Can You Adopt An Adult? Here’s What To Do

adoption process

When talking about adoption, anyone would be quick to imagine infants and little children. But, many people are not aware that adoption can happen for adults, too. Unconventional as it might seem, this process is both legal and possible.

Adult adoption is becoming more common than ever. In many cases, having a new adult family member is a straightforward procedure. These adoptions do not require any background checks and certifications. All that’s important is the person for adoption must be of legal adult age and freely agree to the process.

Reasons For Adult Adoption

Technically, adults are independent and self-sufficient. Thus, they do not require any assistance that legal parents offer. So, why else should anyone go through all the paperwork?

For starters, adult adoption is not merely for establishing guardianship. Most adult adoptions take place for the following reasons:

Birth Family

There are cases when an adult reconnects with their birth parents. In that case, it’s possible to legalize and establish their parent-child relationship. The court will issue a new birth record and terminates whatever previous ties they might have.

Foster Family

Sometimes, children living with their foster family might not be legally available for adoption. As they reach their legal age, they opt for adoption to officially be a family member.


One of the most common reasons for adult adoption is inheritance. It is an easy method to establish rights of kin from those with legal ties. A legal adoption allows the parent to leave their financial assets or properties to the adopted individual.


If a stepchild develops a strong attachment to their stepparent, the stepparent can adopt them as an adult.

Perpetual Care

Sometimes, adult adoptions happen to offer long-term care for an adult who is incapable of caring for themselves. Adoptions of this type might take on responsibility for a disabled or challenged individual. As a result of the adoption procedure, the adult can assume responsibility and make decisions to care for their adoptive parents.

Adult Adoption Guidelines

Adult adoption guidelines and regulations differ from state to state. You can check with your local adoption agency if you’re thinking about adopting an adult.

Unlike the traditional adoption process, adult adoption is more straightforward. It only requires the filing of formal petitions to the court. The judge will consider your adoption petition without any further investigations. That is, however, unless the court decides that background tests are necessary.


Roadblocks to Adopting an Adult

In some situations, state laws might not approve adult adoption. Here are some of these instances:

Age Difference

Depending on the state’s specific requirement, age differences between the adoptive parent and their adoptee matter. As for most jurisdictions, the adopting party must be 18 years older than the individual for adoption.


In many cases, a previous sexual relationship between the two parties is a reason for rejection. Because courts are formalizing the parent-child connection, any sexual contact will prevent the adoption from taking place.


The court will not honor the adoption for any suspicion of fraud or deception. As an example, someone can convince a wealthy person to adopt them to inherit their money. The courts are likely to assume fraud if the adopting party does not fully accept or comprehend the process. Insurance, property, and marital difficulties are all examples of fraud.

Legal Enforcement

There are cases where the adoptive parents wish to keep the adoptee from their biological parents. The rules governing parental rights in these cases are complicated. Nonetheless, as the adult adoptee is of legal age, they can access the adoption registry.

How Much Does an Adult Adoption Cost?

Adult adoption is not as popular as traditional adoptions. On average, the cost for an adult adoption is about $800. In addition, legal fees and other fines range from $100 to $1,500. But, there are also cases where kinship or stepparent adoption might not cost more than $100.

Before Your Adoption

Anyone seeking adult adoption should familiarize themselves with their state’s regulations. The process of adoption, regardless of age, requires a thorough understanding of the matter.

Usually, parents seek support from a child custody attorney to help meet their child’s needs. But what about adult adoptees? Technically, an adult adoption might not require an attorney. However, the adoption criteria differ by state. So, it is best to consult with a professional before anything else.

Whether you are thinking of adopting an adult or have already started the process, a lawyer should help you every step of the way. They are the ones who will ensure that your case undergoes smooth processing and as quickly as possible.

About the Author

Related Articles

Scroll to Top