In the case of parental neglect, is it possible to adopt a child?

Verified 01 January 2023 - Directorate of Legal and Administrative Information (Prime Minister), Ministry of Justice

Yes, in the case of parental neglect, the adoption of a minor child is possible under certain conditions. A decision of judicial declaration of parental abandonment must be pronounced by the court.

A child is considered neglected when his or her parents have not maintained a relationship with him or her during the child's stayyear preceding the request in court.

The disinterest of the childt must be manifest and established : his parents no longer care for him or have any links with him that are necessary for his education and development).

The abandonment procedure is not possible in the following cases:

  • Parent is prevented, that is to say, he was unable to demonstrate his willingness to take an interest in his child (accident, illness, precariousness...).
  • A family member already assumes the child and has the will to take care of it

Which court to seize?

The competent court shall be that of the the place where the minor lives.

Who shall I contact

If the request is presented by the departmental child welfare service (ASE), the competent court shall be that of the head of the department where the minor was taken.

Who shall I contact

Conduct of the procedure

The matter shall be referred to the Court by request addressed or delivered to public prosecutor or in court.

The application may also be submitted by the person, the departmental child welfare department (ASE) or the institution to which the child is entrusted.

The recourse to a lawyer is obligatory.

Legal aid may be requested in case of insufficient resources.

The public prosecutor's office may take the matter up himself or at the request of the juvenile judge.

He may collect any information which he considers relevant to the situation. He gives his opinion on the case.

If the juvenile court is seised of proceedings in educational assistance, the file shall be sent to it for its opinion.

Who are the parties to the trial?

The parts are as follows:

  • Claimant
  • Parents of the minor
  • The person, institution or department that took the child in
  • Guardian of the minor (if there is one)
  • Public Prosecutor's Office (if it is the public prosecutor's office that is the source of the request).
Viewing the file

The file may be consulted by the parties until the day before the hearing. Lawyers can ask for copies, but they don't can't give them to the parties.


At the hearing, the applicant, the minor's parents or guardian, the person, service or establishment which took the child in shall be summoned.

The court can decide to hear the child. He can summon all the people he thinks it's worth auditioning.

The lawyers and the public prosecutor are informed of the date of the hearing.

In the case where the parent(s) are inot found, the court may decide to have a survey. In that case, he can wait 6 maximum month before making a decision.

Decision and appeal

The decision is notified to all parties to the trial by registered mail with notice of receipt.

It can be disputed before the court of appeal, in 15 days.

Who shall I contact

The prosecutor is notified of this decision and can appeal.


in the event of a decision to abandon, lParental authority is delegated to the service, the institution or person who took the child in.

The rules are not the same depending on whether the child has parentage made in respect of a single parent or both.

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Minor with 2 parents

When the judgment declaring parental neglect became definitive, the minor may be adopted in the following cases:

  • The judgment pronounced the abandonment of both parents
  • The judgment pronounced the parent's abandonment with respect to one parent and the other parent lost his or her rights in relation to parental authority and consented to the adoption

The minor may be adopted by a couple or by a single person.

Please note

the parents of a child who has been declared legally neglected may apply for rrestitution of their rights when the child has not been placed for adoption.

Minor with only one parent

When the judgment declaring parental neglect became definitive, the minor may be adopted.

The minor may be adopted by a couple or by a single person.

Please note

the parent of a child who has been found to have been forcibly neglected may apply for restitution of his rights when the child has not placed for adoption.

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