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CHILDREN ADOPTION PROCEDURE

Procedure of Adoption of the Children Citizens of the Russian Federation by Citizens of the Russian Federation Permanently Living on the Territory of the Russian Federation.



      In compliance with Art. 124 of the Family Code of RF adoption is a priority form of placement of the children left without parents care. Adoption is admissible with respect to minors and in their interests only, as well as with due regard for the possibility to ensure a full physical, psychic, spiritual, and moral development of the children concerned.

      Adoption is admissible with respect to minors whose only parent or both parents:

-      have died;
-      are unknown, recognized by court as missing, or declared dead;
-      disqualified by court;
-      deprived by court of their parents rights;
-      gave their consent to adoption in a prescribed manner;
-      have not been living with a child for over 6 months and evade the childs upbringing and upkeep by reasons found by court as inadequate.
      
      Adoption of a found (abandoned) child whose parents are unknown may be effected in the manner prescribed by Russian law, provided a respective act has been issued by the Department of Interior.

      Adoption of a baby left in the maternity hospital (ward) or any other medical institution may be effected in a manner prescribed by Russian law, provided a respective act has been drawn by the administration of the institution in which the baby was abandoned.

      Adoptive parents may be persons of age of both sexes, with the following exceptions:

1)      persons disqualified or incapacitated by court;
2)      spouses, one of whom is disqualified or incapacitated by court;
3)      persons deprived by court of their parents rights or whose rights were circumscribed by court;
4)      persons released from guardians duties for improper fulfillment of the obligations vested in them by law;
5)      former adoptive parents, if the adoption has been annulled by the court through their fault;
6)      persons who cannot exercise parents rights because of their health condition;
7)      persons who by the time of adoption have no income adequate to ensure a child a minimum of subsistence established in the subject of the Russian Federation on whose territory the adoptive family lives;
8)      persons who have no permanent residence or living premises meeting the established sanitary and technical requirements;
9)      persons convicted by the time of adoption for a deliberate crime against life or health.

      An unmarried couple cannot jointly adopt one and the same child.

      Mediation in adoption, i.e. any activities by other persons aimed at selection and transfer of children for adoption on behalf of and in the interests of persons wishing to adopt children, including communication of data on the child, photos and video-recordings of children, and arranging an additional medical examination of the child to be adopted is not admissible.

      Standard forms of the documents to register potential adoptive parents, to legalize adoption, to exercise control over the living conditions and upbringing of the adopted children in the families are approved by the Ministry of Education of the Russian Federation.

      Citizens of the Russian Federation wishing to adopt a child file with the guardianship and trusteeship authorities at the place of their residence an application requesting an opinion on the possibility for them to become foster parents attached with the following documents:

1)      their brief biographies;
2)      a reference from their employer indicating position and salary/wage, or a copy of tax return;
3)      a copy of financial personal account and an extract from house (apartment) register of the place of residence or a document confirming title to the apartment (house);
4)      a reference from the interior authorities attesting absence of conviction for deliberate crime against life or health;
5)      a medical certificate of health condition of the person wishing to adopt a child issued by the state or municipal medical institution in a manner prescribed by the Ministry of Health of RF;
6)      a copy of marriage certificate (if married).

      The documents listed in subsections 2-4 hereof are valid for one year upon their issue, and the medical certificate of health condition within 3 months.

      The person applying for adoption of a child should present his passport, and in cases stipulated by Russian law another document attesting his identity.

      The guardianship and trusteeship authorities provide to the Russian citizens explanations of the matters related to adoption.

      In order to prepare an opinion on the possibility to become foster parents, the guardianship and trusteeship authorities draw an act based on the results of inspection of the living conditions of the persons wishing to adopt a child.

      Based on the application and the documents attached thereto, as well as on the act of inspection of the living conditions of the persons wishing to adopt a child, the guardianship and trusteeship authorities, within 15 days from the date of application, prepare an opinion on the possibility for the above persons to become foster parents, which serves as a ground for registration of the above persons as candidates for foster parents.

      A negative opinion and the resulting refusal to register as candidates for foster parents are communicated by the guardianship and trusteeship authorities to the applicant within 5 days following the date of signing of the opinion concerned. Simultaneously all the documents are returned and the procedure of appeal is explained to the applicant.

      After registration of the citizens as candidates for foster parents the guardianship and trusteeship authorities provide them with the information about the child (children) eligible for adoption and issue a warrant to visit the child (children) at the place of the childs (childrens) residence (location).

      The candidates for foster parents are entitled to:

-      receive a detailed information on the child, including that on the existence of the childs relatives;
-      apply to a medical institution for an independent medical check-up of the child to be adopted with participation of the representative of the institution which takes care of the child concerned, following the procedure approved by the Ministry of Education of RF and the Ministry of Health of RF.

