Adult Adoption in California

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 
  • Transferring power of attorney in the event of incapacitation.
  • Simplifying complex estate planning issues. 

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.

Have Questions About Adult Adoption? Schedule a Confidential Case Evaluation with Jeremy Castro, an Experienced Adoption Lawyer in California

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 adoption, divorce, child custody, and so forth.