, parental authority-custody, paternity, adoption, guardianship, domestic violence, civil partnerships and indicatively we make the following judicial actions:

- Drafting and filing child support and custody of minor children pleas.

- Interim measures -Support adjudication.

- Application for divorce by mutual consent.

- Interim measures - Application for suspension of marital cohabitation and setting of the family residence.

- Suggestions - Paternity Infringement.

- Civil partnership contracts.

Who Can Adopt

Greece requires prospective adoptive parents to meet the following requirements in order to adopt a child from Greece:

Residency: You must be a resident of Greece to adopt a child from any of the governmental institutions and orphanages in Greece which care for orphaned or abandoned children. Exceptions for prospective adoptive parents who do not reside in Greece will be made only for children with health problems (as determined by the accredited public welfare service) living in Greek institutions.

Age of Adopting Parents: You must be between the ages of 30 and 60 in order to adopt a child. At least one of the adoptive parents must be at least 18 years older, but not more than 50 years older, than the adopted child. Only minors can be adopted, except in the case of step-parent adoption. The legal process of adoption cannot be initiated before the child is three months old; however, biological parents give the child to prospective adoptive parents immediately after birth in almost all cases of independent adoptions.

Marriage: Prospective adoptive parents may be married or single. At this time, Greek Family Law does not allow or recognize same-sex marriage.

Income: Prospective adoptive parents must provide evidence of financial stability.

Other: There is no requirement that a prospective adoptive parent be a member of a particular church or religion in order to adopt a child in Greece.

Who Can Be Adopted

Because Greece is party to the Hague Adoption Convention, children from Greece must meet the requirements of the Convention in order to be eligible for adoption. For example, the adoption may take place only if the competent authorities of Greece have determined that placement of the child within Greece has been given due consideration and that an intercountry adoption is in the child’s best interests.

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS:

Relinquishment: Relinquishment requires the consent of both biological parents or legal guardians and a court decision.

Abandonment: In the case of abandonment, the court process replaces the consent of biological parents and facilitates procedures between the adoptive parents and the interested party, providing a judicial guarantee

Age of Adoptive Child: Only minors (children under 18 years of age) can be adopted, except in the case of step-parent adoption.

Sibling Adoptions: The court takes into consideration the perspectives of the children of the adopting family.

Special Needs or Medical Conditions: Medical reports are needed in addition to all other documents required by the court. The relevant Ministries and courts process applications of prospective adoptive parents in chronological order. However, they give priority to those willing to adopt a child with special physical or psychological needs, as determined by a public sector doctor.

Waiting Period or Foster Care: Due to a limited number of children available for adoption and a large number of prospective adoptive parents, the waiting period to finalize an adoption is approximately five years for a child living in an institution. For children with health problems, the waiting period usually takes up to three years. An attorney is necessary in order to present the case in court and finalize the adoption. Court decisions concerning adoption cases usually take from one to six months before a final decision is made.

How To Adopt

Although there are no private adoption agencies in Greece, children may be adopted with the involvement of an attorney who will act as a facilitator. Such private adoptions are for in-country, and not intercountry purposes. If you intend to move with your adopted child outside of Greece, you should not engage in a private adoption, but should follow the Convention process. Whether or not a child is adopted through one of the government-run institutions and orphanages, or privately, a lawyer is required.

Greece’s Adoption Authority
Ministry of Labor, Social Security and Welfare

The process for finalizing adoption or gaining legal custody in Greece generally includes the following:

Role of Adoption Authority: According to Greek Law, 2447/1996, all petitions submitted to local orphanages by the prospective adoptive parents are followed by an extensive and thorough field investigation performed by local social services, which are supervised by the Greek Ministry of Labor, Social Security and Welfare. When the investigation is over, the case file is forwarded to the local institution’s committee.

The local institution’s committee approves or disapproves the petition of the prospective parents. This committee then matches prospective adoptive parents with children, taking into account the specific needs of specific children and the corresponding ability of prospective parents to meet those needs.

If the child is 12 years or older and has no emotional or mental condition impairing judgment, the court takes the child’s wishes into consideration. In addition, the court takes into consideration the perspectives of the children of the adopting family. Because of the relatively small number of adoptions in Greece, this matching process can be detailed and precise. Adoptive parents’ applications are processed by the local institutions strictly in chronological order; however, priority is given to persons willing to adopt a child with special physical or psychological needs.

If the petition is approved, the case file is forwarded to the appropriate court for endorsement.

For private adoptions within Greece, the social service arm of the respective prefecture (nomarchy) of the area where the parents reside can also initiate the process. In either case, the prefecture’s public welfare service or ISS will conduct the field investigation. The law requires that a home study be conducted by local social services, prior to the court hearing, so that the family and the social status of the adoptive parents can be determined.

There is a 15-20 day fostering period for children living in institutions.

Role of the Court: A court decision must be issued following the field investigation by the relevant social service. The majority of adoption mediators ensure that biological parents do not know the details of the adoptive parents, to exclude the possibility of blackmail attempt or other unlawful action. All the procedures will be more easy with a lowyer.

The documents that comprise the legal file submitted to the court in order to issue a final decision for the adoption are:

Field investigation report by the social service;

Marriage certificate;

Penal record;

Family status certificate;

Written consent of biological parent(s);

Proof of financial stability of prospective adoptive parents;

Proof of residence of adoptive parents;

Medical examination of the adoptive parents (excluding those with chronic diseases).

In abandonment cases, a court process replaces the consent of biological parents and facilitates procedures between the adoptive parents and the interested party. Specifically, the consent of parents for adoption of their child is replaced with a court decision if:

Parents are unknown or the child is abandoned;

Both parents have been denied parental responsibility or are in a situation where they have been forbidden to exercise parental control regarding their ability to consent to adoption of the child;

Parents’ residence is unknown;

The child is protected by a recognized social organization, if he/she has been removed from the parent’s custody and the parents refuse to give consent; or the child is delivered with the consent of parents to a (foster) family for care and upbringing, with the intent to adopt, and the child has been integrated into that family for at least a year, and the parents later refuse to give consent.

Time Frame: Due to the limited number of children available for adoption, and the large number of prospective adoptive parents, the waiting period to finalize an adoption is approximately five years for a child living in an institution. An attorney is required in order to present the case to court and finalize the adoption. Court decisions concerning adoption cases usually take from one to six months before a final decision is issued. For children with health problems, it usually takes up to three years. The timeframe for private adoptions varies.

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In the adoption services contract that adoptive parents sign at the beginning of the adoption process, the lowyer will itemize the fees and estimated expenses related to the adoption process.

6. Obtain an Immigrant Visa for your Child and Bring Your Child Home

Our lawyer office will help you to do all theNecessaryprocedure.

Now that your adoption is complete (or you have obtained legal custody of the child for the purpose of adopting the child in the United States), there are a few more steps to take before you can head home. Specifically, you need to apply for three documents before your child can travel to another country.

The court will issue a decision on any changes made on the name of the adopted child based on the primary birth certificate. This certificate is then presented to the Greek registry office (Lixiarhion). The new birth certificate will contain the name of the adoptive parent(s) as the parents, with no reference to the biological parents, and it will also reflect any name or place of birth changes approved by the court, with no reference to the court decision. This is done because of the strict privacy laws in Greece, which state that the adoption of minors must be kept secret. The adopted child only has the right to be informed by the adoptive parents and the Greek competent authorities on the particulars regarding his/her natural parents, once he/she has reached the age of 18. Before that time, the adoption cannot legally be divulged to the adopted child.

Our lowyer office will help you and your child to travel