      The candidates for foster parents are obliged to do the following personally:

-      to get acquainted and to establish a contact with the child;
-      to study the documents of the child eligible for adoption;
-      to confirm in writing the fact of study of the medical certificate of the childs health condition.

      If the candidates for foster parents failed to select a child for adoption at the place of their residence, they can apply to the executive authorities of the subject of the Russian Federation responsible for placing the child for upbringing in families (hereinafter a respective executive authority of the subject of the Russian Federation) living in any subject of the Russian Federation or to the Ministry of Education of the Russian Federation for information on children eligible for adoption.

      The above information is communicated to the candidates for foster parents against their application requesting to select a child for adoption and the guardianship and trusteeship authorities opinion on the possibility for them to become foster parents (valid within 1 year upon issue).

      A respective executive authority of the subject of the Russian Federation or the Ministry of Education of RF selects a child (children) for the candidates for foster parents from among the children registered, issues a warrant to visit a specific child (children) at the place of his (their) residence (location) and promptly notifies the same to the guardianship and trusteeship authorities or to a respective executive authority of the subject of the Russian Federation on whose territory the child concerned lives.

      The decision to permit adoption of a specific child is taken against the application of the candidates for foster parents requesting to establish adoption filed before a court at the place of the childs residence (location) in a manner prescribed by civil procedural law. Since part 1, Art. 263.4 of the Code of Civil Procedure of RSFSR stipulates that personal participation of the applicant, a representative of the guardianship and trusteeship authorities, and a prosecutor in consideration of the case is mandatory, the failure on the part of the court to meet these requirements of the law may be the ground for revocation of the decision in case the violation concerned resulted or could result in an erroneous decision on the adoption (part 2, Art. 306, part 1, Art. 308 of the Civil Procedure Code of RSFSR).

      At the same time it should be noted that the presence of the applicants representative duly authorized to conduct the case in court does not relieve the person(s) wishing to adopt a child from the obligation to come to the court. The representatives in cases of such category are entitled to perform actions without the principals personal involvement at the stages other than the court proceedings, in particular, to collect and adduce the required evidence, to give explanations to the judge on the merits of the application in the course of the case development for proceedings, to adduce additional evidence if so requested by the judge, to seek assistance in getting written and tangible evidence, etc.

      In case the child eligible for adoption has reached 10 years of age, his consent to adoption is also required. The childs consent is sought by the guardianship and trusteeship authorities and reflected in a separate document or in the opinion on justification of the adoption and its compliance with the interests of the child to be adopted.

      If the child has been living with the adoptive family prior to adoption and considered the candidates for foster parents to be his parents, the adoption, as an exception, may be effected without the childs consent.

      The parents can give their consent to adoption of their child by a specific person, or to adoption in general, without indication of a specific person. The parents consent to their child adoption can be given only after the child is born.

      The adoption is established by the court in a manner prescribed by the civil procedure law.

      The guardianship and trusteeship authorities at the place of residence (location) of the child eligible for adoption present to the court an opinion on the adoption justification and its compliance with the interests of the child to be adopted, containing information on the personal meeting of the candidate(s) for foster parent(s) with the child concerned.

      The rights and duties of the adoptive parents and the adopted child accrue from the moment the court judgement on establishment of adoption comes into legal force.

      The adoptive family must personally take the child from the place of the latters residence (location) having presented their passports or other documents confirming their identities and the court judgement.

      By virtue of para 1 and para 2, art. 137 of the Family Code of RF the adopted children and their descendants in respect of the adoptive parents and their relatives, and the adoptive parents and their relatives in respect of the adopted children and their descendants are fully equated with the relatives by birth as regards personal non-property and property rights and duties, and the adopted children simultaneously forfeit the above rights and are relieved of their duties with respect to their parents and other relatives. This is true for the cases when the child is adopted by spouses, by one of the spouses, or by a single person. It does not matter for the above consequences whether the adoptive parents are or are not entered into the childs birth certificate as his parents (para 6, Art.137 of the Family Code of RF).

      The exceptions are the cases when one of the adopted childs parents has died, and such parents parents (grandfather and grandmother) request that their rights and duties in respect of the adopted child be retained, provided the court finds that this is in the interests of the adopted child (para 4, Art. 137 of the Family Code of RF). For instance, the child cares for his grandmother, grandfather, aunt, uncle, other close relatives, and severance of contacts with them may inflict a psychological trauma on the child. At the same time, no consent of the adoptive parents is required to maintain legal ties with the relatives of the deceased parent. In case the child is adopted by one person, the court may also rule to preserve personal non-property and property rights and duties of one of the parents if so requested by a father, when the child is adopted by a woman, or by a mother, when the child is adopted by a man (para 3, Art. 137 of the Family Code of RF).

Maxim Yu. Kryzhansky,
Associate lawyer, expert


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