In Indiana, an adult can adopt another adult. Any person over the age of 18 is considered an “adult” for adoption purposes.
Adoption of an adult creates the same legal relationship with the adoptive parents as an adoption of a minor child. The individual’s birth certificate and name may be changed as part of the adoption proceeding.
While adoptions of a minor child occur more frequently, adult adoptions serve several purposes. Adoption of an adult may be used to secure inheritance rights for the adopted adult or be used so that the adopted individual can legally obtain access to their adoptive parent’s state or military benefits. Adoption of an adult may also occur so that a stepparent or other parental figure who raised the individual can adopt the individual without interference from the biological parents. Sometimes, the adopting parent just wants to formalize a relationship that they have had raising this person from childhood as a stepparent that perhaps was not feasible when the biological parent would not consent to the same.
The process of adopting someone over the age of 18 does not require as many procedural protections as the adoption of a minor because the adult has the capacity to consent to the adoption on their own behalf. To grant the petition for adoption of an adult, the individual wanting to be adopted and the adoptive parent need to consent to the adoption, in writing. If the adoptive parent is married, the spouse must consent as well. No other consent or notice is otherwise required for the adoption of an adult. The Court may, if believed to be advisable, require an investigation of the adult adoption in the same manner as is conducted in adoptions of a minor child, but that will be determined on a case-by-case analysis and is not required in all cases.
The Court will consider the nature of the relationship between the adult and the adoptive parents to ensure there is no fraud or preexisting sexual relationship between the parties. An adoption legally creates a parent child relationship, and the Court must ensure this is not being done for improper reasons.
Any individual considering adoption should discuss their rights and obligations after the adoption to ensure they understand the legal ramifications of an adoption. If you are considering whether an adoption might be appropriate for you or a loved one, contact a family law attorney with Beckman Lawson to discuss your options.