Adult adoption is a unique legal tool designed for situations where an adult wishes to formalize a relationship with their caregivers or wants to formalize an otherwise informal parenting arrangement after they have emancipated. There are a variety of unique situations that may lead a family toward adult adoption. In fact, an emancipated child can even adopt their parents.

Adult adoptions are codified in Minnesota Statute § 259.241, which states that “any adult person may be adopted, regardless of the adult person’s residence. A resident of Minnesota may petition the court of record having jurisdiction of adoption proceedings to adopt an individual who has reached the age of 18 years or older.” Unlike other forms of adoption, an adult adoption only requires the consent of the adult being adopted. This is obviously not the case if the adult is a “vulnerable adult” or otherwise incapacitated, as that situation would require other formalities that would typically be better placed in a guardianship or conservatorship case.

When the adult adoptee gives their consent to be adopted and the petition and supporting documents are filed, the decree of adoption establishes a parent-child relationship between the adopting parents and the adult adoptee, including the right to inherit. It also terminates the parental rights and sibling relationship between the adult adoptee and their birth parents and siblings. The adult adoptee can also request a name change.

In a traditional adoption case, biological parents must give their consent for their child to be adopted. If the biological parents do not consent, they receive notice of the hearing and are afforded an opportunity to contest it. However, in an adult adoption case, the adult adoptee does not need to obtain their biological parents’ consent and are also exempt from any notice requirements under Minnesota Statute § 259.241 and Rule 33.02, subdivision 1 of the Minnesota Rules of Adoption Procedure. This is because, among other reasons, the notice requirements in the statutes and rules only apply for an adoption of a “child,” which is defined in the statute as a person under the age of 18.

If you would like to discuss an adult adoption, contact the family law attorneys at Heimerl & Lammers today at (612) 294-2200.