When people think of adoption, most picture a husband and wife holding a young child. It is, after all, their dream of being parents coming true. Another image that comes to mind might be a family of children of various ages in a courtroom finally being adopted by their happy looking new parents.
However, there are actually many cases where people choose to adopt an adult. It could be for a legal reason, or perhaps a more personal one. Whatever the cause, legally adopting an adult has its benefits for all involved.
The Legal Standpoint
The most common reason someone would like to adopt the adult in their life is to change the adult’s last name legally. People can go and have their names changed in the court system without the cost and paperwork of adoption. However, the more personal touch of asking the step-parent to be their parent legally makes the legal step feel more of a family coming together than something for the court system to simply officiate.
Also, adopting your step-child or foster child will give them a legal standing if you die without a will. While several people are making their end of life plans, some pass on unexpectedly without taking the time to have provisions to care for all the children they want to provide for after they have left this world for another. Adopting an adult gives them legal standing in inheriting from the estate of a deceased family member.
Another reason one might adopt an adult is if the adult in question has a disability that will require decisions made on their behalf in the near future. The disability could progress to the point the adult needs to have someone making all the medical and financial decisions for them.
It would leave the disabled adult vulnerable to someone who would take advantage of them if they did not have an immediate family member to do it for them. Adult adoption is the simplest solution to this type of problem plaguing thousands of adults with disabilities.
While these solutions have a personal connection, they are not solely for personal reasons. There are a few reasons, while they have a legal association, that are done for a more personal, emotional reason.
The Personal Side of Adult Adoption
Aging out of foster care for is often not a good experience. The new adult has worries about where they will stay, how they will support themselves, and if they will have anyone to help them on their beginning journey into adulthood.
Foster parents who received their child into their late teenage years and loved them as one of their own can adopt the new adult with their consent. It will give the new adult the support system they need to help succeed in the world they now don’t have to navigate alone and give the adult an emotional bond often missing in foster children who age out without a solid family structure.
There are also cases where a child will find their biological parents after being in the system for years, or perhaps adopted when they were babies after the parents gave up the child for their own personal reasons. The adult may decide to allow their biological parents to adopt them to give themselves some closure, among other personal reasons.
The parents may also want to adopt the biological child they gave up to make sure the child is provided for from their estate and give themselves some sense of relief. However, the adoption between the biological parents and the adult may negate any inheritance the adult may receive from their adoptive families unless there is a will specifying they get anything from an estate.
Another reason someone goes for adult adoption is when an adult wants to make their step-parent “legally” their parent. For whatever reason, the step-parent had been longer in their life and, in some cases, in better ways than the biological parent.
The child reaches adulthood without the parent being able to adopt them for one reason or another. Now that the child is an adult, the two consenting parties can make the step-parent “officially” the parent by the adult adoption process.
Navigating The Whole Process
In some areas, adopting an adult is as easy as filling out paperwork, however the process does require care and attention. It is always best to have an experienced California family law attorney on your side. Azemika & Azemika can help.
We are family law specialists and we understand that each case is as unique as the clients we represent. For comprehensive representation in the adoption process, contact us today.