Adoption in Cyprus
Adoption is a life-changing event that has a profound impact on the lives of the child and the adopting parents. In Cyprus, the legal framework governing the adoption process is detailed in the Adoption Law of 1995 (Law 19(I)/1995) as amended, which priorities the child’s welfare and best interests. The law establishes the procedures and requirements for adoption within the country and provides for the recognition of foreign adoptions.
Additionally, Cyprus is a party to the Hague Convention on the Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Inter-country Adoption, which sets out the international standards for adoptions between member countries.
This article offers a comprehensive overview of the Law’s key provisions and the adoption process in Cyprus, while highlighting the expertise and services provided by our legal team at Chambers & Co.
Eligibility Criteria for Adoption in Cyprus
To apply for adoption in Cyprus, applicants must satisfy a number of requirements:
- Residency: The applicant should be a permanent resident of Cyprus or have resided in the country for a minimum of two years immediately prior to submitting the application. For joint applications, at least one of the applicants must meet the residency criteria. The applicant should be residing in Cyprus on the date of application.
- Age: At least one of the applicants must be 25 years of age or older and at least 18 years older than the child they intend to adopt. However, the age restriction does not apply if the applicant is adopting their spouse’s child or if the applicant is a relative of the child and has reached 21 years of age.
- Marital Status: Married couples, as well as single individuals, can adopt a child. In the case of a married couple, both spouses must consent to the adoption.
- Suitability: Adoptive parents must be deemed suitable to raise a child by the Director of Social Welfare Services, who will evaluate their financial, social, and psychological stability.
The Law permits the following individuals to submit an adoption application:
- Married couples for joint adoption;
- The child’s biological father and his wife, or the mother and her husband, jointly;
- The spouse of the child’s mother or the spouse of the child’s biological father.
Additionally, unmarried individuals can apply for adoption under Section 7(1) of the Law if the court deems there are special reasons to grant the adoption. The Law currently does not have provisions for same-sex couples to adopt a child.
Factors Assessed by the Family Court
The Family Court in Cyprus will consider several factors before granting an adoption order:
- Informed Consent: The child’s biological parents or guardian must provide their consent for the adoption, fully understanding its consequences.
- Child’s Best Interests: The court must determine that the adoption is in the best interests of the child, taking into account the child’s preferences if their age and cognitive abilities permit.
- Residency and Care: The child must have lived with the applicant under their care and supervision for at least three consecutive months before the issuance of the adoption order and continue to reside with the applicant or one of them, under their care and custody.
- Suitability Assessment: The Social Welfare Services must submit a report evaluating the applicant’s suitability for adoption. Although not legally binding, the court uses this report to protect the child’s best interests.
The Adoption Process in Cyprus
- Application: Prospective adoptive parents must submit an application to the Director of Social Welfare Services. The application should include personal details, reasons for adoption, and preferences regarding the child (such as age, gender, and health status).
- Home Study: A social worker will conduct a comprehensive home study to assess the suitability of the prospective adoptive parents. This involves a series of interviews, home visits, and background checks.
- Matching: Once approved, the applicants will be added to a waiting list. When a suitable child becomes available, the prospective adoptive parents will be informed and given the opportunity to meet the child.
- Trial Period: After a successful meeting, a trial period will begin, during which the child will reside with the prospective adoptive parents. This period typically lasts between three to six months and allows both parties to assess their compatibility.
- Court Approval: Following a successful trial period, the prospective adoptive parents must file an adoption petition with the Family Court. The court will review the application, the home study report, and any other relevant documents before granting the adoption order.
- Legalisation: Once the adoption order is granted, the child’s birth certificate will be amended to reflect the new parent(s), and the adoption becomes legally binding.
Legal Implications of Adoption
Upon the issuance of an adoption order by the Family Court, the adopted child becomes the legal and natural child of the adoptive parents and is no longer considered the child of any other person. The child’s name is then entered into the Register of Adopted Children, maintained by the Chief Registrar of the Supreme Court.
The adoptive parents assume all responsibilities related to the child’s care and maintenance, and the biological parents’ obligations cease. The adoption order also terminates any obligations arising from agreements, wills, or court orders concerning child support benefits or other parental duties.
Inter-country adoption refers to the process of adopting a child from one country by prospective adoptive parents residing in another country. As a party to the Hague Convention on the Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Inter-country Adoption, Cyprus follows the Convention’s guidelines to ensure the best interests of the child and the adopting parents are safeguarded throughout the process. Our legal team at Chambers & Co has extensive experience in assisting clients with inter-country adoption.
Recognition of Foreign Adoptions
Families who have completed an adoption abroad will need to have their foreign adoption recognised in Cyprus to ensure the child’s legal status and access to essential services. Our experienced Cyprus lawyers at can guide you through the process of obtaining recognition for your foreign adoption.
Expert Services Offered by Chambers & Co
At Chambers & Co, our legal team is committed to assisting clients throughout the adoption process in Cyprus. Our services include:
- Personalised Consultation: We provide tailored advice on the adoption process, eligibility criteria, and essential provisions of the Law, based on your specific circumstances.
- Application Support: We guide you through the process of completing and submitting the necessary paperwork and documentation, ensuring accuracy and compliance with legal requirements.
- Court Representation: We represent you in court, advocating for your best interests and that of the child throughout the adoption proceedings. Our experienced legal team will ensure that the court is fully informed of all relevant factors and will work diligently to achieve a successful outcome.
- Post-adoption Assistance: After the adoption order is granted, we continue to support you in addressing any legal matters that may arise, such as updating the child’s legal records, obtaining Cypriot citizenship for the child, and ensuring compliance with any post-adoption requirements.
By choosing Chambers & Co to guide you through the adoption process in Cyprus, you can be confident that your case will be handled with the utmost care and professionalism. Our team’s expertise and dedication will allow you to focus on welcoming your new family member and building a nurturing, supportive environment. To learn more about our services or to schedule a consultation, please contact us today.