Although adopting an adult may seem unusual to some, there are many reasons people choose to do so, and it is more common that you might think. Typically, adult adoption is sought to legalize an existing relationship, bestow legal rights on another, or to provide care for persons unable to care for themselves.
The legal procedure for adopting an adult is the same as that of a child, but is usually an easier and faster process, as the adult adoptee can consent to their own adoption. Also, just as in the adoption of minors, the court issues a new birth certificate for the adoptee and severs any previous biological or custodial relationships.
What Are Some Reasons People Adopt Adults?
There are a variety of reasons people choose to adopt, each with its own unique situation. The following are some of the more common reasons:
- Inheritance: The most common reason is for inheritance purposes. Once finalized, the adoptee is then legally allowed to inherit the adoptive parents’ property and assets following their death. Inheritance laws can be complicated, and courts often challenge the recipient if there is no legal relationship to the deceased. Adoption makes the process less complicated.
- Existing relationship: Another common reason is to legally formalize an existing relationship between a parent and child, such as a stepchild or foster child.
- Stepchild: This is a common reason in situations in which the child was primarily or fully raised by a stepparent and the biological parent refused to terminate parental rights and consent to an adoption when the child was a minor.
- Foster child: Once they reach 18 years of age, foster children are aged out of the system and legally on their own. This can be a very emotional and difficult situation for the child, especially if the child does not want to return to the birth family or there are no existing biological family members. Adult adoption is an excellent resolution if the family and foster children want to remain together.
- Custodial care: Adult adoption is common in cases involving adults with diminished capacity or mental or physical disabilities who are unable to care for themselves. Adoption allows the caregiver to assume responsibility and make legal and medical decisions for the individual.
- Birth family: Sometimes adopted children wish to seek out their birth family after reaching adulthood. Or the birth family wants to reunite with the adopted child. Either case can result in adult adoption to legally bind the biological family together again. Although this scenario can be heartbreaking to the adoptive family, in situations in which the adopted child and parents never developed a bond, the adoptee may find more comfort and belonging with the biological family and want to reunite.
Are Names Legally Changed in Adult Adoption?
When adopting children, families are given the right to change the child’s last or full name, depending on their preference and whether a name change is a necessity for safety purposes. In contrast to the adoption of children, adult adoptees have the right to make their own decision on whether to change their name to that of the adoptive family. There are no requirements for name changes in adult adoptions; it is purely a personal decision of the adoptee.
Cherry Hill Family Lawyers at Burnham Douglass Assist Clients Seeking Adult Adoption
If you are interested in adopting an adult, or are an adult who wishes to be adopted, the experienced Cherry Hill family lawyers at Burnham Douglass can help you legally formalize the relationship. Contact us online or call us at 856-751-5505 for a free consultation. We are located in Marlton and Northfield, New Jersey, and we serve clients throughout South Jersey, including Camden County, Burlington County, Atlantic County, Gloucester County, and Mercer County.