Belgian Official Journals of 16 May 2003 and 16 December 2005
§ 1. For the purposes hereof:
a) an adoptive parent is understood to mean one person, spouses or a cohabiting couple;
b) a cohabiting couple is understood to mean two people legally registered as cohabitingor having lived together on an ongoing basis and having an emotional commitment for at least three years at the time they submit their adoption application, provided that they are not bound by a family relationship which prohibits marriage between them and for which an exemption cannot be granted by the King;
c) a child is understood to mean a person aged under eighteen.
Concerning theconditions of adoption
All adoptions must be based on just grounds and, if the adoption concerns a child, it can only take place if it is in the child’s best interests and with respect for his or her fundamental rights as recognised in international law.
The adoptive parent or parents must be aged at least twenty-five and be at least fifteen years olderthan the adopted child.
However, if the adopted child is a first degree descendant or an adopted child of the spouse or of the cohabitee, even if he or she is deceased, of the adoptive parent, it is sufficient for the latter to be aged eighteen and be ten years older than the adopted child.
These conditions must be met at the time the adoption application is submitted.
If theadoptive parent or parents want to adopt a child they must be eligible and suited to adopt a child.
To be suited to adopt, the person must have the necessary socio-psychological qualities to do so.
The person’s suitability shall be assessed by the Family Court Division on the basis of a social investigation ordered by it. The person or persons wanting to adopt a child must, priorto such an assessment of their suitability, have completed the preparation phase organised by the competent Community, including in particular information on the stages involved in the adoption procedure, the legal effects and other consequences of adoption as well as the possibility and usefulness of a post-adoption follow-up. The court shall take into account, in particular, the personal, familyand medical situation of the prospective adopter and the reasons for adoption.
A social investigation is not however compulsory when the adoptive parent wants to adopt a child:
1° who is a relative, up to the third degree, of the adoptive parent, his or her spouse or his or her cohabitee, even deceased; or
2° whose daily life he or she already shares or with whom he or she already has socialand emotional ties.
Special provisions of private international law
Any natural person or legal entity acting as an adoption intermediary must satisfy the conditions imposed on him/her/it by the laws of the State where he/she /it is based.
Concerning international adoptions
A person or persons habitually resident in Belgium and wantingto adopt a child habitually resident in a foreign country must, before taking any steps whatsoever with a view to adopting a child, be pre-certified as qualified and suited to undertake an international adoption.
Prior to the assessment of their suitability, they must have completed the preparation phase organised by the competent Community, including in particular information on the stagesinvolved in the adoption procedure, the legal effects and other consequences of adoption as well as the possibility and usefulness of a post-adoption follow-up.
This is compulsory for adoptive parents, even if they are related to the child whom they want to adopt.
A child may only be brought to Belgium for adoption and the adoption may only take place if the following...