Can we adopt our partner's child?

Can we adopt our partner's child?
Published on: 1 July 2022

Table of contents

If your partner's child does not have a parent, you could adopt him or her. You would then become the child's legal guardian together with your partner. A family lawyer can advise you on how to do this and what requirements you need to meet in order to be able to do so. He or she will draw up the application, as it is a long and complicated process.

When does a person consider adopting their partner's child?

The reasons why a person wants to adopt his or her partner's child may be various, among which the following stand out:

  • A parent who has raised a child alone and has no recognised second parent.
  • The biological parent is absent or deprived of parental rights.
  • The biological parent is dead.
  • The child is conceived through surrogacy and the father is not identified.

What are the requirements to be able to adopt your partner's child?

The person who is to adopt must always be over 25 years of age and at least 16 years older than the adoptee. Unless the adoption is of a sibling group or a child with special needs. You should also be aware that you cannot be adopted by more than one person unless you are married or in a similar relationship. Also, your criminal record will be taken into account when examining your capacity to adopt, as well as your incapacity, deprivation or suspension to qualify for adoption by court judgement.

Any person who may have a conflict of interest with the adoptee with respect to financial matters or legal proceedings is also ineligible for adoption. Finally, the relationship to the stepchild's biological parent, financial situation, etc., will be examined.

The adoptee does not have to be a minor, but may be of legal age as long as he/she can prove that the adopter and the adoptee have lived together for at least one year. He/she must not be a descendant of the adopter, nor a collateral relative of the second degree or close relative. In other words, you cannot adopt a sibling, nor can you adopt a brother-in-law or sister-in-law.

From the age of 14, a stepchild is considered mature enough to be considered, and therefore, prosecutors will listen to them and express their views on the adoption, thus validating their relationship with the adopter.

On the other hand, if the adoptee is a foreigner under the age of 18, he or she will be granted Spanish citizenship regardless of the will of the parties or the laws of the adoptee's country of origin, by order of the judge who constitutes the adoption.

However, if the adopted minor retains his or her nationality, according to the legal system of the country of origin, this will also be recognised in Spain. If the adopter is over eighteen years of age, he or she may choose.

The Spanish nationality of the adopter must be clear and true from the moment of adoption.

What documents must be provided?

A number of documents have to be collected:

  • Marriage certificate or marriage register of the couple.
  • Documents proving cohabitation with the adoptee and his/her biological father/mother.
  • Documents proving financial status. These documents are simply to know if they are solvent enough to take care of the child.
  • Birth certificate of the child.
  • Documents proving that the child has been in our care for a long time and we have been taking care of him/her for his/her education and maintenance.
  • The express consent of the biological parent, who is not our partner, must be given if possible.

Once we have all the documents, we have to draw up an application for adoption at the local magistrate's court where the adopter lives, giving all the details about us and the adoptee.

Adoption hearing

All adoptions are formed by judicial decision, so, in order to obtain them, it is necessary to initiate a voluntary judicial proceeding, which is governed by Law 15/2015, of 2 February, in its articles 33 to 42.

When the time is right, the court shall summon the applicant for adoption and the minor, who shall be over twelve years of age. The purpose of the summons is to obtain their consent. The summons may include someone who can prove the relationship between the two. They should be raised in advance. It may be that the parent to be disassociated refuses to do so. Then there will be a trial. Between them, if we want to continue with the adoption, we must prove that the parents neglect the child. On the other hand, it is the adoption applicant who occupies and acts as the adopter. As this is not possible, the court's decision will take into account what is most favourable for the child. To achieve this, a judge may require as many procedures as possible to help him or her make the right decision.

Finally, it is also important to note that in such proceedings, in conjunction with the adoption of a spouse or common-law partner, it may also be necessary to change the surname, in order to achieve the full integration of the adopter into the adopter's family.

Situations when applying

On the one hand, if the biological father or mother of the adoptive parent is unknown, it will be subject to the external control of the Public Prosecutor's Office, who will review and approve the situation.

On the other hand, if at the time of the adoption, the person to be adopted is aware of the existence of his or her biological parents, they must consent to the adoption.

The approval, if all the above-mentioned documents are provided and all the requirements are fulfilled, will be valid in approximately one to three months.

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