How Much Does It Cost To Adopt Someone Over 18?

Last Updated on December 28, 2023
Written by CPA Alec Pow | Content Reviewed by Certified CFA CFA Alexander Popinker

Adult adoption is the legal process of adopting someone that is older than 18. Adopting an adult is the formal establishment of a legal relationship of parent-child between two adults, one as the adoptive parent and the other as an adult adoptee. This makes the process different than a traditional adoption which focuses on one or more children.

The motivations behind someone wanting to adopt an adult will vary but are usually due to practical or emotional reasons. The most common reasons are offering a sense of belonging to someone, providing care, giving inheritance rights, or making familial bonds stronger.

An adult adoption will require adherence to state laws and regulations as well as court approval and other legal procedures.

There are some important things that you will have to know before getting started with the procedure of adopting an adult. When preparing for the process, a lot of people ask themselves: How much does it cost to adopt someone over 18?

How Much Does It Cost to Adopt Someone Over 18? 

The cost of adopting someone over 18 is anywhere between $200 and $2,500 or more, depending on several factors like the type of adoption, the state in which you are adopting, as well as the associated legal fees.

Let’s go over some of the factors affecting the adult adoption cost:

  • The type of adoption – Independent adoptions will usually cost more than sibling or stepparent adoptions.
  • The state you are adopting in – States have different procedures and fees associated with the adoption process.
  • Associated legal fees – As you’ll probably need a lawyer to help you through the process, you will have to consider the fees charged by these professionals.

Other Factors to Consider

Here are several other factors that will influence the final cost of adopting an adult over the age of 18.

Background Checks and Screening

Another important part of the adoption process represents the necessary screenings and background checks. These checks are meant to ensure the safety, as well as well-being of the individual being adopted as well as their adoptive parents.

The depth and the extent of the investigation needed for the checks will dictate their costs. THere are states that have specific requirements went it comes to these checks, leading to substantial differences in costs across different jurisdictions.

Administrative Expenses

During an adult adoption, there are some administrative tasks you will have to go through, including managing communication with relevant agencies, obtaining necessary permits, and filing the proper paperwork.

These expenses will represent an additional cost to be added to the adoption bill, and the more complex your case is, the more these will be.
Counseling and Support

During and after the adult adoption process the involved parties might need psychological and emotional adjustments. These counseling and support services should be considered by both the individual being adopted and their adoptive parents and should be provided by professionals who are able to help them navigate through the process and the big change as easily as possible.

Additional Services

There are some situations during an adult adoption case that require additional services. These include specialized assessments, mediation, or court appearances.

It is very important to consider all of these services when trying to budget for the adoption process.

Can You Adopt Someone That’s Over 18?

Adopt an Adult ProcessMost states will enable you to adopt an individual over the age of 18. Adopting an adult will give them similar rights that a biological child has. These include the right to inheritance, one of the most common reasons for someone adopting an adult. When this is the case, the adopted adult can receive financial assets and even property from their adopted parent more easily.

Establishing a legal parent-child relationship is the second most common reason for people to adopt individuals over the age of 18. Doing this will give each individual legal rights and responsibilities as a child or as a guardian.

What is the Maximum Age for Adoption in the U.S.? 

Washington, D.C., as well as 29 U.S. states, have no maximum age restrictions for adoption. The rest of the states, as well as other U.S. territories, have differing family laws. California, for example, has its own unique rules when it comes to adoption of an adult. Northern Marina Islands, American Samoa, Rhode Island, and Colorado are other places with their own laws. In these locations, adults can only be adopted between the ages of 18 and 21.

How to Adopt an Adult?

You will need to follow a certain set of procedures when adopting an adult, as the process is pretty different when compared to traditional child adoptions.

Adult adoptions are less common, meaning that it will be harder to find professionals with the knowledge in the process to avoid issues or unnecessary complications. These are pursued for reasons such as providing legal recognition to caregiving arrangements for formalizing an older relationship.

Here are the steps you will most likely have to follow:

  1. Initiating the Decision and Consent
  2. Legal Representation and Consultation
  3. Filing Petition With the Court
  4. Background Checks and Home Study
  5. Consent From All Parties
  6. Court Hearing
  7. Issuance of New Birth Certificate

Post-Adoption Steps

There are some post-adoption steps you will have to consider once you complete the adoption process. These help reflect the new family structure and involve updating estate plans, wills, and other legal documents.

Final words on adult adoption

The cost of adopting someone over 18 is somewhere between $200 and $2,500 or more, depending on several administrative, support-related, and legal factors. As the process is rather complex and pretty rare, you should use the services of a professional, to ensure a clean process.

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