Turkey: Parents Of Different Nationalities: Certain Legal Aspects To Consider Before Expanding Your Family

Last Updated: 29 September 2016
Article by Fatma Esra Guzeloglu

Parents, in particular those with different nationalities should consider certain legal aspects before and after they decide to expand their family in order to have a saying on various important matters, avoid any unpleasant surprises and protect the best interest of their children.

Without a doubt, the world is becoming more and more international by the day as the means of communication and transportation rapidly enhance.

Correspondingly, a child having parents of different nationalities is not a rare phenomenon in today's world. Surely, it is very rewarding to be raised in a multicultural environment and your child will benefit from that. However, there are certain legal points you should be aware of and well-plan before having a child. Some of the main considerations are as follows:

Nationality of the child

There is not one single rule on how a person acquires his/her nationality. States establish and implement their own laws concerning how their citizenship is attained. This is why; the parents who would like to have a saying on their child's nationality should be aware of these different rules and plan accordingly, preferably before the birth of their child. Citizenship can be acquired by birth or after birth (by marriage, by naturalization, etc.). Here, our topic of interest concerns the citizenship as a birthright. In that regard, there are two common policies that States often adopt: national territory and/or common descent.

As the name suggests, national territory approach refers to where a person acquires the citizenship of the state where he is born in, such as in the USA. States which adopt this policy often also acknowledge citizenship by common descent but subject it to certain conditions. On the other hand, in the common descent policy the key factor is the nationality of the parents regardless of the territory where the child is born, such as in Turkey and many European, Asian and African countries. Similarly, states which adopt common descent policy tend to provide special rules in relation to individuals who are born in the territory of the respective country. In this respect it is important to be aware of these different rules and plan accordingly.

Dual citizenship is also an important subject to pay attention to given that states apply different policies in the subject matter. For example, some states allow their citizens to hold dual citizenship whereas some forbid or impose certain restrictions. Therefore a prior research on the matter plays a vital role in making a comprehensive decision.

When deciding on your child's nationality, what are the aspects that you should take into consideration? In our opinion, it is imperative that you consider:

  • Where you envisage your family to live on a long term basis
  • Visa regimes
  • Tax regimes (Some states subject their citizens' worldwide income to income tax, regardless of where they reside)

There may be other considerations that are of significance depending on the circumstances and preferences of the parents. Indeed, aside from the nationality, child's permanent residence and habitual residence shall also have certain legal consequences of which the parents should be aware.

Parents' custody rights over their child

The issue of custody rights may not be as straightforward as you may assume. Again, each state has its own rules on the matter. For example under Turkish Law, in accordance with Civil Code No. 4721 Article 337, if parents are not married, custody right resides with the mother. However if the parents are married, in principle, they exercise those rights together as long as the marriage lasts, pursuant to Article 336. When the parents get divorced, custody is granted only one of them. Therefore, under Turkish law there is no legal instrument called as "joint custody". If the parents are not or no longer married, only one of them may exercise custody rights over the child, whereas the other party has a right to personal relationship with the child. On the other hand, some countries like the UK have the concept of joint (shared) custody for unmarried or divorced parents.

Indeed, custody right is an important issue to consider before the birth of your child and it is advisable that you seek for a legal consultancy in that respect.

Divorce of the parents

When parents, especially those of different nationalities decide to get separated or divorced, it is of paramount importance that they consider the best interest of their children during the judicial process. Especially in cases where one of the parents wishes to relocate the child to a state other than the one child was last habitually resident in. In such circumstances, the parent should, preferably, have the consent of the other parent concerning the relocation of the child. However if the parents cannot agree on the matter, it is crucial that they pay attention to the applicable rules on child's relocation. Otherwise, it is highly likely to encounter legal implications both in civil and criminal nature. For example, if the conditions are met, left-behind parent may file a Return Application for child's return to his/her habitual residence pursuant to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.

Moreover, as undesirable as it may be, depending on the circumstances, the left-behind parent may file a criminal complaint against the parent who wrongfully relocates the child. This quarrel over the child would not only prolong and increase the level of complexity of the separation/divorce process but it may also cause severe negative effects on the child.

In summary, parents, in particular those with different nationalities should consider certain legal aspects before and after they decide to expand their family in order to have a saying on various important matters, avoid any unpleasant surprises and protect the best interest of their children.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of www.mondaq.com

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about Mondaq.com’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to unsubscribe@mondaq.com with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to webmaster@mondaq.com.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to EditorialAdvisor@mondaq.com.

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at enquiries@mondaq.com.

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at problems@mondaq.com and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.