An adult adoption is when an adult adopts a person who is over eighteen (18) years old and not related to the. Adult adoption may be done for various reasons including: to establish intestate inheritance rights; to formalize a step-parent/step-child relationship or a foster parent/foster child relationship; to restore the original legal relationship between adult adoptees and their natural families; or to ensure perpetual care (if the person to be adopted is of limited capacity or abilities, adoption may provide a means of assuring him or her of lifetime care under family insurance, as a legal family member, or through inheritance).


1. The adopting parent must be order than the person to be adopted.

2. If the person who wants to adopt, of the person to be adopted, is married, he or she must have written consent from his or her spouse for the adoption.

3. A married person under the age of 18 may be adopted as an adult if he or she has the consent of his or her spouse.

4. Once the adoption is complete, the adopting parents and adopted adult assume a legal parent-child relationship with each other, with all associated rights and responsibilities of such a relationship, including inheritance. Except in stepparent adoptions, an adult adoption cuts off all other existing parent-child relationships. (In a stepparent adoption, the adoptive parent’s spouse retains their parent-child relationship with the adoptee.)

5. An amended birth certificate will be issued for the adopted person, showing the adoptive parent(s) as birth parents.

6. The adopted adult may take the family name of the adoptive parent.

Once all relevant parties consent to an adult adoption in California, it just becomes a matter of filing the proper forms with the court and making a brief appearance in front of a judge.

All adoption proceedings are heard privately, however, friends, family, and cameras are always welcome. Adult adoptions normally require no home study and no birth parent consent because an adult adoption is the mutual election of one person to be the lawful child another.


After the adult adoption, the parties must file an amended birth certificate form (VS44) with the Court on or before the final hearing date to obtain an amended birth certificate. Parties can get this form from their local court. After the adoption is final, the clerk’s office will mail the VS44 form to the State Registrar at the Department of Health Services – Office of Vital Records in Sacramento. The parties will receive an amended birth certificate in about 9 – 12 months.

If you or anyone you know is considering an adult adoption, please feel free to contact Alex Lopez, our Family Law attorney at Jorgensen & Salberg.