Is it Legal to Adopt an Adult?

While many people think adoption is strictly for children under eighteen, it is legal to adopt adults as well, and the process is virtually identical. Our attorneys at Cutter & Lax, Attorneys at Law are sharing the adoption process, benefits of adult adoption, and potential roadblocks.

Benefits of Adopting an Adult

Adopting an adult has the same ramifications as adopting a child, which means both parties are agreeing to assume the same parent-child relationship. It is essential you follow the guidelines for your particular state to ensure a smooth process. In California, that includes completing the required forms, obtaining a VS-44, Court Report of Adoption, filing these documents, attending the adoption hearing, and filing your new signed Order of Adoption. When an adult adoption is accepted, in most cases it nullifies previous parent/child relationships. The exception being in cases of a stepparent adopting an adult.

While reasons for adopting an adult run the gambit, there are three that are the most common.

Reasons for adopting an adult can include:

  • Inheritance: If a person dies without a will, the deceased individual’s property is inherited by the spouse and children—this extends to adopted children. Adopting an adult helps solidify this and protects the child from a will contest when present.
  • Formalize a pre-existing relationship: Stepparents and foster parents can file for adoption to strengthen the parent-child relationship. This is also true for adults who have discovered their birth parents and are interested in being formally reunited.
  • Better support a disabled individual: If an adult is in need of continuous care and needs a decisionmaker or responsible party to be better cared for, adopting this individual can be a good option.

Potential Roadblocks to Adult Adoption

Not all adult adoptions are granted, in fact, there are regulations that specifically prohibit adult adoption. These vary from state to state, so make sure you reach out to a knowledgeable family attorney in your area for guidance.

Some of these restrictions include:

  • The adopter/adoptee has had a previous sexual relationship.
  • Certain states require the adopter to be older than the adoptee.
  • Suspected fraudulence by either the adopter or adoptee for wealth gain or any other reason.

Adopting a child, adult or otherwise, is a big step and should be done with the help of an attorney. Our attorneys at Cutter & Lax, Attorneys at Law can help walk you through the California adoption process, as we have been practicing family law for over 30 years.

Interested in starting the process of adopting an adult? Want to learn more about the process? Call Cutter & Lax, Attorneys at Law. We can help you through the process.