Most people think of minor children when they think of adoption, but adults can be adopted too! In the State of Alabama, it is pretty simple to adopt an adult, provided both adults consent to the adoption. Just as in juvenile adoption, the adopted adult may choose to change their surname to match that of their adopter. The only other requirement is a ten-year age difference between the parties. Some common scenarios in which one adult may choose to adopt another adult include:
A disabled person who is unable to function independently may be adopted by a caregiver. The adoption of a mentally or physically disabled person can be very beneficial for both parties. Formally adopting a disabled person allows the adopting party to be responsible for them from a legal standpoint and to help make legal decisions for them since they cannot on their own.
A person who is gaining an inheritance may be adopted by the benefactor of the inheritance for legal inheritance rights. While you do not have to be related to someone to be given an inheritance, it usually makes it an easier process if you are. In addition, there are some circumstances like a vague Last Will and Testament that leave inheritance to “children” or “grandchildren,” with no specific names mentioned. An adult adoption would allow someone to legally claim this inheritance without any legal trouble. Our adoption attorney in Birmingham can certainly help.
An adult foster child that was unable to be legally adopted as a child may be adopted by foster parents. Foster care can be a complicated thing: in many cases, the biological parents still have parental rights. In these cases, a child is eligible to be fostered for an indefinite amount of time but is ineligible to be legally adopted. When the child ages out of foster care and becomes an adult, both parties may want to formalize their relationship as parent and child. This adoption also makes the child a legal heir to any inheritance.
A stepchild whose biological parent would not consent to adoption when they were a minor may be adopted by their stepparent. A stepparent adoption is a simple process when all parties consent to the adoption. However, if a biological parent does not consent to the adoption, the process becomes much more complicated. Many people in this situation choose to wait for the child to be an adult to adopt them instead of starting a long, expensive legal battle. This adoption also makes the child a legal heir to any inheritance.
A child that was adopted at birth may seek out their biological family and may be adopted by the birth parent(s). Local adoption lawyers can usually help you navigate through this probate process.
A child born to a biological father who did not know he had a child may choose to be adopted by the biological father.
A sibling who was “raised” by their elder sibling may choose to be adopted by the elder sibling.
Beyond all of these specific instances, sometimes two adults just form a special connection and feel more like a parent and child. No matter the reason, adult adoption is an easy process in Alabama. As long as both parties consent to the adoption, there will just be simple paperwork and legal fees involved.