INTRODUCTION TO ADULT ADOPTION
An adult adoption is when someone adopts a person who is over 18 and not related to them. The person adopting must be at least 10 years older than the adult they are adopting.
FILING FEES RELATED TO ADULT ADOPTION
You have to pay a filing fee for each adult you want to adopt. Look for the "Petition for Adoption" fee in the Family Law Fees section of the local fee schedule. Fee waivers do not apply to Adult Adoptions. You may pay by cash or check. Make your check payable to “Clerk of the Court.”
ADOPTING AN ADULT
To start the process of an adult adoption, you must file these documents with the court:
- Adoption Agreement
- Order of Adoption
There are no required Judicial Council forms for an adult adoption.
Your documents must be prepared on Pleading Paper, and submitted to the Family Law Clerk’s Office at the Lamoreaux Justice Center (7th Floor, Room 702).
IMPORTANT: Adult adoptions can be complicated, for example, the petition must contain specific information.. If you need assistance, you can find a lawyer from the list contained on the Self-Help Resources page listing Lawyer Referral Services information.
1. Filing a Petition
The Petitioners (this means the adoptive parent and the adoptee) must file a Petition. This is the document that asks the Court to make an Order approving the adoption. It must say:
- The name, age, date, and place of birth of the Petitioner
- How long the Petitioners have known each other
- Why the Petitioners want the adoption to take place
- If either Petitioner is married, the name of the spouse (if any), the date of their marriage, and the names and ages of their children. If spouses have signed consents to the adoption, list their names and dates they signed the consents (Attach the consents to the Petition)
- The date your adoption agreement was signed (Attach a copy of the adoption agreement.)
- Whether the adoption is in the public interest
2. Adoption Agreement
This is the agreement between the person to be adopted and the adoptive parent. Both must sign and date the Agreement. The Agreement must say you both agree to assume the legal relationship of parent and child and all the duties and responsibilities of that relationship.
You must also agree to file a petition in the Superior Court of California, County of Orange. Your petition must ask the Court to approve your Agreement and to make an adoption Order. You do not have to notarize the Agreement.
Since an adult adoption changes the legal rights of the adoptive parent(s) and an adoptee, consent has to be given by both of them and their spouses (if married).
- A consent must be filed by the adoptive parent’s spouse (if there are two parents adopting, each of them must complete the spousal consent).
- If the adoptee is married, a consent must be filed by the adoptee’s spouse.
- If the adoptee is single then a Declaration of Single Status must be filed or stated within the Petition.
4. Order of Adoption
The order must contain all the information that is in the Petition and Adoption Agreement.
Both petitioners must go to the hearing. The biological parents do not need to consent to the adoption, but if either Petitioner is married they must have their spouse’s consent.
SCHEDULING A HEARING IN ADOPTION COURT
To finalize the adoption, you must submit a Memorandum for Setting for Hearing to get a Court hearing. If the Judge approves your adoption, the judicial officer will sign an Order of Adoption.
Submit your papers in the Family Law Department of the Superior Court located at the Lamoreaux Justice Center, 7th Floor Room 702. See the Court’s location web page, for location, phone number and business hours.
Yes, all adoption proceedings are heard privately. Friends, family, and cameras are always welcome.
PREPARING FOR THE HEARING
Bring the Order of Adoption and any consents that you did not file previously. Both the proposed adoptive parent and adoptee must be at the hearing.
AFTER THE ADOPTION HEARING
All documents will be filed with the Court, and you will receive a copy of the adoption order for free. The amended birth certificate will be mailed to you by the California Department of Health Services.