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Adoption in Greece

Here we look at the process of adoption in Greece and what is involved if you are looking to adopt a child in Greece. It's not just regular people who choose to adopt, but the big stars such as Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Madonna and many more Hollywood stars have decided to adopt children from all over the world. Adopting children of any age is a wonderful experience and gives much satisfaction and happiness to both you and the child.


Τhe child adoption in Greece, according to current legislation, is conducted through the following steps in summary:

1) The prospective adoptive parent must be eligible for adoption in Greece. The basic prerequisites for adopting a child in Greece are that the prospective adoptive parent must a) be capable of entering into a judicial (legal) transaction b) be at least thirty (30) years of age c) not older than sixty (60) years of age d) have an age difference with the child of at least eighteen(18) years but must not exceed fifty(50) years(except if the child that is adopted belongs to his/her spouse but then again the age difference must not be smaller than fifteen (15) years. If the prospective adoptive parent satisfies the conditions for adoption in Greece then an application may be filed for adoption at one of the approved adoption societies.

2) Conditions and time-limits are prohibited in the adoption process.

3) In order for an adoption to be executed, the prospective adoptive parent must file an application for adoption at the Greek court and the Greek court must render a court decision. Greek law does not foresee the possibility that the prospective adoptive parent may obtain temporary custody of the child.

4) Prior to the execution of the process of adoption in Greece, the relevant government agencies assign social workers to gather a comprehensive series of documentation, including independent medical and psychiatric reports from the adoptive parents, criminal background checks, financial status evidence, family status evidence and other documents, together with medical reports for the adopted child. The social workers conduct site visits to the prospective parents' residence in order to ensure a suitable environment for the child. These visits may also include interviews with the adoptive parents and other verification checks. The social workers also conduct site visits to the child's place of residence, be that a state facility or a private household to ensure that the child's situation is suitable for the purposes of adoption. The appointed social workers must submit their reports as evidence in the Greek court.

5) The only individual that has the right to decide whether or not an application for adoption will be granted is the judge. After examining all the evidence in the Greek civil court, the three (3) member panel of judges in the competent Greek Court of First Instance provide a ruling (see attached document "the civil court decision-apofasi").

6) The three (3) member panel of judges in the competent Greek Court of First Instance do not certify the agreement for adoption between the parties but examine all the evidence in the adoption case and render an impartial decision based on the facts of the case, considering the best interests of the child and by applying Greek law. Besides, prerequisite for the adoption process of a child is for the prospective adoptive parent, and the natural parents to consent to the adoption before the three (3) member panel of judges during the court hearing. If the child resides in a social services organization then the natural parents may grant power of attorney to the organization before the competent court so that the organization may nominate an individual or couple to initiate the adoption procedure for the child.

7) Under article 156 of the Greek Civil Code, the effects of the court decision for the adoption commence when the judgment becomes final (that is the decision is not subject to appeal) (see attached Court of First Instance decision 20363/2009 and document "Certificate of Non-Appeal"). With the final adoption judgment, if the court grants to the applicant the right to adoption then the custody of the child is automatically transferred to the adoptive parent. The final decision of adoption in Greece does not need to state expressly that the natural parent's legal rights and duties in respect of the child are transferred to the adoptive parent nor is any other action required.

By Evangelos.S.Karaindros, lawyer (Athens Bar Association)
15 Kleisthenous street 105 52 Athens, tel 210 8026039, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.