Understanding Adult Adoptions
The procedure for adopting children in Illinois is fairly straightforward, yet intensive. Multiple background checks are required, as well as home study and often fees paid to adoption agencies. The procedure for adult adoption is somewhat different, especially since adults, in most cases, are of an age and ability to weigh in on the issue. If you are interested in adopting an adult as a member of your family, it is important to ensure you are familiar with the law.
Why Adopt an Adult?
While it may seem strange to adopt adults, given that it is not possible in many other countries, many states in the U.S. preserve that right, Illinois included. Sometimes, doing so is necessary in order to legally formalize relationships that already exist in practice. For example, if a child grows to adulthood under the care of a stepfather or other guardian without a legal, familial relationship, that parental figure may be excluded from certain relevant decisions. Many people believe that a stepparent has a legal right to make decisions for a spouse’s child, but this is not the case in Illinois; a stepparent must adopt or otherwise be assigned rights over the child before he or she has any say in that child’s welfare, whether the child is a minor or an adult.
Another common reason for adult adoption is to ensure that an inheritance passes smoothly down the family line. In Illinois, only legally recognized children may make end-of-life decisions for the parental figure absent a power of attorney, and the ability to handle such important decisions can ease the burden on both the parent and the adopted child.
Requirements for Adoption
The requirements to adopt an adult are somewhat more lax than those for adopting a child simply because adults are much more able to safeguard their own interests. Thus, the state does not necessarily need to do it for them. There are really only two requirements that must be met. One is fairly self-explanatory: the adult to be adopted must consent. The second requirement is that the prospective parent and adoptee must have lived in the same household for at least two years, so as to ensure compatibility with his or her family and lifestyle.
If the adult to be adopted to be adopted is related to the adopting parent within certain degrees, the requirement to share a household is waived. The relationship can be parental, grandparental, sibling, aunt or uncle, first cousin, or a step-relationship in any of these degrees.
Ask an Adoption Attorney
If you are in a position where an adult adoption would serve the best interests of your family, we can help. Contact an experienced Kane County adoption attorney and get the answers you need to whatever questions you may have. Call 630-232-9700 for a confidential consultation at The Law Offices of Douglas B. Warlick & Associates today.