• how to adopt an adult in california

How to Adopt an Adult in California

In California, an adult adoption is a legal procedure in which an older adult adopts a younger adult. Upon the adoption becoming finalized, the parties will have a legal parent-child relationship. There are several reasons older adults seek to adopt younger adults. Some people choose to do it to help deal with complicated estate planning issues. Other people do it to solidify a parent child relationship in a stepparent situation. Whatever your reason may be to adopt an adult, contact us for help in preparing all the necessary legal documentation. Read on to learn more about how to adopt an adult in California.

Procedures On How to Adopt An Adult in California

California Family Code section 9300-9340 details the procedures of how to adopt an adult in California. For the adoption of an adult, the following must occur:

  1. The adopting parent must be older than the adult he/she is adopting.
  2. If the younger adult is married, he/she must get permission from his/her spouse to be adopted by the older adult.
  3. If the older adult is married, he/she must get permission from his/her spouse to adopt the younger adult.

In an adult adoption, a Petition and other documents are filed in the county where one of the parties resides. Since some counties are overburdened, if the party adopting and the party being adopted live in separate counties, it may be beneficial to investigate which county is more streamlined and less burdened. Dealing with an overburdened court could unnecessarily delay the adult adoption process several months.

There is no mandated investigation in an adult adoption as there is when adopting a minor child. Once the documents are filed with the court, a hearing can be set. Some courts schedule the adult adoption hearing automatically; other courts need a formal written request to schedule the hearing. At the hearing, the court will approve the adult adoption and an order will be entered confirming the adoption and any name change request.

Forms for an Adult Adoption

In order to adopt an adult in California, you will need to file the following legal documents at your local courthouse. In addition to the standard adult adoption forms, there may be other local forms that will be required to be submitted with the initial paperwork.

  • Adult Adoption Petition

The adult adoption petition must be filed to ask the court to make an order approving the adult adoption. The adult adoption petition must include the personal and residential information of both parties, how long both parties have known each other and the nature of their relationship, why they seek the adoption, their spouse’s information, the date the adult adoption agreement was signed, show that the adoption is in the public’s interest, and obtain the court’s approval.

  • Adult Adoption Agreement

The adult adoption agreement confirms that the younger party seeks to be adopted, defines the legal relationship of each party, and states all the duties and responsibilities of the parties upon adoption.

  • Consent of Spouses

If either party to the adoption has a spouse, they both must get the consent of each spouse. Each spouse must sign a consent form and accept the rights and responsibilities of the new parent-child relationship.

  • Adoption Order

The adoption order must detail information stated in the adult adoption petition and agreement. Sometimes it must also include signed copies of the consent of each spouse.

Once you complete the documents referenced above, you will need to file the adult adoption petition with the local court. The adoption agreement and order should also be filed along with the petition. The judge will check all the paperwork and confirm whether the facts in the petition and agreement are true. If everything is completed correctly, the court will grant the adoption petition.

There are no California judicial council forms for an adult adoption. In many California counties including Los Angeles County, there are not even “local forms” to use for the adult adoption process. This makes it a little more difficult to prepare the required paperwork in an adult adoption. You will need to prepare all the necessary pleadings from scratch on pleading paper and they must be in proper form.

Filing an adult adoption does not have to be complex, stressful or scary.  Contact A People’s Choice if you would like low-cost, professional assistance in preparing any of the legal documents for an adult adoption. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions on how to adopt an adult in California. You can start the adult adoption process now using our convenient online interview process.

Get help with your California legal documents today!

A People’s Choice can save you hundreds of dollars by preparing your legal documents instead of an expensive attorney!


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By |2018-01-18T15:47:27-07:00July 26th, 2015|Adoption|13 Comments

About the Author:

Sandra M. McCarthy, founder of A People’s Choice Inc., has worked exclusively in the legal field since 1976. She served as the 2004-2005 President of CALDA (California Association of Legal Document Assistants). She obtained a Paralegal Certificate from the University of California, Santa Barbara. During her career in the legal field, she has worked as a freelance paralegal, law office manager and paralegal studies teacher, and has co-authored numerous legal publications and written hundreds of self-help legal articles. As a registered Legal Document Assistant, Sandy is dedicated to providing affordable, low-cost, self-help document preparation services for California consumers in all 58 counties.


  1. Tamara November 10, 2018 at 6:35 am

    I’ve recently learned from my 83 yr old mother that she has adopted an adult male, whom I believe is in his 30’s. My brother and I were not informed of this happening by either our mom or this man, her sister was also unaware of this. How are we supposed to protect our elderly parents from scammers like this?

    • Sandy McCarthy November 13, 2018 at 8:29 pm

      Talk to an attorney if you feel your mother did not have the legal capacity to adopt this person.

  2. Joshua November 2, 2018 at 7:43 pm

    My son is leaving with me since last 20years and he 43years old, and I am 78years old. How can abopt him.

    • Sandy McCarthy November 13, 2018 at 8:35 pm

      We can help with adult adoption paperwork.

  3. Dana C May 30, 2018 at 1:07 pm


    I raised my ex wife’s child for the first two years of her life without knowing she wasn’t mine. We have remained very close for the last 16 years since my divorce with her mother.

    Is it possible to “adopt” my daughter with her consent now that she is eighteen and become her legal father WITHOUT affecting the birth mother’s legal status as her mother or would me “adopting” her change that status?


    • Sandy McCarthy May 31, 2018 at 10:54 am

      We have prepared and filed hundreds of Adult Adoption proceedings for exactly this same situation. Give our office a call at 800-747-2780 for help with the paperwork.

  4. Shiloh March 31, 2018 at 6:43 am

    My Uncle whom l have lived with for 11 year wants to adopt me. What does the process consist of for Solano County

    • Sandy McCarthy March 31, 2018 at 2:55 pm

      It is a three part process – prepare forms, get hearing set, attend hearing. We can help you file an adult adoption in Solano County by preparing the required multiple forms as well as request the court set the one required hearing. Both parties would need to attend the adoption hearing and the order of adoption should be granted at that hearing. Please feel free to reach out to us at 800-747-2780 for assistance.

  5. Joe Atencio January 10, 2018 at 10:57 am

    If I as a citizen adopt an immigrant adult that came in to the us legally with a visa does he get permanent resident privilege?

    • Sandy McCarthy January 12, 2018 at 4:22 am

      Speak to an immigration attorney but it is my understanding that adult adoption does NOT change the standard immigration process nor provide any special permanent resident privileges.

  6. Robin Peer October 8, 2017 at 9:51 pm

    Would like to adopt my 18 yr old step son. He has lived with my husband (his father) since he was 12 years old. He wants to be adopted by me. Do we need to have his legal mothers consent in the state of California.

    • Sandy McCarthy October 9, 2017 at 7:46 am

      When filing for an adult adoption, parental consent of the biological parents is not necessary. Our office can prepare all of the required adult adoption documentation and get the hearing set for you. Give us a call at 800-747-2780.

    • Sandy McCarthy October 10, 2017 at 11:30 am

      If your stepson is 18, he is considered an adult and we can help you prepare and file an adult adoption. Adult adoptions in California do not require consent of the biological parents and are a much easier process than a stepparent adoption of a minor. Please give us a call at 800-747-2780 for help with the paperwork.

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