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Adoption

You would like to adopt and are looking for information on the steps to take? Discover the requirements and a summary of the procedure to follow depending on the type of adoption you are considering.

How to adopt a minor child?

Here is an overview of the requirements to be met and the different steps to be taken to adopt a child.

The requirements

The following may be candidates for so-called "ordinary" adoption:

  • Married couples if they have been in the same household for at least 3 years
  • Single persons who are not, in principle, married or in a registered partnership

You must meet the following requirements at the time of application:

  • To have an age difference of at least 16 years and not more than 45 years with the child to be adopted (exceptions are possible)
  • To have raised and cared for the minor child for at least one year (no exception)
  • To have the required consents (of the child and of the protection authority in charge of following the procedure, as well as the parent's consent)

 

The procedures: a process in several steps
 

Step 1: approval and authorization to accommodate

This initial contact is absolutely necessary in order to understand what can or cannot be done according to your personal situation and your project.

The SASLP is mandated to conduct an investigation to evaluate your abilities and your fostering conditions. It is also responsible for granting you an approval and an authorization to foster, which are essential for the placement of the child in your home.

 

Step 2: placement of the child for adoption

Once the approval and the authorization are delivered, you can welcome the child during a ''probationary'' period. The Tribunal de protection de l'adulte et de l'enfant appoints a welfare agent for the benefit of the child. This person is responsible, for at least 1 year, for:

  • Acting on behalf of the child to be adopted in the adoption process
  • Conducting the social investigation within your family
  • Preparing a report of the investigation which will be transmitted to the Tribunal de protection de l'adulte et de l'enfant

 

Step 3: consent of the Tribunal de protection de l'adulte et de l'enfant

At the end of this period of at least one year, the Tribunal de protection de l'adulte et de l'enfant rules on its consent to the adoption and orders the transfer of the case file to the Cour de justice.

 

Step 4: pronouncement of the adoption by the Cour de justice

It is the Chambre civile de la Cour de justice that is the competent authority to pronounce the adoption.

You must file a request written in French, substantiated and signed with the Chambre civile or the Greffe universel, which will rule on your adoption application.

You must attach the following documents to your application:

How to adopt a minor stepchild?

The requirements

You can adopt the minor child of your spouse, registered partner or the person you are in a relationship with, if:

  • You have been in the same household for at least 3 years and
  • You have lived with the child for at least one year

You must meet the following requirements at the time of application:

  • To have an age difference of at least 16 years and not more than 45 years with the child to be adopted (exceptions are possible)
  • To have raised and cared for the minor child for at least one year (no exception)
  • To have the required consents (of the child and of the protection authority in charge of following the procedure, as well as the parents' consent)

 

The procedures

The Chambre civile de la Cour de justice is the competent authority to pronounce the adoption.

You must file a written request in French, substantiated and signed with the Chambre civile or the Greffe universel which will rule on the declaration of the adoption.

You must attach the following documents to your application:

How to adopt an adult?

The requirements

An adult may be adopted:

  • If he/she is permanently in need of help for physical, mental or psychological reasons and the persons wishing to adopt have looked after him/her for at least one year.
  • The persons wishing to adopt raised and cared for the person for at least one year while he/she was still a minor.
  • For other good reasons and he/she has lived in the same household with the persons wishing to adopt for at least one year.

To be eligible to adopt an adult, you must meet the same conditions as for adopting a minor child with the exception of the provision on parental consent. However, you must obtain the opinion of the parents of the adult to be adopted, as well as the descendants and his/her spouse/registered partner. When persons wishing to adopt have descendants, their opinion must be taken into consideration.

 

The procedures

You must file a written request in French, substantiated and signed with the Chambre civile or the Greffe universel which will rule on the declaration of the adoption.

You must attach the following documents to your application:

Contacts

Address

Address

Place du Bourg-de-Four 1
Building A
1204 Genève

Contact details

Desk-telephone

Opening hours
8h-12h / 14h-16h

Mailing address

Chambre civile
Case postale 3108
1211 Genève 3

Questions/answers

An application for adoption may not be upheld until all material circumstances have been thoroughly investigated, in consultation with the relevant specialists if necessary.

In particular, the investigation looks into the character and health of the persons wishing to adopt and the child, their mutual relationship, their suitability as parents, their financial situation, motives and family circumstances and the history of the child care relationship.

The adoption of a minor child requires the consent of the child's mother and father.

This consent shall be declared, in writing or orally, to the child protection authority of the parent's or the child's residence or place of stay. It must be recorded in the minutes.

The consent of one of the parents may be disregarded if he/she is unknown, has been absent for a long time, has no known residence or is permanently incapable of judgement.

Yes, you can give him/her a new first name if there are good reasons for doing so. Prior to this, the child is heard in person by the competent authority or by a third party appointed for this purpose, unless this is inadvisable due to the child's age or for other good cause.

If the child is at least 12 years of age, a change of first name requires his/her consent.

In some cases, the competent authority may authorise an adult to be adopted to continue using his/her family name, if there are good reasons for doing so.

The child to be adopted is heard in person by the competent authority or by a third party appointed for this purpose, unless this is inadvisable due to the child's age or for other good causes.

See also

Tribunal de protection de l'adulte et de l'enfant

The Tribunal de protection de l'adulte et de l'enfant ensures the protection of people throughout their lives, from childhood to adulthood up to their succession. It intervenes when no satisfactory solution has been found for the person concerned within the family, with relatives or any other institution that can provide assistance.

Chambre civile

The Chambre civile is one of the 4 chambers of the Cour civile de la Cour de justice. It is the appeal authority against decisions rendered by the Tribunal de première instance and the Justice of the peace, notably in family law, succession law, etc. It is also the authority in charge of pronouncing the adoption.

Child protection

The child protection law intervenes when parental rights need to be set or to protect the child when his/her development is endangered.