An adult adoption is the adoption of any person who is 18 years of age or older. California, New York, Pennsylvania, and Virginia are a few of the states that allow adult adoptions. In contrast, Alabama, Arizona, Hawaii, Michigan, Nebraska and Ohio prohibit adult adoptions.
Should I Adopt an Adult?
There are different reasons to adopt an adult:
- Estate planning – There are laws that grant rights and privileges to the parent-child relationship (such as inheritance rights) and these rights apply to adoptive parent-child relationships as well. So adult adoptions can help solve some estate planning issues, particularly if the adoptive parent dies intestate (i.e. without a will).
- Real property taxes – In some states, adult adoptions may minimize tax obligations for real property. In California, for example, real property transferred between parent and child is not reassessed for tax purposes.
- Emotional bonds – Adults with long-lasting emotional bonds may choose to formalize their relationship through an adult adoption. For example, many adults choose to adopt their adult stepchildren. You may want to consult with Step-Parent Adoption Lawyers regarding this type of adoptive process.
There may be difficulties for some adult adoptions:
- Age – Some adoption laws require a minimum age difference between the adoptive parent and child.
- Nature of the adoptive relationship – The incest laws of some states may prohibit adult adoptions where the adoptive parent and the adult are involved in an adoptive sexual relationship.
How Do I Adopt an Adult?
The specific rules for adoptions vary from state to state. Generally, however, the following must occur:
- File a petition – To become the parent of another adult, a petition to adopt must be submitted to and approved by the appropriate state court.
- Obtain consent – Consent of the adoptee is necessary. Spousal consent may also be required.
- Receive an Order of Adoption – If a judge approves the petition, the judge will sign a formal court Order of Adoption.
Do I Need a Lawyer to Adopt an Adult?
Petitions to adopt are complicated to prepare. A family law attorney is familiar with the adoption laws of your state and can help you properly fulfill the petition requirements.