If you are planning on legally adopting an adult, you can do so. Just keep in mind that the place you live will affect the restrictions that you may have to face. For instance, some states in the US allow you to legally adopt someone over 18, but they require that you have known the person for a couple of years before.
A friend of mine recently adopted his 20-year sibling, and he came to me for help when getting the process ready. So, I know how tedious it is. I touched on everything you need to know about this, including all the reasons your application may get rejected and what you can do about this.
Can You Legally be Adopted Over the Age of 18?
In many parts of the world, you can be legally adopted even if you are above the age of 18. The process is the same as when you are adopting a child – the adoptive parent will have to file a petition, while the adoptee would have to file a consent form.
Why Should You Adopt Someone Who Is Over 18?
When you adopt an adult, their birth certificate changes and they can change their surname. A young adult that wants to start anew could benefit from this. The courts would also issue a new birth certificate with any existing legal relationship with their biological or custodial guardians removed. The adoptee would be able to have all their records sealed once done.
Another reason to adopt an adult is to formalize existing relationships. You may have been someone’s foster parent, so you can take things further and make them your legal child. Adult adoption is good for children who were adopted as kids and have rekindled the bond with their biological parents, as they can legally have them as their parents again.
Last but not least, adult adoptions can help you take care of someone who may have a disability or form of diminished capacity. You will take them under your care to treat and monitor them. A lot of the time, siblings end up adopting younger siblings with disabilities when their parents are not in their lives.
Are There Any Restrictions on Who Can Be Adopted Beyond the Age of 18?
Some countries and states have restrictions on whether you can adopt adults who are over 18. Usually, these restrictions are based on residency, disability, and your relationship with people you know. Many states in the U.S. also require that you have closeness with the new adoptee and that you lived with them during their minor years, like in states like Ohio.
You may not be allowed to adopt anyone who is older than you.
Why Do Some Applications Get Rejected?
As mentioned, the process of adopting an adult is identical to adopting a child. However, in comparison, quite a few adult adoption applications get rejected. There are a couple of reasons why – let’s talk about them.
If there was a pre-existing sexual relationship between you and the other party, the courts would prohibit the adoption as you are attempting to formalize a child and parent-relationship.
Also, there are age restrictions on how old someone can be when they are adopted. Most of the time, you have to be older than the person you are trying to take in. It’s not hard to imagine why, as the courts are once again formalizing a child and parent relationship. This would not be possible if you are younger than the person that you are going to be taking care of.
Lastly, suspected fraud can stop the adoption in its tracks. Someone could be trying to adopt a person just to inherit their property. Someone like this could be after anything and not just inheritance and property, as insurance and marital frauds count too.
Similar to fraud, you may have been convicted for some crimes. You might be able to hire a lawyer that specializes in these criminal practice areas to help.
Just keep in mind if you have a case ongoing, there are multiple criminal case stages to go through so you might not be able to adopt for a while.
If you are planning on adopting an adult, it is always advised that you take a look at the necessary laws in your area. This will help you create the best plan to go ahead with the process. I’ve touched on this in the section below.
How Do You Find the Best Lawyer to Adopt an Adult?
There are quite a few factors and tips to consider. The most important point would be how much experience they have. The attorney should not only be someone with a lot of experience in adoption cases but also should have experience handling specific cases like yours. They can fix any problems that pop up.
No surprise, some of the best lawyers are expensive. They are good at what they do so they charge premium rates. You may be able to get into a payment plan with one of them if you can’t afford to pay upfront but would still like their services.
You should also consider the lawyer’s schedule. Even if they may seem perfect, they may not be the best choice to work with as they are very busy. You would likely only be able to communicate with them through their assistant.
Legally Adopt an Adult Final Thoughts
There are many reasons why people adopt adults. The most obvious is when people want to formalize their relationship with a foster child or an adult that they have taken care of. This article takes a look at a range of things affecting this topic, like the restrictions you’ll have to deal with, and what you can do about this.
It even touched on how to find the best attorney to help you with the adoption process. Remember to keep in mind experience, schedule and even budget.
Hopefully, you found all these points useful. What did you think? If you want to legally adopt an adult, speak to a law firm.