By Monique MacRitchie
Adult Adoption enables an existing parent-child relationship (foster child or stepchild) to be legally recognised after the child has attained 18 year of age.
Some applicants seek to adopt for inheritance purposes or to provide the child with financial security and stability. Whatever the reason, it provides an opportunity to formally acknowledge the emotional bond that exists between the adult child and the applicant.
Quite often, adult adoptions are often brought about at the specific request of the person who is to be adopted.
Who is eligible to apply?
In Victoria, adult adoptions are made under the Adoption Act 1984 (“The Act”).
Under the Act, anyone who has “brought up,maintained and educated” a person as if they were their parent, is eligible to adopt a person who is 18 years of age or over.
While there are no other specified eligibility requirements for adult adoptions, applicants should clearly demonstrate both the financial and emotional support they have contributed towards the adult child’s upbringing, welfare and wellbeing. Any contributions that have been made both financially and non-financially to the adult child’s education also needs to be addressed.
What the court considers
The applicant seeking an adult adoption order is not subject to the requirements of being approved as a fit and proper person to adopt, Nor is the guardian’s report required not the natural parents’ consent.
The Act reflects the adult child’s autonomy to choose to be adopted by a parental figure in their life thus the adult child’s consent to being adopted is a requirement of the application.
Ultimately, the court must be satisfied that special circumstances make it desirable that the person be adopted.
How to apply
Applications for adult adoption are made to the Adoptions Registrar in the County Court of Victoria.
In addition to providing supporting affidavits from the applicant and the adult child, applicants are also required to submit the following forms with their application:
- Summons for Adoption Order;
- Notice of Identification;
- Affidavit of Application;
- Adoption Order;
- Memorandum of Adoption Order; and
- Declaration (required for adult adoptions)
Adoption hearings are held in the County Court of Victoria at Melbourne before a Judge.
The applicant and adult child must attend the hearing.
The hearings are held in private and are not open to the public, but the parties may invite family and friends to attend. While adoption is a formal legal process, the hearings are held as informally as possible.
Once the order is made, applicants are presented with a Certificate of Adoption.
Adopted persons can apply to Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages within ten days of the making of an adoption order for a new Birth Certificate.