Inheritance. This is the most common reason for adult adoption, which creates a parent-child relationship that will be legally recognized so that the adopted person can inherit from the adoptive parent(s).
Formalizing a parent-child relationship. When a previous stepparent-stepchild, foster parent-foster child, or informal parent-child relationship existed, the adult parties may want to formalize the relationship through adoption.
Perpetual Care. If the person to be adopted is of diminished capacity or abilities, adoption may provide a means of assuring him/her of lifetime care under family insurance, as a legal family member, or through inheritance.
In California, any adult person may adopt another younger person. The person being adopted may be unrelated, an adult stepchild, niece, nephew, cousin or grandchild of the adopting person. Often in a stepparent situation, when the legal parent’s rights cannot be terminated nor consent obtained, the parties can wait until the minor is 18 and proceed with a stepparent adult adoption
. In adult adoptions:
- Neither the consent of the natural parent or parents of the person to be adopted is required.
- A Social Services investigation is typically not required.
- The person being adopted may elect to change his or her name through the adoption proceeding or may elect to keep his or her existing name.
- Spousal consent is required if a party is married.
A person may not adopt more than one unrelated adult within one year of the person’s adoption of an unrelated adult, unless the proposed adoptee (the person being adopted) is a biological sibling of a person previously adopted or unless the proposed adoptee is disabled or physically handicapped. In addition, a person may not adopt an unrelated adult within one year of an adoption of another person by the prospective adoptive parent’s spouse unless the proposed adoptee is a biological sibling of a person previously adopted.
A married person who is not lawfully separated from their spouse may NOT ADOPT an adult without the consent of their spouse, provided their spouse is capable of giving that consent. A married person who is not lawfully separated from their spouse may NOT BE ADOPTED without the consent of their spouse, provided that their spouse is capable of giving that consent. The consent of the parent(s) of the proposed adoptee , the Children’s Department of Social Services, or any other person is not required.
Since there is no required investigation, an adult adoption in California can usually be completed within a very short period of time – usually 1 to 2 months.