Inheritance. This is the most common reason for adult adoption in California. Once an adult adopts another adult, they create a parent-child relationship that will be legally recognized. This new relationship allows for the adopted person to 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 an California adult adoption for stepparents. In adult adoptions:
- There is no requirement for consents of the natural parent or parents of the adult person being adopted
- A Social Services investigation is not required.
- The person being adopted may choose to change his or her name through the adoption proceeding. They may also choose to keep his or her existing name.
- The person being adopted may choose to change their birth certificate to show the adopting parent’s name.
- Spousal consent is required if a party is married.
- The adult adoption can be filed in California if one or more of the parties reside in California. This means that the person being adopted can live in another state if the person adopting resides in California.
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
- the proposed adoptee is physically disabled.
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.
The procedures for an adult adoption in California are set out in Family Code Sections 9320 to 9328. 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. The steps are fairly straight-forward and can easily be accomplished with the help of a legal document assistant.