When Adults Adopt Adults

In some states, it is perfectly legal for an adult to adopt another adult. You may be wondering what would prompt a person to adopt another adult, but after reading below, the reasoning behind this legal procedure should become clearer. Though each state has their own specific guidelines for adult adoptions, the following is an overview of general information.

Reasons for Adult Adoptions

*One of the most common circumstances involve adults who are incapacitated by a mental illness, a physical disability or a developmental disorder. Adoptions used in these circumstance are meant to take the place of a legally appointed guardian, who oversees legal, medical and financial matters for the adult with special needs.

*For inheritance purposes, leaving your assets to an adult "child" is less likely to be contested and challenged than leaving it to another, unconnected adult.

*Other commonly used reasons involve parent-child reunions, such as:

*To legally recognize a step-child or a former foster child who is now an adult.

*To affirm a relationship with a child that was your biological child, but raised by a different family.

*Fathers who were unaware of the existence of biological children until they were adults sometimes wish to signify their relationships by adoption.

*Parents reunited with biological offspring that were adopted out can initiate an adult adoption to reiterate their parent-child bond.

Adopting adult children in these circumstances can be done for inheritance purposes, but often the true motive is to affirm a parent-child relationship symbolically.

You Cannot Adopt an Adult Under These Circumstances

1. Fraud: An adult attempting to take advantage of another adult in order to benefit from an insurance policy or will is not a legal reason for adoption.

2. Sexual Relationship: The courts view an adoption as a parent-child relationship, so any type of suspected sexual relationship between the two adults will be cause for denial.

3. Age Difference: Many states require that the adult be older than the adopted adult, since parents are usually older, but in rare cases the states make exceptions. For example, you may wish to adopt a disabled aunt who is a few years older than you in order to better oversee her care and insure that she has continuing care after your death.

Important Points to Keep in Mind

*The adult being adopted must give consent to the adoption, unless unable to do so due to incapacity.

*If you are married, you may have to obtain the consent of your spouse to adopt another adult.

*Once approved, the adopted adult will be issued a new birth certificate and may now change their name.

*Just as with adopting minor children, all records relating to the adoption may be sealed.

*Ties to the adopted adult's biological parents are legally severed with the adoption order.

Family ties can mean more than just a biological offspring, and connections between adults can take on a new legal meaning with the option to adopt. Contact a family law firm, such as Slayton Law, for more information.