Can an adult adopt another adult? What does it mean to adopt an adult? Is that even possible in Georgia? Why would anyone want to adopt another adult, anyway?
Just because the concept is rare or different does not mean it is not possible.
Even though we usually think of adoptions as minor children being adopted by a family, one adult can adopt another under certain circumstances in Georgia.
Let’s start off with a look at an hypothetical example adult adoption case, where this might be the perfect solution to someone’s scenario.
Adopting Another Adult – An Example
“Kevin had grown up in “the system” – the foster care system. Abandoned by his parents who wanted more to do with drugs than raising kids, Kevin had been transferred from foster home to foster home since he was 8 years old. Being older, it was harder for him to find a family to take him in permanently. He soon grew tired of hoping, and instead bent his head down and studied like crazy so he could graduate high school early and be on his own. He was 17 years old when he graduated high school, got a bunch of scholarships – some because of his grades, others because of his story of being in foster care and working hard to come out on top – and was able to move out of his foster home and live on campus in a nearby college town.
Now 19 years old and in his second year of college, Kevin was on the 5 year plan – working nights and going to school during the day. But even though Kevin had a rough childhood and no real family to call his own, he wasn’t alone – his old high school language arts teacher, Mr. Brandon, kept tabs on him after he finished his class his sophomore year, up to when he graduated high school, and on throughout the years following. Mr. Brandon and his wife would often reach out to Kevin to check in on him and make sure he was doing well, and even invite him over for dinner on the weekends when he was free. When Kevin’s work schedule got really hectic around finals, Mrs. Brandon would take him food to his dorm and add a care package of Emergen-C and cough drops, to help him get through the exams and work during cold and flu season.
Over the months and soon years, the Brandons, who never had children of their own, really grew close to Kevin – and Kevin to them. He became like a son to them and they were like the parents he never had. One day, while scrolling through social media, Mr. Brandon came across a video of Your Law Firm, explaining how adoption works – and how you can even adopt another adult. Mr. Brandon quickly showed Mrs. Brandon, and they both thought the same thing – what if they adopted Kevin? Yes, he was already an adult and his own person, but they were becoming more like family every day, and why not actually become family? They knew Kevin’s story in and out, and knew he didn’t have any biological family or even legal family to call his own.
So one night, when Kevin’s school and work slowed down, they had Kevin over for dinner and presented their idea to him – what if the Brandons adopted Kevin, and he could take their last name, inherit from them, and they would become, officially, the family that they already were in reality? Kevin was shocked. He had given up all hope of family back when he was a teenager and realized no one wanted to adopt an older kid. But now, here were two people he respected and loved – and who he already saw as parents – bringing up adoption and wanting to be his family for real, even as an adult. He almost cried, right then and there. He told them he was super grateful and that he’d need to think about it. They said no rush and they totally understood. Then, later, when he was about to leave, he let them know – yes, he would be honored to be adopted and be their son. Then, Mrs. Brandon cried and gave him a big hug and said, “Welcome to the family, Kevin Brandon!” Kevin and Mr. Brandon laughed and hugged Mrs. Brandon and each other.
After that, the adoption process was simply a formalization of their family status. Mr. and Mrs. Brandon had a lawyer draft up the paperwork, and Kevin signed his agreement to being adopted as an adult. He wanted his name changed, so they made sure to ask for that in the paperwork, too. The judge heard their story and granted the adoption. From that day on, all three Brandons were officially and forevermore a family.”
Can an Adult Adopt Another Adult?
Yes – in most if not all states in the United States, an adult is usually free to adopt another adult. The adoption process will be different state to state, but it is possible in most, if not all states.
In the example story above, the parties all lived in Georgia – and Georgia does allow for adult adoptions.
Georgia Adult Adoptions: Brief Overview
Georgia law – along with Georgia courts – requires several steps to complete the process of adult adoption.
First, the adoptee must provide written consent for the adoption. Then, a motion for adult adoption must be filed with the court. Finally, the parties involved must appear before a judge to obtain an official ruling on the adoption.
If granted, then the adult becomes the official adopted child of the parents – even though all parties are adults.
We’ll go into the details and information of who can and cannot adopt an adult later on in this post.
Reasons for Adopting an Adult
Just because you legally can adopt an adult, doesn’t mean that everyone will.
So why do people adopt another adult?
As we saw in the above example story – this is a big reason why someone might want to adopt another adult: adult adoptions can finalize that already present parent-child relationship.
Even after a child turns 18, they are still their parents’ child – so why should that change, just because the person you have a parent-child relationship with is over the age of 18? And adopted child is still a child, even if they are legally an adult.
Additionally, some people use adult adoptions to transfer inheritance to their adult adoptee – which isn’t so much of an emotional thing necessarily as a financial thing. But, it’s legal, as long as everyone signs off on it.
And, it’s very serious – as all rights to the adult’s original parents are then terminated and they are no longer viewed as the child of their original parents, but instead looked at legally as the child of their adoptive parent or parents.
How Long Does Adult Adoption Take?
How long an adult adoption process takes varies significantly based on several key factors. A lot of this depends on the legal requirements of the specific jurisdiction (or state) in which the adoption is taking place. Every state has its own unique regulations and procedures for adult adoption, ranging from necessary court appearances to mandatory consent procedures.
Typically, once all the required paperwork is correctly filled out and submitted, the adoption can be finalized within a few months. However, it’s crucial to note that any complications or delays in the process, such as difficulties obtaining necessary consents or scheduling court dates, could extend this timeline.
While adult adoption is generally a quicker process than child adoption, it’s still subject to legal processes that can introduce variability.
