When people hear the word adoption, they might imagine child orphans from other countries returning to the United States to live in good fortune. However, adoption isn’t limited to only children. In Texas, any adult can file a petition to adopt another adult person.
Child Adoption Versus Adult Adoption
The legal process for adopting adults differs significantly from the process for adopting children. When someone adopts a minor child, the parent-child relationship between the adoptive child and their birth parents must be terminated. Additionally, a court must consider the best interests of the minor child before granting an adoption.
In contrast, proceedings for adult adoptions do not involve the termination of parental rights and the best interests of the prospective adoptee.
Importantly, the parties considering adult adoption are not required to obtain consent from the prospective adoptee’s natural parents to affect an adoption. This is because adults are not subject to the care and custody of their parents or guardians.
Why Adult Adoptions?
One might ponder, why would anyone want to consider entering into an adult adoption? First, the adoption process establishes inheritance rights between the adoptive parent and the prospective adult adoptee. For example, if the adopted adult passes away without a will, then the adoptive parent may be entitled to inherit from their deceased child’s estate. Likewise, if the adoptive parent dies without a valid will, the adopted adult can inherit from their estate under Texas intestacy laws.
Also, if the adoptive parent has a valid will or trust and provides a gift of their property to the class of persons identified as their children, the adopted adult can qualify as a beneficiary for the class gift.
Regarding possible motivations to effectuate an adult adoption, it is worth noting that the adoption process does not create a basis for the prospective adoptee to immigrate to the United States. As a result, adults cannot game federal immigration laws by adopting an adult and subsequently applying for a family immigration visa.
Procedures for Adult Adoptions
To adopt an adult, the prospective adoptive parent must file a petition with the court requesting an adult adoption. The adoption petition does not require extensive information and supporting documentation.
To perform an adult adoption, one must file a petition for adult adoption along with a consent document alleging the following facts:
- The adoptee is at least 18 years old
- If younger than 18, the disabilities of a minor were removed in an emancipation proceeding
- If younger than 18, the adoptee was or is legally married
The adoptive parent and the prospective adult adoptee must appear for an adoption hearing where the court will decide whether to grant the adult adoption petition. However, the Texas Family Code sections on adoption do not specify any criteria or standards for the court to follow in an adoption hearing. Absent such standards, it appears that the court is primarily concerned about whether the parties have agreed to the adoption and complied with the required procedures.
Have Questions Regarding Adult Adoptions? Call Coker, Robb & Cannon Family Lawyers
Are you considering adopting someone? To get a more comprehensive understanding of the legal implications regarding the adoption process, you should consult an experienced family law attorney from Coker, Robb & Cannon, Family Lawyers for legal counsel.
Call our office at (940) 293-2313 or complete our online request form for an initial consultation to confidentially discuss the details of your case.