Adult adoptions can and do occur for a multitude of reasons. These include easing the ability to leave an inheritance, formalizing a personal relationship (i.e. locating a birth child, adopting a foster child or stepchild who has become an adult), and creating the ties needed to provide care for a mentally or physically disabled person (Murphy, 2009). Most states do allow adult adoptions, and in those states, restrictions tend to be the same (certain age differences are not allowed; sexual relationships between adoptive parent and adoptee are never permitted).  These types of adoptions mean that any other parent/child legal bond is overridden.

Every state has its own set of legal requirements and procedures in place for adopting an adult. In many ways, this type of adoption mirrors any other type of adoption. Generally, an individual or attorney may file an adoption petition through the state’s probate court. The mutual consent of the parties involved is required as only adults are involved. As with other adoptions, the adoptee receives a new birth certificate and, if desired, a new last name.

Check with your state to find details of the adult adoption process.


Murphy, Lee Ann Sontheimer.  Can You Legally Adopt An Adult?  December 2009.