• December 5, 2016

This article originally appeared in Incline Law Group’s Legal Clarity column, which is published monthly in the Sierra Sun North Lake Tahoe Bonanza.

Many people do not realize that there is a procedure available for the adoption of adults. There are several reasons that make adult adoption worth exploring.

Adult AdoptionIn the age we live, divorce is common and children are often raised by stepparents or other individuals who are not their natural parents, playing an important de facto parent role in a child’s life.

During the child’s minority (e.g. up to age 18), it is not possible to adopt a child without the consent of the child’s natural parent, or grounds to terminate the relationship between the child and its natural parent.

Nevertheless, the de facto parent may establish very close bonds with a child and desire to legally solidify the nature of their relationship, even if it is after the child has grown. Once the child turns 18, the adult adoption process is a wonderful opportunity to do this.

Adult adoptions provide a means to legally recognize the relationship and to secure inheritance and other rights for the child from the stepparent. Even if a stepchild has been raised in a stepparent’s home for their entire life, the adult stepchild would not be eligible to inherit by intestacy from a deceased stepparent.

The adult adoption is the perfect remedy for this type of circumstance. It is important to note that the adult adoption does not have any impact on the relationship between the child and his natural parent and does not preclude the child from inheriting from his natural parent through the laws of intestacy as well.

Adult adoptions can also assist in aiding a young person to legally immigrate to the United States. It bears mentioning that the best time to accomplish the adoption would be before the child reaches the age of 16. However, even if the child has already reached the age of majority, the adult adoption is another factor that may assist the person’s ability to achieve legal immigration.

The adult adoption procedure is very simple and does not involve much in terms of time or money. There is rarely a home study or investigation by a social worker required and there is only a small amount of court filings necessary.

Only one court appearance (which can even be waived under certain circumstances) is required by statute. It is always important to be vigilant in reviewing your estate plan to determine areas which need improvement. If you have been part of a blended family, adult adoption may provide a component, which may be currently lacking in your estate plan.

Most importantly, it has the effect of not only enhancing and legitimizing the bonds of a blended family, but also providing for much needed security to stepchildren after they have grown.

Stacey F. Herhusky is a partner at the Incline Law Group, LLP. Incline Law Group, LLP - Providing Legal Clarity for Over 40 Years Incline Law Group, LLP, is committed to providing legal clarity. Our transparent approach to delivering legal services is designed to get beneath the surface of the matter in order to minimize surprises and maximize our clients’ outcomes. Founded in 1973 by John C. Rogers, Incline Law Group has earned a reputation for professionalism, discretion, honesty, diligence and positive results. Most of our attorneys are licensed in Nevada and California and have been providing legal clarity in the areas of Real Estate, Litigation, Family Law, Contracts, Business Formation and Estate Planning for over 40 years to our Northern Nevada and California communities. Stacey has been practicing law for over 20 years and is licensed to practice in all courts of California and Nevada. Stacey focuses on Family Law and practices regularly in Washoe County, Placer County, Nevada County, Douglas County, Carson City, El Dorado County, Sierra County. Stacey F. Herhusky has been recognized by the National Academy of Family Law Attorneys (NAFLA) as one of Nevada’s Top Ten family law attorneys. She was nominated by her peers because she has demonstrated an extraordinary amount of knowledge, skill, experience, expertise and success in her practice of Family Law. Stacey's areas of practice include: - Family law - Divorce and separation - Mediation - Child custody and visitation - Child support - Spousal support - Paternity - Domestic partnerships - Asset and debt division - Cohabitation agreements - Premarital and post marital agreements - Post-judgement modification and enforcement - Restraining orders - Adoptions - Annulments - Grandparent rights - Guardianship - Termination of parental rights - Complex family law litigation Stacey is a member of the State Bar of Nevada, the State Bar of California, the Washoe County Bar Association and the Truckee Tahoe Bar Association.