Top 3 Reasons for an Adult Adoption
Formalize step-parent or other non-parent relationship
In our practice, the majority of our clients seeking an adult adoption are honoring the people who raised them. They want to establish the legal relationship for emotional and spiritual reasons. For example, many children of blended families want to recognize the step-parent who was involved in their lives and was more of a father or mother than the biological parent was. Others were raised by grandparents, aunts, uncles, godparents, or foster parents. Whereas it may have been difficult, traumatic, or impossible to have terminated the biological parent’s parental rights as a minor, once the minor becomes an adult, consent from the biological parent is no longer required.
Sometimes people seek to establish inheritance rights or transfer wealth to an individual who is not related to them. There are ways to establish these rights with smart financial planning and estate planning. However, some people prefer to create a formal, legally recognized parent-child relationship to accomplish this. One common stereotypical example of a wealth preservation adoption is that of a wealthy businessman who has a younger girlfriend that he would like to transfer assets to in order to protect those assets.
Adults may want to adopt each other to confer benefits. Common examples may be same sex couples who, prior to the recent changes in the law, saw this as the best way to ensure they could establish inheritance rights, health care decision-making, and benefits for dependents that are available through the government or employers. College students have also come to us because they can qualify for certain financial aid, be involved in health care decision-making, or extend health insurance coverage through a step-parent. Adults with disabilities may be adopted by adults who have committed to taking care of them, such as a god parent wanting to establish rights over a disabled person they helped raise.
There are a variety of other reasons for an adult adoption, but these are the most common that we encounter in our law practice. If you are interested in learning more about how we can help you, please contact us.