Can You Adopt an Adult?

Adoption Generally

In New Hampshire adoptions are governed by statute. When we think of adoption, we usually think of children being adopted, however adults may also wish to become adopted in certain circumstances. One example would be someone who was raised by someone who is not their biological parent and who wishes to formalize that relationship.

You Cannot Have Too Many Parents

Generally, when a person is adopted they give up their relationship with one, or both of their biological parents. If the adoptee has been raised by another person because their parents have abandoned her, she might decide to be adopted by the person who raised her and in that case might end the legal relationship with her biological parents.

Another common situation is one in which one biological parent marries someone who is not a biological parent of the child and that person adopts the child because the other biological parent has abandoned her. In that case the child would maintain the parental relationship with the first biological parent and would end the parental relationship with the parent who abandoned her when she became adopted by the new spouse.

In Re: Y.L.

In a recent decision the New Hampshire Supreme Court had occasion to decide whether an adult, Y.L., could agree to be adopted by a man who is not her biological parent and who is not married to her mother, while at the same time keeping her parental relationship with her biological mother.

The Court ultimately ruled that this was permissible under the adoption statute even though it could be read to require that Y.L. sever her relationship with both parents because the adoptive parent was not a spouse or former spouse of her biological parent. The Court pointed out that the current statute is ill suited to deal with a similar situation in which both parents are of the same sex. It remains an open question whether the Legislature will attempt to fix the statute to deal with that scenario.

At Cohen & Winters we are well versed in all aspects of Family Law. If you have questions give us a call now!

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