This is why we always recommend talking to an adult adoption attorney in your area to find out more information about how long your case could take, based on your specific circumstances – and to ensure a smooth and efficient adoption process.
How Much Is an Adult Adoption?
The cost of an adult adoption in Georgia is variable, depending on several factors. However, a general estimate suggests that it ranges between $1,500 and $5,000. Though it could always be more.
This total cost encompasses multiple expenses such as court costs, filing fees, and attorney fees.
A significant portion of the cost comes from filing fees and attorney charges. The filing fees for adopting an adult in Georgia typically fall within the range of $200 to $250. Meanwhile, attorney fees in Georgia are approximately $350 per hour. It’s important to note that these costs can vary based on the complexity of your specific case, what county you are in, the skill level of the attorney you hire, and the time it takes to complete the adoption process.
In addition to these costs, there may be other expenses involved such as a vital record search fee, which is non-refundable and mandated by the Official Code of Georgia at $25.
So, while the above figures provide a rough estimate, the total cost of an adult adoption in Georgia can fluctuate based on case-specific factors and additional expenses.
Who Can Adopt Another Adult?
In the state of Georgia, the law permits adults to adopt other adults under specific circumstances. This is in accordance with Georgia’s adoption laws, specifically O.C.G.A §19-8-21.
The adult who is being adopted must provide explicit and voluntary consent for the adoption. Additionally, if the adopting party is married, their spouse must also give consent unless they are legally separated. It’s worth noting that Georgia law does not limit adult adoption to relatives; non-relatives can adopt an adult as well.
Also, the law is not entirely clear if you must be 10 years older than the adult you wish to adopt – the law on adopting a child is clear (you must be 10 years older than the child, unless you are a relative or stepparent) but it does not seem to carry over to the Adult Adoption Statute. We think this is an interesting bit of information.
In summary, the eligibility to adopt adults in Georgia is determined by a few key factors: the consent of all involved parties, the legal status of the adopting party’s marital relationship, and if there are any reasons to not grant the adoption. These rules are designed to ensure the legality and ethicality of the adult adoption process.
Are Adult Adoptions Popular in Georgia?
While the term ‘popular’ is subjective, we can say that adult adoptions are not uncommon in Georgia, based on the information we have.
The state’s laws permit adult adoptions and there are numerous legal firms and resources available to facilitate this process, as evidenced by the search results. Adult adoption in Georgia is a recognized legal procedure, and it’s commonly utilized in cases where an adult has a longstanding relationship that functions as a parent-child bond.
The law in Georgia allows for the adoption of adults, given they provide written consent to the adoption. This flexibility in the law caters to various scenarios, such as adopting a step-child or formalizing an existing parental relationship. This suggests that adult adoption is not only legally possible but also practiced within the state.
So while we may not have specific statistics to quantify the popularity of adult adoptions in Georgia, the availability and usage of legal services for adult adoption indicate that it’s a well-recognized and utilized procedure in the state.
What Does It Mean to be an Adopted Adult?
Being an adopted adult refers to a legal status where one adult has been formally and legally accepted as the child of another adult or adults. This process changes the adoptee’s legal status, creating a new, legally recognized parent-child relationship. It supersedes any previous legal familial ties, and from a legal standpoint, it is as if the adoptee were born to the adopting parent or parents.
The implications of this status are profound and far-reaching. As an adopted adult, you now have the same rights and responsibilities as a biological child in your adoptive family. This includes the right to inherit from your adoptive parents, the obligation to care for them in their old age, and the right to be treated as their child in all legal matters.
Additionally, the adoption permanently severs all legal ties with your biological parents, barring specific circumstances outlined in your adoption agreement. This means that, unless your biological parents specifically provide for you by name in their will, you will not be able to inherit from your bio parents after the adoption is finalized.
Do You Need a Lawyer for an Adult Adoption?
While the law does not require you to hire a lawyer to complete an adult adoption in Georgia, there are definitely perks to having legal representation.
Adult adoption involves complex legal procedures and paperwork that can be challenging to navigate without a thorough understanding of the law. A lawyer will ensure that all forms are correctly filled out and filed for your adoption, thereby minimizing any potential legal issues or delays.
In addition, a lawyer can provide valuable advice regarding the implications of adult adoption. They can guide you through the process, explain your rights and responsibilities, and help you understand the long-term effects of your decision. Such as how it will affect your will and other estate planning documents – including if you have other children in addition to your new adult adoptee.
By hiring a lawyer, you can ensure that you’re making a fully informed decision and that the adoption process proceeds smoothly and efficiently.
So, while it’s not a requirement, legal representation is highly recommended for adult adoptions.
Legal Notes for Adult Adoption
Here’s some additional interesting legal notes and information about adult adoption in Georgia:
Choose which parent to “replace”
Another thing to note is that you could have only one parent adopt you – and you get to select which of your original parents that parent will replace after you’re adopted. Very interesting scenario, but, that’s what Georgia law says.
Judge always gets to decide
While it may seem like all you need is full consent from the person adopting, that is not the case. The final decision in an adoption – even an adoption of an adult – always rests with the judge.
There is a small caveat in the Georgia law on adoption that says the judge gets to question the parties involved in the adult adoption and seems to hint at, that if the judge thinks something is fishy, he or she can shut down the adoption.
But, if everything checks out and the paperwork is correct, then the likelihood of the adoption of another adult going through is very high.
Final Thoughts on Adult Adoptions in Georgia
So now you’ve seen that it is in fact possible to adopt an adult in Georgia. It may not be for everyone, and it may not be for you, but if you’re interested in learning more, call Your Law Firm to find out more about it. We are here to offer creative solutions to our client’s adoption needs – whether it’s to adopt a child or another adult.