Ratification by Belgium of the European Convention on the Adoption of Children (Revised)
On 7 May 2015, Belgium ratified the European Convention on the Adoption of Children (Revised) of 27 November 2008.
This convention entered into force in Belgium on 1 September 2015, and complements the 1993 Hague Convention.
The convention only applies to adoption of minor children which create a permanent parent-child relationship.
It decrees all essential conditions of the adoption.
The aim of the convention is to match developments in society and law with regard to the European Convention on Human Rights, on the basis that the child’s greater interests must at all times come before any other considerations.
The convention contains the following changes:
- Consent must in all cases be required from the father, even if the child is born out of wedlock.
- Consent from the child is required, if the child has sufficient judgement.
- The convention contains the possibility for non-married heterosexual couples who are joined by a partnership registered in a State that recognises this institution. It also leaves States free to extend adoptions to homosexual and heterosexual couples living together in a stable relationship.
- The new text ensures a better balance between the rights of the adopted child in knowing their identity and the rights of the biological parents in remaining anonymous.
- The minimum age of the adopter must be between 18 and 30, and the age difference between adopter and child should preferably be at least 16 years.
States are prohibited from imposing certain conditions on adoption: the number of times a person adopts cannot be limited, and a person cannot be stopped from adopting because they have or could have a child.