Can an alien be legally adopted?

Innovations in adoption law

January 31, 2018Jennifer Dürst-Zimmermann

Adoption law underwent extensive changes and came into force on January 1, 2018. The adoption requirements have been made more flexible and relaxed overall. The new adoption regulations also apply to proceedings that are pending on January 1, 2018.


New adoption requirements

The subject of the revision of the adoption law is a general flexibilization of the adoption requirements. In summary, the following simplifications result for joint adoption and individual adoption:

  • Reduction of the minimum age for people willing to adopt from 35 to 28 years;
  • Reduction of the minimum duration of the couple relationship from 5 years to 3 years. The decisive factor for the calculation is no longer the length of the marriage, but the length of time they have lived together in the same household.


Simplified adult adoption

According to previous law, the requirements for adult adoption are very restrictive. Adult adoption is now possible, even if the person willing to adopt has their own children. In addition, the period during which care and upbringing is to be provided to the adopted child, who was then still a minor, will be reduced from 5 years to 1 year. By adopting an adult, the adoptive child receives the legal status of a child of the adopting person and the previous child relationship expires. This has particular effects in terms of name and inheritance law


 Easing of adoption secrecy

In principle, an adoption is subject to adoption secrecy, i.e. the birth parents do not per se receive information about the contact details of the adoptive parents and the child they have given up for adoption. However, if the birth parents wish to be contacted or to receive information about the adoptive child, they are free to find out the child's personal details. The prerequisite for this is that the adoptive child or the adoptive parents of a minor child who are capable of judgment or of legal age consent to the disclosure. On the other hand, the adoptive child is already entitled to know his or her parentage without the biological parents having to give their personal details prior consent.


 Stepchild adoption for cohabiting and same-sex couples

Under the previous adoption law, only married people could adopt their spouse's child. In the interests of the child, the option of adopting stepchildren is now no longer only available to married couples, but also to cohabiting or same-sex couples in factual cohabitation or registered partnership. The couple must have been living together for at least three years.