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Adopting an Adult Relative

Posted by LEISA WINTZ | Jun 23, 2022 | 0 Comments

When you think of adoption, you likely think of people adopting small babies or children. However, adult adoption is becoming increasingly more common in the United States. There are many benefits to adopting an adult relative for both the adopter and adoptee. In this blog article, we will cover ‘What is adult adoption?', the process of adopting an adult, and ‘Why adopt an adult?'.

What is Adult Adoption?

If you are looking to adopt in the United States, the process for obtaining adoption papers is the same whether you're adopting a child or an adult. Once the adult adoption papers are processed, the adoptee receives a new birth certificate and a new name, and any previous relationships with their biological parents are ended.

Adoption of an Adult Relative

If you or a loved one is interested in adult adoption, it is important to note that the adoption of an adult relative is managed on a state level. For some states, like Ohio or Alabama, adult adoption is not allowed unless the adoptee is under 21. Be sure to check the rules for the state you are located in.

To begin the adult adoption process, you will first need to meet the following requirements:

  • The adoptee must be over 18 years of age
  • Both parties must consent to the adoption
  • If the adoptee is married, the spouse may also need to agree to the adoption

While the biological parents of an adult adoptee can't deny the adoption, they must be notified of the final hearing.

Next, you will need to get the appropriate paperwork from your local courthouse or family law office. You will also need to obtain any evidence or documentation your state requires to process your adult adoption papers. You may want to work with a law firm or attorney that specializes in Family Law, especially if the person you are looking to adopt is mentally disabled. Once you have your paperwork together, you can return to your local courthouse to submit your adult adoption request.

If everything is in order, your paperwork will be stamped and signed, and you will be given a court date and time that you must appear at. At this court date, the judge will ensure that all the legal requirements have been met and the adoptee's rights have been considered. Once the judge approves, they will sign the paperwork, and your adult adoption papers will be issued.

After the adult adoption, any relationship with the adoptee's parents is officially over, and all legal documents regarding their relationship are no longer legal. A new birth certificate will be created for the adoptee with their adoptive parents' names, and the adoptee can legally change their last name to match their adoptive family if they wish.

Why Adopt an Adult Relative?

There are a few reasons adoption of an adult relative will occur:

  • Inheritance – This is the most common reason for adult adoption. One adult wishes to leave financial assets or property to another adult in the future.
  • Formalize a relationship – Often, step-parents or step-children want to recognize their relationship formally.
  • Special needs – Adult adoption also occurs when one adult plans to provide continual care for a younger adult who has a disability of some sort. This will make the adult relative adopter their legal caregiver. However, this is not the same situation as a conservatorship.

If you or a loved one is considering an adult relative adoption, you may want to speak to an experienced law firm to help you navigate the adult adoption process. At Family Matters Law Group, we are singularly equipped to offer well-rounded and holistic solutions for our clients, no matter their circumstances. Contact us today to discuss your specific situation.

About the Author


Leisa Wintz originally began her career as a marriage and family therapist. Ms. Wintz went on to attend law school and started practicing family law in 2009. However, she quickly realized that many family law practices lacked the empathy and compassion she believed were necessary in order to achi...


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