Adult Adoption in Oregon
July 26th, 2022
In Oregon, an adult may legally adopt another adult as their child. These types of adoptions are often done for emotional reasons and can legalize a parent-child relationship that the parties had for many years. Adult adoption can also be important to solidify inheritance rights and legalize a strong connection or bond between the parties. However, it’s important to understand that adult adoptions must still go through a similar legal process as adoptions involving minors.
What is Adult Adoption?
Under Oregon law, an adult is permitted to adopt someone who is 18 or older — or is legally married. Specifically, adult adoptions are governed by ORS 109.329 and unlike adoptions involving minors, adult adoptions do not require the consent of the birth parents. Instead, the only consent required is that of the individual who is adopting and the person being adopted. It is generally not necessary to notify the adult adoptee’s biological parents or other relatives about the adoption.
An Oregon court has the right to review the adoption to ensure it is being carried out for legitimate purposes. However, this is only rarely done. Once the adoption process has concluded, a new birth certificate will be issued by Oregon Vital Records reflecting the adopted parents as the adult adoptee’s parents and their new name. Adult adoption terminates the legal ties the adoptee had with their biological parents.
Reasons to Adopt Someone Over 18
When adult adoption takes place, a parent-child type of relationship is formally recognized. Critically, there are a number of circumstances in which an adult might choose to adopt another adult. For instance, an adult child who was raised by a stepparent or another relative might want to become their legal child for sentimental reasons. Adult adoption may also be appropriate in situations where a person experienced abuse or trauma as a child in their biological family.
Other situations in which adult adoption can arise may include the following:
- Foster children who have reached the age of majority wish to be adopted by their foster parents
- An adult found their biological mother or father
- An adult adoptee seeks to legalize the parent-child connection they had with a mentor
- A father found he had a grown child he did not know he had
- An adult with a physical or mental disability is adopted by someone who acts as their caretaker
- An older sibling who assumed parental responsibilities for a younger sibling might choose to adopt them as an adult
Importantly, an adult might also adopt another adult for inheritance purposes. Once the adoption process is completed, it can impact inheritance rights in the event a party passes away without a will. When it comes to Oregon’s intestate inheritance laws, an adopted adult is treated the same as a biological child.
Although an adopter is not financially responsible for the adopted adult from a legal perspective, adult adoption can sometimes provide certain economic advantages to those over 18 who are pursuing college degrees. In these cases, the adopter may be able to provide insurance to the student or help them in other financial areas. But while there may be certain legal benefits that come with adult adoption, many people make the decision solely based on the emotional factors involved.
What are the Requirements to Adopt an Adult in Oregon?
To start the adult adoption process in Oregon, a petition must be prepared and filed with the court. It must include basic information, such as the full names of the parties, the adoptee’s date and place of birth, and a statement as to why the venue and jurisdiction are appropriate. Significantly, either the petitioner or the adult adoptee must have continuously resided in Oregon for at least six months prior to filing the petition.
The petition must also include information regarding the relationship between the petitioner and adult adoptee, as well as the reason for adoption. If the adoptee lived with the petitioner as a child, this should be specified. In addition, the document must contain a statement that each party understands the significance and ramifications of the adoption, and that neither is acting under duress, coercion, or undue influence.
The court may appoint an attorney for the petitioner and adult adoptee with the costs being apportioned among them. A hearing may also be held where testimony may be taken from each party. Notice of the hearing must be sent to the petitioner’s spouse, adult children, or any person cohabiting with the petitioner. If the court is satisfied that each party understands the effects of the adoption and is not acting under undue influence, a judgment will be issued formalizing the adoption.
Contact an Experienced Oregon Adult Adoption Attorney
Whether you’re considering adopting a child or an adult with whom you had an emotional bond through the years, it’s important to have a knowledgeable adoption attorney by your side to guide you through the legal process. Based in Salem, Litowich Law works with families throughout Oregon regarding a variety of adoption matters. Providing dependable representation and compassionate counsel, we welcome you to contact us for a consultation to learn how we can assist you.