When most people think of adoption, they probably picture a couple adopting a baby or young child. However, it is both possible and legal to adopt a fully-grown adult. Perhaps you found your birth mother and want to make her your legal and official mom or if you found the son you’ve been wanting your whole life, but he is now 20 years old. These are both examples of someone wanting to adopt an adult. In most situations, your new adult member of the family will just need to be of age and will also need to voluntarily agree to be adopted.
Why would you adopt an adult?
Legally, adoption is the same process regardless of if the person is an adult or a child. The court will create and issue a new birth certificate for the person adopted and any legal relationships that are currently existing for custodial or biological parents will end. The person who has been adopted will be able to change their last name and all of the adoption records will be then sealed.
Inheritance purposes are the most common reasons why adults become adopted. When it is for inheritance reasons, adopting an adult would allow for someone to more easily leave financial assets or property to the adopted adult.
Another common reason for adoption as an adult would be to formalize and legalize existing child and parent relationships. For instance, parents would be able to adopt a foster child or stepchild after they are adults. Adult adoption is popular for biological parents in addition to children who find their birth family after they have turned 18 and want to legally acknowledge their relationship. This also occurs when a father finds out they had a child that they were unaware they had.
Lastly, adoptions of adults take place to give care to an adult that may have a disability or diminished capacity. These adult adoptions can give someone responsibility over an adult that may be mentally challenged or physically disabled. Once they become adopted, the parent is able to be responsible for them and make the proper decisions for the adult daughter or son’s care.
Can an adult adoption be rejected?
Adult adoptions are not always allowed. The most common reason an adoption is rejected would be because of a sexual relationship between the adoptive and adopted parties. The court is legalizing and formalizing a parent and child relationship, therefore, if there is any sexual relationship in the past, the adoption will be prohibited.
Another reason adult adoptions are rejected would be age differences. In most states, the adopting party will need to be older than the person they are adopting.
Finally, if there is any fraud that is suspected, an adult adoption will be stopped. Even if there is alleged fraud, the adoption will not be granted. This is to avoid someone asking a wealthy person to adopt them so they are able to inherit their wealth. If the adopting party is not fully consenting or understanding, the courts will believe fraud is taking place.