Adoption is commonly known as the process of an adult legally becoming the guardian of a child and obtaining all of the rights and responsibilities of a parent. However, an adult can also be adopted by another adult. In Alabama, individuals are considered to be minors until they reach the age of 19 years old, so anyone who is 19 years of age or older, is considered to be an adult. The process of adopting an adult is a little different than the process of adopting a child.
Adult adoptions only require a minimum amount of paperwork and legal fees compared to a child adoption. To adopt an adult, the adults should schedule an in-person consultation with an adoption attorney. The adoption attorney will draft and file a petition for adoption on behalf of the adult followed by a hearing in the Circuit Court. Adult adoptions tend to be much simpler than the adoption of a child because the parents of the adult being adopted, or adult adoptee, do not have to give their consent in order for the adoption of the adult to proceed. However, both adults involved in the adoption must consent to the adoption. There is also an age requirement, which requires there to be a 10-year age difference between the adults involved in the adoption.
There are numerous situations where an adult may desire to be legally adopted. For example, an adult foster child may wish to be legally adopted. As previously mentioned, child adoptions in Jefferson County are much more complex. Biological parents can make the adoption of foster children very difficult because they still have parental rights even though their child is no longer in their care. If an adult foster child was previously prohibited from getting adopted by their biological parents, they may want to be adopted now that they are considered an adult and are able to be adopted without their biological parents’ consent. Some foster children are placed in foster homes for lengthy periods of time, so they may wish to make their foster parents their official, legal parents after being in their care for so long. This would also allow the adult foster child to inherit from their foster parents, which is another common reason for an adult adoption because legal adoption makes the inheritance process easier.
Another situation that may lead to an adult adoption is if an individual is disabled. Disabilities can be physical or mental, and they can make it to where the adult cannot function on their own without a caregiver. The disabled adult may wish to be adopted by their caregiver to make their decision-making process easier because a caregiver cannot make any medical or legal decisions without the proper legal authority to do so.
Also, if an adult was adopted at birth, then they may want to be adopted by their biological parents after reconnecting with them, or if an adult was raised by another family member, they may want to be legally adopted by that family member. Stepchildren also commonly seek to be adopted as an adult. If a stepchild was prohibited from getting adopted due to one of their biological parents, then they might wait until they are adults to pursue adoption, so they can avoid a legal battle with their biological parent. Stepchildren may also want to be adopted by their stepparent if they were raised by them. Regardless of the reason, adult adoptions are possible and much easier to obtain than child adoptions in Birmingham, Alabama.
Attorney Steven A. Harris regularly blogs in the areas of family law, bankruptcy, probate, and real estate closings on this website. Mr. Harris tries to provide informative information to the public in easily digestible formats. Hopefully you enjoyed this article and feel free to supply feedback. We appreciate our readers & love to hear from you!