Adopting My Adult Stepchild in California

If you are a stepparent who has been a parent-figure in your stepchild’s life for years but were not able to adopt them prior to them turning eighteen-years-old, you will be heartened to learn you still have the opportunity to adopt them after they become adults.

Many stepparents want to adopt their stepchildren when the children are still young, but they are thwarted by a lack of consent from the biological parents and complicated requirements of adoption. Once your stepchild turns eighteen, however, the consent of the birth parents is not required, and the adoption process includes the opportunity to implement a name change if desired.

In fact, the process for adult adoptions is far more simple and straightforward than for the adoptions of minors. One of the most significant differences between an adult adoption and a traditional adoption is that, because the child in question is no longer a minor, no home study or any kind of investigation is necessary, which helps streamline the process. It also cuts down on expenses. Most adult adoptions can be completed in about six to twelve months, depending on the court’s schedule. It is important to note, however, that adult adoptions do not suffice for purposes of immigration.

Adopting your adult stepchild can formalize your position as their parent and highlight your commitment to being there for them in the future. An experienced adoption attorney can help you make this desire a reality.

Requirements for Adult Adoption

Adult adoption in California refers to the legal process of an adult adopting another adult who is younger than they are. Once the adult adoption is complete, the law recognizes the pair as parent and child–and affords them all the rights and responsibilities associated with a parent-child relationship, including inheritance rights. When a stepparent adopts an adult child, it does not affect the parental relationship of the adult child’s biological parent who is married to the stepparent. Regarding the other birth parent, the one not married to the stepparent, adult adoption usually, but does not have to, sever that parent’s legal rights. An adoptee can chose to maintain both birth parents’ parental rights while also creating the parent-child relationship with their stepparemt.

The basic requirements for an adult adoption of a stepchild include:

  • The stepchild must be at least eighteen years old and in agreement regarding the adoption.
  • You must be at least 10 years older than your stepchild.

Filing for an Adult Adoption

The Adoption Petition

You and your adult stepchild are the petitioners, and together, you will need to file a petition, which is the document that requests the court to order an approval of the proposed adoption. In it, you will need to include all the following information:

  • The name, age, birthdate, and birthplace of you and your stepchild;
  • The length of time you have known one another;
  • Your motivation for seeking the adult adoption;
  • The name of your spouse, the date of your marriage, and the names of your shared children–and the same information for your stepchild if they are married; and
  • How your adult adoption supports the public interest.

The Adoption Agreement

The adoption agreement represents the agreement between you and your stepchild, which verifies that you both agree to assume not only the legal relationship of parent and child but also the duties and responsibilities that go along with this relationship. Your agreement must be signed and dated by both of you.

The Order of Adoption

In order to finalize your adult adoption, you will need a court hearing, and if the presiding judge approves your request, they will issue an order of adoption. Both you and your adoptive stepchild must attend the hearing along with your spouse–your stepchild’s biological parent –and your stepchild’s spouse if they are married.

Discuss Your Adult Stepchild Adoption with an Experienced California Adoption Attorney Today

Adopting your adult stepchild is an excellent way to seal your love for and commitment to the stepchild you raised and think of as your own. Once your stepchild turns eighteen, you can make the parent-child relationship official in the eyes of the law with an adult adoption, which affords all the rights and responsibilities of this primary relationship. While the adult adoption process comes with fewer obstacles, it remains a legal matter for which professional legal counsel is well advised. If you are interested in adopting your adult stepchild, do not delay reaching out for more information today.