Adoption of adults is less common than the adoption of minor children. However, the laws of North Carolina, as well as most other states, allow for the adoption of a consenting adult.

There are many reasons for adult adoption. Sometimes the adoptive parents have an existing relationship with the child, yet there were impediments to adopting the child while he or she was still a minor. Other times, the purpose is to protect a younger person’s inheritance rights.

Regardless of the reasons for the adoption, it is important to fulfill the legal requirements mandated by state law.

Who is eligible for adult adoption?

A person over the age of 18 is eligible for adoption by another adult. The adoptee may be either single or married; it makes no difference. The same law also applies to emancipated minors, i.e., people under the age of 18 to whom the court has granted the rights of an adult.

The adoptive parent must also be an adult, but otherwise, there are no age restrictions on adoptive parents. The only restriction is that the adoptive parent cannot be the spouse of the adoptee.

Who gives consent to an adult adoption?

Adoptees who are competent to make their own decisions must consent to their own adoption. The consent must be in writing and state that the adoptee is aware of the consequences of the adoption and agrees to assume all the rights and duties that the relationship entails.

It is not necessary to obtain the consent of the adoptee’s birth family for the adoption. However, if a court has deemed the adoptee incompetent to make decisions, the adoptive parent must gain the consent of the legal guardian.

North Carolina law requires that a married prospective parent must include his or her spouse in the petition for adult adoption. However, this requirement does not apply to stepparent adoptions because the spouse is typically a biological parent of the adoptee and already has a legal relationship with him or her.