5 Legal Issues You May Face While Adopting an Adult

Adult adoption is when adults legally adopt a person who has reached or crossed the age of eighteen. The adoptee adult has to consent without ulterior motives or pressure. Only then can the adoptive parents have that adult as their child.

The basic concept of such adoption reinforces the parent-child bond and transfers all the responsibilities to the adoptive parents. This, of course, comes with limitations that, if ignored, can jeopardize the adoption process.

If you’re planning for such a procedure, you must consider five legal issues you may face while adopting an adult. To keep yourself out of the hay, you should also learn why people adopt adults. 

Legal Issues When Adopting an Adult

Adult adoption procedures can vary across states in many ways. However, the limitations and other issues often remain the same. When you are adopting an adult in Georgia, for example, you’ll need to abide by the adoption laws and note down where your request to adopt an adult can be rejected. 

Not everyone can adopt adults, especially when something connects the adopter and the adoptee in ways that aren’t legally supported. Here are the primary legal issues associated with adult adoptions:

  • Age Differences

Age plays a huge role in the adult adoption process. You can’t adopt someone older than you, as adoption is between parents and children. The adoptive parents should be capable of providing for the adopted child. 

Parents, by definition, should be able to provide food, shelter, and security for their kids regardless of their age, which requires them to be more mature than their kids. They should be able to help their kids with education, such as getting admission to a college. If the adoptive parents don’t meet these basic criteria, they’ll face issues when adopting an adult. 

  • Past Involvement Between Two Parties

If the adoptive parent and the adult to be adopted were ever involved in a romantic or sexual relationship, the adoption procedure would be automatically rejected. Such a relationship can create a power struggle between the two parties, which affects the main reason for the adoption: a successful parent-child bond.

  • Adoption for Inheritance

While adoptive parents can adopt adult children to pass on their properties, they can’t adopt an adult with the motive to inherit that adoptee’s properties. It can also be the other way around. An individual can ask wealthy people to adopt them just to have their name written down for inheritance. 

The application will immediately be rejected if the lawyer senses these reasons for adoption. Such adoption can result in various crimes and assault cases, which is why adoption for such motives is highly discouraged. 

  • Forced Adult Adoption

Adoption applications will be instantly rejected when there’s a hint of forced adoption. A forced adoption can be either by the adoptive parents or the adoptee themself. 

Here are some cases of forced adoptions that are legal violations:

    • Forcing to adopt a married adult when their partner doesn’t consent;
    • Forcing the adoption of an adult who didn’t give any consent to the adoption;
    • An adult forcing or blackmailing a wealthy couple to adopt them against their will for an undisclosed reason;
    • Forcefully adopting an adult to inherit the wealth their biological parents have left for them.
  • Past Criminal Record

If the adoptive parents have past criminal records that they’re not cleared from, their wish to adopt an adult will be rejected. Individuals with a record of misbehaving with foster kids, physically assaulting their biological children, or having a history of criminal activities like drug abuse will not be favored. 

Similarly, adoptee adults with past criminal records with other families won’t be allowed to be adopted. 

Reasons for Adult Adoption

People can adopt adults as their children for several reasons. While most are for emotional reasons, some can also be for legal arrangements. Let’s look at a few reasons for legally adopting an adult:

  1. A couple who never had children and want to pass their inheritance to someone deserving can adopt an adult. They may not want to give up their properties and inheritance to a trust, preserve them well when they aren’t around anymore, or fall into the wrong hands.
  2. Relatives may adopt children who barely received love from their parents or have lost their parents very young. They often do so when they have an existing parent-child relationship and want to formalize it. 
  3. Relatives adopt adult children who are mentally and physically challenged, and their biological parents can no longer care for them.
  4. Capable people adopt challenged adults from orphanages, unable to care for themselves anymore.
  5. Biological parents who gave up their babies at birth can adopt back their own children, even when they’re adults.

How to Adopt an Adult

People adopting an adult must go through quite a few steps to finally adopt someone as their child. Following are the steps that will legally allow you to adopt the adult that you want as your child or simply want to care for them like parents by formalizing your relationship:

  • Collect the correct adoption papers from the lawyer’s office and carefully read the steps you need to carry out.
  • Gather witnesses for the adoption procedure.
  • Get the formal consent of the adult you aim to adopt.
  • If the adoptee is married, get consent from their spouse.
  • Fill out and sign the adoption form, and let the witnesses sign the form as well.
  • File a petition for adoption with your local trial court and schedule a court proceeding.
  • Present your case in the court on the court proceeding date.
  • Wait to receive a decree of adoption to complete the process finally. 

Final Thoughts

When you’re trying for adult adoption, ensure that you comply with the legal matters well and that your reasons for such an action are legitimate. If the adoption agency finds legal issues with your adoption process or senses ulterior motives, they will instantly reject your request.

To help you go through the procedures smoothly and clarify the steps, hire a lawyer who works with cases involving adopting an adult to get the best results.

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