Guide to Italian Stepchild Adoption
The stepchild adoption has existed since 1983 with Law no. 184. However, the application of the law was limited only to heterosexual couples. Law no.184 permits the adoption of the biological child of one of the spouses. In particular, this adoption requires the following elements:
- The consent of the biological parent;
- The consent of the child (if more than 14 years old) or his/her opinion (between the ages of 12 and 14);
- The adoption must correspond to the interest of the child.
The adoption is not automatic. In fact, it must be arranged by the Minors Court only after careful screening of several adopting partner prerequisites like: emotional suitability, the ability to educate, personal and economic situation, health and familiar environment.
As it was stated before, Italian stepchild adoption found its application only in the context of heterosexual couples. However, since 2007, Milan and Florence Courts have extended stepchild adoption towards homosexual couples. In fact, both decisions were based on the idea that the minor had the interest to have both an affective and legal relationships including duties and rights.
In 2014, Rome Tribunal – reiterating the consolidated principle within Italian and European Jurisprudence – affirmed that adopting adult sexual orientation cannot prevent stepchild adoption. In fact, the Tribunal had assessed the presence of all parental capacities of the adopting adult; which cannot be invalidated by the sexual orientation of the individual.
Furthermore, the Italian Supreme Court has highlighted the primacy of child interest against any other State interest. In particular, the judgement no. 12962/2016 has recognised the stepchild adoption for homosexual couples implementing Rome Tribunal decision. In other words, child well-being guides judicial decisions. For these reasons, the judge will always observe whether between the child and the adopting partner there is a relationship that deserves to be protected and preserved.
Thanks to the stepchild adoption:
- Parental responsibility belongs to both parents;
- The adopter has the same duties as the biological parent;
- The child becomes heir of the adopter.
In conclusion, it appears important to mention the Italian Constitutional Court opinion on stepchild adoption. Then, the Court affirmed that “the stepchild adoption does not cut familiar bond, but, on the contrary, it formalises the affective relationship established between two subjects with benefits for the child well-being”.
VGS family lawyers may advise you in relation to Stepchild Adoption and all related issues. Our lawyers collaborate with professionals like psychologists and social assistants with the purpose of offering tailored help in relation to your needs.