Can an Adult Legally Adopt Another Adult in Illinois?

First, you might ask, " Why would anyone want to do that?"

There are actually many reasons. Take, for example, Mr. and Mrs. Smith who are a married couple in their 60's. Mrs. Smith is the birth mother of Samantha who is now age 35. Her natural father never had anything to do with Samantha. The only father she ever knew was Mr. Smith who, as her stepfather, supported and helped raised her as his own.

While Mr. Smith has no legal relationship to Samantha he has always considered her his daughter. Samantha would like him to be her real legal father. This problem can be solved.

Mr. Smith can legally adopt Samantha as his legal daughter. Samantha is now, legally, "Samantha Smith" and can use her stepfather's name. She can inherit from him, her children will know him as their legal grandfather, and his name will be carried through their family each generation. Many other reasons may exist for adult adoption as well.

In Illinois, an adult may adopt another adult under Illinois law if:

1. The adopted person (let's say Samantha, for example) is a legal adult and signs a written document consenting to the adoption.

2. The adopting person (Mr. Smith, for example) has had the adopted person (Samantha) residing in their home for a period of two years or more immediately prior to the adoption.

3. When one or both of the adoptive persons (Mr. and Mrs. Smith, for example) is the adopted person's (Samantha's) biological grandparent, brother, sister, step-grandparent, stepbrother, stepsister, uncle, aunt, great uncle, great aunt, or cousin of first degree.

No adoption study is usually required. In addition, unlike other adoptions, the natural parent or parents do not need to be served with a notice or summons or consent to the adoption.

If you are in need of Illinois adoption advice, please contact an experienced Hinsdale family law attorney.

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