guardianship in Spain

Application for legal guardianship in Spain

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According to Article 172 of the Spanish Civil Code, guardianship can be provided through family placement, and if this is not possible or not in the best interest of the child, it can be provided through residential care.

Who can apply for legal guardianship in such cases?


whose custody has been withdrawn have to request an interview with the corresponding Child Protection Centre in order to regain custody. An intervention will be initiated to assess the situation and the possibility that the children may return to them, once the reasons that led to the withdrawal have disappeared.

Parents who continue to have suspended parental authority are given a period of two years to apply for the suspension to be lifted, so that they can resume parental authority or guardianship.

Once the deadline has expired, the parents lose the right to request or oppose the measures taken for the protection of the child.

The Public Entity, during the two-year period, will study the situation and bring it to the attention of the Public Prosecutor’s Office, and will adopt any protective measures, such as a proposal for adoption, when there are well-founded reasons for the definitive impossibility of returning to the family of origin.

The extended family

(maternal and paternal) have the opportunity to apply for legal guardianship, having to undergo a series of interviews and collaborate with the process that is carried out to consider whether or not they are suitable for the child.

Is it possible to apply for legal guardianship from abroad?

Yes, family members will hold an interview with the Directorate General for Families and Protection of Minors, to request the guardianship of the minor/s and to be able to take them to their place of residence abroad.

The Directorate General of Families and Protection of Minors can initiate contact and coordination with the Embassy in Spain responsible in their country of residence, and with the consular agent in the Autonomous Community for the document arrangements of the minor/s.

A formal application is submitted at the Social Services offices of the place where the minor resides, confirming that they have sufficient requirements.

During this process, there will be a call regime with the minor/s and the family member who wishes to take them in. 

What are the steps to start the process?

  • Communicate your intentions to the responsible Child Protection Center of where the child is currently living.
  • An interview will be carried out with the family member who wishes to take in the child.
  • A social report is drawn up to obtain the certificate of suitability.
  • The child’s parents are informed of the decision.
  • A decision is made and resolved in accordance with Law 21/1987 of 11 November and Organic Law 1/1996, of 15 January on the Legal Protection of Minors and partial modification of the Civil Code and the Law of Civil Procedure.

Should you require any further information or legal representation in this matter, please do not hesitate to contact Pellicer & Heredia. We have a professional and dedicated team with many years of experience in legal advice.

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