It was written on 23 July 2017. The law and practice in Turkey change all the time. Our guides are updated as frequently as possible - typically every three years - but may be out of date.
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This guide is about family law in Turkey and how it affects expats: legal separation, adoption of children and paternity.
For information on divorce, see our Guide to Divorce in Turkey.
The parts of law covered in this guide are, by their very nature, stressful and complicated. This is even worse if you're in a foreign country with little or no understanding of the law. Happily, Turkey's legal system is fairly easy to understand on a basic level,
Separation is where two people who have formerly been living together ‘as man and wife’ decide to go their separate ways but without (in the case of a married couple) divorcing and so bringing the marriage to an end.
Despite the expression ‘living together as man and wife’, the same arrangements apply in the case of same sex couples.
The concept of ‘living together’ requires some level of physical intimacy. These arrangements do not apply to people merely living together as friends.
There is no specific provision for dealing with such separations in Turkey, but people can bring a case before the Family Court under its general jurisdiction and the Court will apply much the same rules as it would apply in the case of a divorce except, of course, it would not end the marriage.
Despite our reputation for lustiness and romance, paternity proceedings in Turkey are few and far between.
Since 2011, if a person alleges that a child is the child of a particular person, the issue shall be determined conclusively by DNA testing and the court has the right to order the parties to undergo such testing.
If the person refuses to take the DNA test, they are likely to lose their case and to be found to be the father of the child. They can also be found to be in contempt of court. In this case, the Enforcement Court has the right to have you physically removed to the hospital for a test to be carried out.
In terms of procedure, the process is much the same as any other case brought before the Family Court.
A person found to be the father of a child will be ordered to make financial provision for that child. The amount depends upon the father’s means.
In addition to the right to ongoing support, the child also benefits from the right to inherit from its parent and all of the other social consequences that flow from recognition.
Formal adoption is rare in Turkey but it is recognised under Turkish law.
Informal adoption is allowed. This is very often between close family members and it is done without the intervention of the Court or any other state agency.
International adoptions to people habitually resident in Turkey are subject to a one-year trial period.
As in almost every country, a person adopting a child in Turkey acquires full parental responsibilities for that child and the adopted child is treated as the natural child of that person and acquires all such a child’s rights, including full inheritance rights.
Parents wishing to adopt a child in Turkey must first register with the Turkish Department of Social Services and be cleared as suitable adoptive parents. They must be over 30 years of age and, if a couple, must have been married for five years. Single people can also apply to be adoptive parents.
Once the parent has been accepted as a suitable candidate for adoption, a child is selected by the parents. They will be given access to the register of children available for adoption but may find a child in another way. There is no attempt to match racial or cultural backgrounds.
The process is documented and the final certificate of adoption is dealt with by the Family Court .
Family law is a specialised and very complex area of law. The things it deals with are almost always very important. It is therefore important to seek good legal advice from a lawyer who can speak your language.
|Turkey Country Guide
Essential facts and figures about Turkey
|Divorce in Turkey
How to get a Divorce in Turkey
|Child Abduction to Turkey
What to do if your child is taken to Turkey by the other parent.
I hope you have found this guide useful. If you need any further help, please contact me.Başak Yıldız Orkun 23 July 2017
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