Can You Adopt An Adult? Should You?

The adoption of someone over the age of 18 is often overlooked by families of all shapes and sizes. But you and your family can make the parent/child relationship legal and permanent even if the child is no longer technically a child. How? Here are some answers to your questions. 

Is Adult Adoption Legal?

Adoption laws vary by state. The good news is that the majority of states permit an adult to adopt another adult. However, several states do not provide any avenue to adopt once the child is over 18. 

Are There Restrictions?

Among states with adult adoption laws, most place few restrictions on who can participate. In many cases, only the adopter and adoptee must consent to the adoption. Some require the consent of the adoptee's spouse, if applicable. 

Generally, the most common restriction is that the adoptee must be younger than the adopter. Some states just require the adoptee to be younger than the adopter, while others place a minimum time frame on it. 

Some states have their own specific rules that go beyond these basic requirements. For instance, Arizona generally restricts adoption to adults between 18 and 21, relatives such as nieces or grandchildren, or foster parents adopting established foster children. 

Is the Process Difficult?

Once you establish that you and the adoptee are both eligible according to state laws, the actual adoption may be relatively simple. Because there are no parental rights to terminate, no need to ensure a suitable home for a child, and often no guardians or social workers, the adoption may take as little as a few months. 

Why Go to the Trouble?

The big remaining question you may have is whether or not it's worth the effort you may have to go to. This is especially so if you must meet the more specific standards of some states. 

The answer, of course, is deeply personal. Adopting an adult brings many benefits, including simply the feeling that a person has a family no matter where they go and what they do. But it also has practical effects, most notably in ensuring inheritance rights are secure. And of course, some adults can establish parental bonds which were denied them by events that happened early in childhood. 

Where Can You Learn More?

Could adult adoption be the right choice for your family? Is it possible in your state? Do you qualify? Find out by meeting with a family law attorney today.