Stepparent adoption in the international context

There may be situations where partners separate, and one loses interest in the child or dies. The other partner, caring for the child, gets married, and the child and the new husband live together in the same household.

To form a complete family, including legally, the new stepparent decides to accept the child as their own, to adopt the child.

If the stepparent wants to adopt their child, Civil Code sets out several conditions that must be fulfilled.

Stepparent adoption with an international element is always a little more complicated. The international part usually lies in the residence of the prospective adopter and the child outside the Czech Republic. In the case of proceedings for the adoption of a child with an international element, it is essential to deal with the question if the Czech court has jurisdiction (can decide) and what the applicable law is.

Since there is no multilateral international treaty governing this matter, anyway, nor any European legislation, the answer can be found in the following:

  • A bilateral treaty on legal aid between the Czech Republic and the country concerned, if any such a treaty, or
  • Act No. 91/2012 Coll., on Private International Law.

It should be noted that if the Czech court does not have jurisdiction to decide the case, it cannot deal with it. If the Czech court has jurisdiction to decide the case, it will have to determine which law to apply to the case. The applicable law may depend, for example, on the nationality of the child or the adoptive parent, the residence of the parties, etc.