Adult Adoption

by | Apr 27, 2023 | Adult Adoption

Adoption is a complex issue that often involves a lot of varying emotions from all parties involved. It is recommended to have an attorney assisting you with your adoption case to help ensure everything is correctly prepared and submitted.

When most people think of adoption, they usually think of a stepparent adopting the child of their partner. While this is the most common type of adoption, and Butler Law can assist you with these types of cases, adoption is not just for children.

Adult adoption (adopting a person 18 or older) happens more often than you would think. Like adoptions of children, most adult adoptions are between the adult child and a stepparent. There are many common reasons why the adoption did not occur while the child was a minor, including the other parent would not consent when the child was a minor, or even the parties were not ready for the commitment of adoption. The reasoning why the adoption did not occur while the child was a minor is not as important as why the adoption is now being sought. This reasoning is something that will need to be plead and submitted to the Court for consideration to approve the adoption.

For many people, adoption symbolizes the love and commitment to each other and to their family.  Adoptions can, however, provide more than a symbol of love and commitment. Adoptions must be taken very seriously as the adopting parent (or parents in some cases) and the person being adopted agree to legally have a parent-child relationship. This includes all benefits and responsibilities associated with such a relationship. If the adopted person is a child, this includes all responsibilities for the care of the child. If the adopted person is an adult, the responsibilities may not be as extensive, but the relationship is no less serious. Furthermore, adoption can create inheritances and intestate rights between the parties if one dies without a will. Adoption can also show a legal familial relationship that helps if a party is in the hospital, or when it becomes necessary to make healthcare decisions for a person.

For minor child adoptions, the adoption legally terminates the relationship with the parent or parents whose rights are being terminated so the adoption can occur. This is why the process requires extensive investigation and time in the Court system and can be contested by the parent whose rights will be terminated. For adult child adoptions, the existing parent of the adoptee, and spouse of the adopting parent, keep their parental rights.

Adult adoptions have a few important differences from minor child adoptions. First, an adult adoption does not require the other parent’s consent. There is no legal requirement to obtain the consent to adoption from the parent who is being replaced as the “absent parent”. Interestingly, the Court does require the adult to be adopted, and the adopting parent, submit a special Consent to Adoption if either are married.

Another key difference is an adult adoption does not require a home study or investigation of the adopting parent. This is a big difference from the adoption of a minor and it saves the cost of the investigation and the delay in the case that results from the need for the investigation and the investigator reporting back to the Court on their recommendations regarding the adoption. These differences often mean adult adoptions take a far shorter amount of time from start to finish than adoption of minors does.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Where do I file for an Adult Adoption- The Petition for Adoption is filed in the Superior Court located in county in which either the adopting parent or the person to be adopted resides. Generally, in California, so long as one of the parties is a resident of California the other party may reside in another state.
  • Can I change my name with an Adult Adoption? Absolutely! If the person to be adopted wants to have their legal name changed with the adoption this needs to be plead in the Petition and the appropriate pleadings must be submitted to the Court for processing with the state and federal government to effectuate the name change.