Forming Family at Any Age: A Guide to Adult Adoption

Understanding Adult Adoption

Adoption is a beautiful journey of creating and expanding families. While we often think of it in the context of children, adult adoption is a beautiful part of the adoption landscape. Adult adoption involves legally establishing a parent-child relationship between two adults with the adoptor being at least ten years older than the adoptee. Unlike child adoption, adult adoption is usually less about parental duties and caretaking of a child.  It is more often about solidifying an existing bond, securing inheritance rights, or ensuring lifelong care for an adult with disabilities.

Why Consider Adult Adoption?

Many people are surprised to learn that adults can be adopted, yet there are numerous reasons you might consider this path. Adult adoption can legally cement an already strong emotional bond between two people, making a parent-child relationship “official.” It can also play a key role in estate planning, allowing you to secure inheritance rights for a loved one. In other cases, adult adoption can provide a framework for the lifelong care of an adult with special needs.

The Legal Process of Adult Adoption

The legal process of adult adoption in California begins with the preparation and signing of an Adult Adoption Agreement, which is basically a contract consenting to the adoption entered into by both the adoptor and the adoptee. If either the adoptor or the adoptee is married, the spouse must sign a consent to the adoption.  It is important to note that the consent of the adoptee’s biological or legal parents whose rights will be terminated is not required, which is a big difference to child adoption procedures. Another big difference in contrast to child adoption, adult adoption in California does not require a home study or agency involvement, which simplifies the procedure significantly and reduces the cost significantly – a home study typically costs $4,500.

Following signing of the Adoption Agreement, an  Adoption Petition will be filed along with the original Adoption Agreement and Spousal Consent. Then, a hearing will be set in a superior court. The judge reviews the documents and hears from the involved parties, and if all legal requirements are met, the judge will approve the adoption, and sign an Adoption Order, legally establishing a parent-child relationship between the two adults. The other parent will retain his or her parental rights.  The adoptee may choose to have a new birth certificate issued with a new name and naming the one remaining biological parent and the adopting parent.

Potential Challenges in Adult Adoption

While adult adoption in California tends to be less complex than in other states, you may still face potential challenges. Understanding these upfront can equip you to navigate the process more smoothly.

One possible obstacle is ensuring all necessary consent is obtained, particularly if the adopting adult or adoptee is married. In such cases, the spouse’s consent becomes paramount, which might become a sticking point in some situations.

Another challenge may arise during the court hearing. While usually straightforward, the judge may have questions regarding the reasons for the adoption or the relationship between the parties involved. It is important to be prepared to answer these questions in a clear and concise manner.

Additionally, while adult adoption can simplify matters of inheritance, it can also complicate them, particularly in the case of pre-existing biological children or other legal heirs who may object. Navigating this potential minefield may require careful planning and legal counsel.

Despite these challenges, many people find that the benefits of adult adoption far outweigh the difficulties, providing a sense of official family unity that is truly priceless.

How Moore Law for Children Can Help

The adoption lawyers at Moore Law for Children are here to help you navigate these waters. We understand that family is not just about biology, it’s about love, trust, and commitment. We are here to guide you through the process, providing compassionate and competent legal support tailored to your unique circumstances.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is adult adoption?

Adult adoption is a legal process that establishes a parent-child relationship between two adults at least ten years apart in age.

  • How is adult adoption different from child adoption?

While both processes establish a legal parent-child relationship, adult adoption typically focuses on legalizing an existing emotional bond, securing inheritance rights, or ensuring long-term care, bypassing the need for parental duties. It does not require a home study or notification to the biological parent.

  • Why do people consider adult adoption?

Adult adoption can serve to formalize an existing relationship, secure inheritance rights, or provide a framework for the lifelong care of an adult with special needs.

  • Who can be adopted in an adult adoption?

Any competent adult can be adopted, but some states have specific age or consent requirements. In California, the adoptor must be at least ten years older than the adoptee.

  • What is the legal process for adult adoption?

While it varies by state, the process generally includes filing a petition, obtaining the necessary consent, and attending a court hearing to finalize the adoption.

  • Are there any age restrictions for adult adoption?

Some states do have age restrictions or requirements for the adopting party and the adoptee. In California, the age requirement is the adoptor is ten years older than the adoptee. It is essential to consult with a knowledgeable attorney to understand your state’s specific laws.

  • What are the rights of the adopted adult?

An adopted adult has all the same legal rights as a biological child, including the right to inherit from the adoptive parent.

  • Can an adult adoption be reversed or annulled?

Typically, once an adult adoption is finalized, it cannot be reversed except under exceptional circumstances, such as fraud.

  • What are the potential challenges during the adult adoption process?

Challenges can include understanding varying state laws, obtaining necessary consent, and dealing with potential familial objections.

  • How can a law firm like Moore Law for Children assist with adult adoption?

Moore Law for Children provides comprehensive legal assistance throughout the adult adoption process, including understanding your state’s specific laws, filing the necessary paperwork, and providing guidance and support during the court hearing.

Contact us Today to Speak with an Experienced California Adoption Attorney

Whether you are considering adult adoption to formalize an existing bond, protect inheritance rights, or secure a framework for lifelong care, navigating the legal process can be challenging.

But remember, you don’t have to do this alone. At Moore Law for Children, we are here to offer our guidance and support every step of the way. We understand the profound importance of family, and we are committed to helping you build yours. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and let us help you on your journey towards extending your family tree.