Legal

"He who can reach a child's heart can reach the worlds heart." Rudyard Kipling

Legislation on international adoptions in Ukraine:

 

  • The Family Code of Ukraine, adopted by the Law of Ukraine No. 2947-III of 01/10/2002;

  • Civil Procedure Code of Ukraine, adopted by the Law of Ukraine No. 1618-IV of 03/18/2004;

  • “Order on Adoption Procedures and Supervision on Observance of Rights of the Adopted Children”, approved by the Decision of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine No. 905 of 10/08/2008;

  • “Rules for Vital Statistic Registration in Ukraine”, adopted by the Order of the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine No. 52/5 of 10/18/2000;

  • The Law of Ukraine No. 2235-III of 01/18/2001“On Citizenship of Ukraine”;

  • The Law of Ukraine No. 3929-XII of 02/04/1994 “On Legal Status of Foreigners and Stateless Persons”.

Ukraine is a member of Convention on the Rights of the Child adopted by the UN General Assembly Resolution 44/25 of 20 November 1989 that establishes one set of fundamental rights for all children and young people.

On April 28, 2009 Ukraine signed European Convention on the Adoption of Children (Revised) passed on May 7, 2008 at a meeting of the committee of ministers of the Council of Europe, which became an integral part of Ukrainian legislation. The aim of Convention is to set out a collection of legal rules aimed at harmonising the adoption of children in Europe according to the core principles of the Council of Europe. The Convention takes account of the social and legal developments of recent years as well as the case law of the European Court of Human Rights. It underlines that the best interests of the child must always take precedence over any other considerations. According to this international document, the state-participants have the right to pass provisions, which, according to them, are more favorable for the adoption of the child. This means that in case if some provisions of Ukrainian legislation differ from the provisions of the Convention, and these provisions are more favorable for the adoption process, then this will not be regarded as a violation or non-compliance with the international document.

Adopting internationally requires that the Adoptive Parents observe the laws of the country where they live and the country from which we hope to adopt. Every country has requirements that prospective Adoptive Parents must meet, usually regarding age, income, number of existing children in the home, some indicator of marital stability (number of divorces, years married) etc. We are passionate to help the Prospective Parents to understand the law, and the aim of this survey is to provide a brief overview regarding legal regulation of various aspects of international adoptions in Ukraine.

Requirements for Adoptive Parents
Under Ukrainian legislation which came into effect on October 4, 2011, Adoptive Parents must be at least 21 years old, and at least 15 years older than the adopted child (the 45-year maximum age difference requirement has been eliminated). In case of adoption of an 18-year old child, the minimum age difference between the adopted child and the adopting parents shall be at least 18 years.

Foreign citizens must be officially married in order to be eligible to adopt a Ukrainian child.

Prior divorce is acceptable and there are no restrictions on the number of children already living in the home.

At the time of dossier submission to the State Departments for Adoptions and Protection of Rights of the Child (DAPRC) of Ukraine, all documents should remain valid for at least six months. Documents submitted are valid for 12 months for the date of issuance (not submission) or from the date of notarization.
In addition to the above changes, the DAPRC has made some changes to the priority which will be given to Adoptive Parents under certain conditions. Adoptive Parents who meet the following requirements will be given priority over other hopeful adoptive parents:

  • Biological relatives of the adopted child;
  • Applying to adopt a biological sibling of an already adopted child;

Applying to adopt a child suffering from one of the health conditions published on the website http://photos.state.gov/libraries/ukraine/895/pdf/list_of_health_problems_eng_march2012.pdf.

- Who can be adopted?
Citizens of foreign countries may adopt only those children from Ukraine who:

  1. Are at least 5 years old (with only exception for:
  • children with certain special needs;
  • relative adoptions;
  • siblings adoptions in case that all siblings are being adopted in one and the same family and at least one of them is 5 years old;
  1. Have been registered with the State Departments for Adoptions and Protection of Rights of the Child for a year (DAPRC).

Ukrainian orphanages are responsible for regular providing full and complete information on children available for adoption to the database of the DAPRC. Firstly, the local administration creates a file for each child available for adoption and issues an application that contains basic information on this child and his/her photo. This application is retained in the local administration for a month, while Ukraine families are encouraged for adoption. After being kept in a district office for a month, the application is further forwarded to the regional office that has another month to a find a Ukrainian adoptive family for the child. If the child still has not been adopted by Ukrainian citizens, his/her application is transferred to DAPRC to be input in its database. Once the child’s application reaches DAPRC, the Department has a year to find Ukrainian adoptive parents for a child. After that the child is available for intercountry adoption.

Please be aware that not all children in orphanages are adoptable. It may happen that biological parents temporarily place their child(ren) in an orphanage due to financial or other hardship, initially planning to return the child when they are able to do so. In such cases, it is needed to get consent of child’s birth parents for adoption by other persons.

Sibling adoptions
If all siblings are eligible for international adoption, they normally cannot be separated by adoption.

Special needs or medical conditions
There are specific health problems that allow orphans under 5 years, as well as those, who have not been listed on the central registry for one year, to be adopted. The current list of these health problems in English is available at the website: http://photos.state.gov/libraries/ukraine/895/pdf/list_of_health_problems_eng_march2012.pdf.

Competent Ukrainian authority
The State Department on Adoptions (SDA) is no longer the authority to process adoption cases. The Department for Adoption and Protection of the Rights of the Child (DAPRC), which is namely a part of the Ministry of Social Policy of Ukraine, in now the only legal Ukrainian authority for both domestic and international adoptions.

Legal consequences of adoption
Once the adoption is final, the Ukrainian law treats the adopting parents as if they were the child’s birth parents:

  • They become fully responsible for the child’s care, education and support until adulthood - or even longer, in some situations. They have the right to exercise authority over the child.
  • They also become legally responsible fort he child;
  • They have a right to inherit from the child if the child dies without a will.

On the other hand, upon granting of an adoption order the child's natural parents will no longer have any rights or responsibilities towards the child:

  1. The birth parents are relieved of any responsibilities to the child, including the child’s care, education and support.
  2. Normally, the adopted children lose their right to visitation with their birth parents.
  3. They are relieved of any legal responsibilities to their birth parents.
  4. The adopted children lose the right to inherit from their birth parents if the birth parents die without a will.

Thereby, adoption is permanent: Once the adoption is final, it can only be cancelled under very unusual circumstances.

 

 

If you need to speak with a lawyer about international family planning, legal separation, child custody, enforcement of a court order, fertility treatment options, inheritance rules or another family or succession law matter, contact the Law Offices of UkrLegis.