An adult adoption creates a legally recognized parent-child relationship between two adults. The most common reasons for pursuing an adult adoption are to formalize an existing stepparent relationship or other close, but informal parent-child relationship, or to assist with estate planning. If the parties wish, a new birth certificate can be issued reflecting the new parent-child relationship.
No consent from the biological parents is required for an adult adoption, unless one of the parents is retaining their parental rights. It’s important that you consult with an attorney on the implications of an adult adoption, since the biological parents’ rights may terminate as part of the process. If either the adult child or parent is married, their spouses will need to consent to the adoption.
Since there is no homestudy investigation required in an adult adoption, the process can be completed in a matter of 2-3 months, or more quickly if necessary.
Can my biological parent retain their parental rights even though I’m adopted by another adult?
In most cases, yes. If your parent is married to the person adopting you, they will need to consent to the adoption and they will retain their parental rights. If, however, they are not married to the adult adopting you, their parental rights will be terminated automatically when the adoption finalizes, unless additional documents are prepared and approved by the Court. ALG can draft these documents and make sure that you don’t inadvertently sever a legal parent-child relationship. In California, it’s even possible to have more than two legal parents, but this requires additional pleadings and Court approval.
Can an Adult Adoption be used to adjust immigration status?
In most all cases, no. Using an adoption of any sort solely for immigration purposes can constitute fraud. Before undertaking any kind of adoption for the purpose of immigration, you should always consult with an experienced immigration attorney.
Does an Adult Adoption affect inheritance rights?
Yes, it certainly can. Generally, wills and trusts are used to direct one’s assets. However, an adult adoption may be useful in establishing that one is an “heir,” in the legal sense. It should also be noted, however, that in California an adult adoption also terminates any existing parent-child relationships unless the petition and order is carefully crafted to avoid that or the child’s other parent is married to the adopting stepparent.
Do my birth parents have to be notified of my adult adoption?
No. California law does not require that biological parents receive notice of the pending adoption.
Will I get a new birth certificate after an adult adoption?
In California, if an adult adoptee wishes to receive a new birth certificate after the adoption finalizes, he or she may do so. The original birth certificate will be sealed and a new certificate issued. All of the facts of the birth will remain the same, except the adopting parent’s name and birth date will replace that of the original parent or parents, depending on how the order is structured. An adoptee may also choose to keep their original birth certificate as is and simply have the Order of Adoption as proof of the adoption.
How long does an adult adoption take?
In California, an adult adoption typically takes no more than two to three months, depending on which County it is filed in.
Does everyone have to appear in court for an adult adoption?
California law does require that both the adopting parent or parents and the adoptee appear in court at a final hearing to confirm the adoption agreement. It’s typically a very quick, happy hearing with lots of picture-taking! A party may, however, authorize their attorney to appear on their behalf if personal appearance would be burdensome.