Adult Adoption

in California

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What is Adult Adoption?

When people hear the term “adoption,” they probably conjure an image of a child being adopted by an adult or adults, but can you adopt an adult? Yes, adoption is not limited to minors. In fact, there are specific laws in California allowing for “adult adoption” whereby a legal adult (i.e., someone 18 years of age or older) is legally adopted.  

The laws governing adult adoption in California can be found in Family Code Section 9300. This statutory provision states that an adult may be adopted by another adult, including a stepparent. 

In order for an adult adoption to take place, there are special spousal consent requirements that each party must fulfill. If the adoptive parent is married, they must obtain legal proof of their spouse’s consent to the adoption. Spousal consent must be obtained unless the individuals are legally separated, according to California Family Code Section 9301.

Reasons for Pursuing Adult Adoption

There are many reasons why an adult may want to pursue a legal adoption. For example, when an adult is adopted, all of the legal rights and privileges inherent in the parent-child relationship are bestowed upon the adopted adult, including:

  • Next of kin legal authority 
  • Simplifying complex estate planning issues. 
  • Transferring power of attorney in the event of incapacitation.

How to Adopt an Adult

The legal procedures necessary to complete an adult adoption in California are set forth in Family Code Sections 9320 through 9328. These procedures are predicated on the following prerequisites:

  • The individual adopting the adult must be older than the adoptee.
  • If the adoptee is married, they must secure their spouse’s permission before the adoptee can be adopted by an older adult.

If these prerequisites are satisfied, then the process for an adult adoption is fairly straightforward. The legal documents needed for an adult adoption include a petition that is filed with a court in the county in which the adopting adult or the adoptee resides. If they happen to reside in different counties, they can select the county court with the highest probability of completing an efficient adoption proceeding. This is important because filing the petition in a court with a massive backlog of cases and proceedings could unnecessarily delay the adult adoption proceeding for a significant period of time.

Depending on the court in which you file, it may be possible to complete the adult adoption in just a couple of months. The timeline is brief since there is no required investigation (in contrast to an adoption involving a minor).

Legal and Emotional Implications

An adult adoption can have both legal and emotional implications. For example, adult adoption can assist in resolving or circumventing potential legal challenges to the adopting adult’s Last Will and Testament or Trust. In addition, an adult adoption can impact the adoptee’s eligibility for health insurance coverage. For example, many people are surprised to discover that health insurance policies end for stepchildren at age 18 but are eligible to continue until age 25 for the policyholder’s lawful children. So, let’s say someone has a 20-year-old stepchild currently attending Golden Gate University. In this scenario, the implications of adopting the stepchild could extend to the child’s health coverage.


Jeremy Castro helped me with an adoption after my daughter’s dad passed away. My husband has been a step dad to her for 8 years and wanted to adopt her. Even though there is no way he can completely fill the role of her deceased father, he wanted to fully be there for her and offer comfort and emotional support for her. Jeremy and his wife Danielle were there every step of the way for us! I’m so grateful they were there to help with all of our questions and guide us though this process. Jermey’s passion for helping bring families together was so delightful.
This review is about my experience with Jeremy and team at Castro Law. After calling around numerous times to different firms, going to the law library, and reaching out to dads rights advocates. I still didn’t get much help. I made the best choice of my life by calling Castro Law. If you’re reading this I recommend at least giving them a call because they mean business. I finally feel at peace , they went above and beyond for me. The team is great at communicating, very knowledgeable, helpful, and are professional. In my experience mothers are the one favored in the courts, and get the better outcome. Jeremy and team were in my corner the whole time and proved that dads have rights too! Im with this team until my kids are 18 , thanks again Castro Law
I highly recommend Jeremy Castro and his associates to any future clients. They are legal professionals who: 1. Know and apply the law to your individual case to achieve the best possible outcome 2. Communicate in a fair and straightforward manner to all parties 3. Reduce the tension in an otherwise emotional setting and assist making objective decisions. They personally saw my case through to an amicable conclusion and their billing hours were appropriate. First class performance!
I wanted to take this time to write a review about my experience with Castro Law Offices. First off, they were not only FAST to my reply, but also very kind to my emotional situation. I was even handed some tissues for when I was crying. I was treated with the upmost respect (even though I'm sure I looked a little manic while in there explaining my case.) and kindness. They got my case close within a week, and also got me EVERYTHING I was asked for. I recommend Castro Law for ANYONE in need of lawyer assistance. Jeremy and his team work hard, day and night to make sure they meet all of their client's needs. If you're looking for immediate help and guidance with ANY attorney, Castro Law.
When things came to a point of contention with my children's father I knew I needed the help of an attorney. After weeks long search and hundreds of dollars in consultation fees with numerous other attorneys I finally found Jeremy! He is very knowledgeable regarding family law issues, authentic in his character and legal advice, as well as very reliable. As anyone in our shoes has been knows, the unknown can be very stressful. Jeremy made it a point to get back to me promptly when I contacted him...sometimes late into the night. He also was very transparent regarding communication with the other party. Would absolutely recommend Jeremy to anyone with with family law needs!
I was so happy I had decided to hire the Castro Law Office for my child custody and visitation case in Napa County. As a single father of three boys in the state of California, I felt as if I was already doomed thinking that the state would favor the mother regardless of my capability to care for our children. Jeremy was very empathetic and worked diligently to get myself in a good position for the hearing, as I hired him approximately a month prior to the court date. During the hearing, he was very stern and aggressive at the right moments. The situation I was in was extremely stressful and hiring the Castro Law Office helped put my mind at ease. He was very upfront and honest with me from the beginning and which is a trait I greatly appreciated. In the end, we were able to obtain an agreement that is best suited for the children and ourselves. I would hire them again for any other issues I might have in the future.

Have Questions About Adult Adoption?

Schedule a Confidential Case Review with an Experienced Attorney Today

If you are looking for information, or have questions that need to be answered about the adult adoption laws in California, contact the Castro Law Offices, P.C. today. Jeremy Castro is an experienced and skilled adoption lawyer in California. He and his legal team are ready and able to help with your adult adoption. The firm specializes in family law, including cases related to adoptiondivorcechild custody, and so forth.