How Much Does It Cost to Adopt Someone Over 18? (Price Estimates)

Adopting someone over 18 involves financial considerations beyond traditional adoption. Expenses vary based on legal fees, background checks, counseling, and administrative costs. 

Understanding these factors is essential before taking the next steps in the adoption process.

How Much Does It Cost to Adopt Someone Over 18?

While adult adoptions are less common than those of children, they come with lower expenses. The financial outlay for adopting someone over 18 varies widely, spanning from $100 to $2,000.

What is Adult Adoption?

Adult adoption refers to the legal process of adopting an individual who is over the age of 18. Unlike traditional adoptions that primarily focus on children, adult adoptions involve the formal establishment of a legal parent-child relationship between an adoptive parent and an adult adoptee. 

While the motivations for adult adoptions can vary, they often revolve around emotional or practical reasons, such as solidifying existing familial bonds, inheritance rights, providing care, or offering a sense of belonging. 

Adult adoptions typically require legal procedures, court approval, and adherence to specific state laws and regulations.

What Factors Affect the Cost of Adopting Someone Over 18?

Adopting an individual over 18 is a distinct process with its own set of financial considerations. Unlike traditional adoptions, which primarily focus on children, adult adoptions involve unique factors that influence the associated costs. 

Understanding these factors is essential for individuals considering this path, as costs can vary significantly based on specific circumstances.

Legal Fees and Documentation

One of the major contributors to the cost of adopting someone over 18 is the legal aspect. The process involves court filings, attorney fees, and paperwork. The complexity of the legal proceedings can impact the overall expense. 

Attorneys guide adoptive parents through the legal requirements, ensuring that all necessary documentation is prepared and submitted correctly.

Background Checks and Screening

Background checks and screenings are an integral part of the adoption process. These checks are conducted to ensure the safety and well-being of both the adoptive parents and the individual being adopted. 

The cost of these checks can vary based on the extent and depth of the investigation required. Some states might have specific requirements, leading to differences in costs across jurisdictions.

Counseling and Support

Adopting an adult often involves emotional and psychological adjustments for both the adoptive parents and the individual being adopted. Counseling and support services are provided to help everyone involved navigate these changes successfully. 

The cost of counseling sessions and support services can impact the overall expenses of the adoption process.

Administrative Expenses

Various administrative tasks are necessary for processing an adult adoption, such as filing paperwork, obtaining necessary permits, and managing communication with relevant agencies. 

These administrative expenses can add to the overall cost of the adoption, particularly if there are complexities involved in the case.

State Regulations and Legal Requirements

The cost of adopting someone over 18 can also be influenced by the specific state regulations and legal requirements in the jurisdiction where the adoption takes place. Different states have varying rules and procedures, which can lead to differences in costs. 

Prospective adoptive parents need to research and understand the adoption laws in their state to anticipate potential expenses.

Additional Services

Some adult adoptions may require additional services, such as court appearances, mediation, or specialized assessments. 

These services can contribute to the overall cost of the adoption process. It’s crucial to factor in these potential expenses when budgeting for the adoption.

How to Adopt an Adult?

Adopting an adult involves a unique set of procedures and considerations compared to traditional child adoptions. 

While less common, adult adoptions are pursued for various reasons, such as formalizing existing relationships or providing legal recognition to caregiving arrangements. 

Understanding the steps involved in adopting an adult is crucial for individuals considering this path, as it requires adherence to legal requirements and court proceedings.

Initiating the Decision and Consent

Before proceeding with an adult adoption, all parties involved must be in agreement. The adoptee, as an adult, must provide their consent to the adoption. Additionally, if the adoptee has existing parents, they may need to give their consent or have their rights terminated, depending on state laws. 

It’s essential to have open and honest communication among everyone affected by the adoption decision.

Legal Representation and Consultation

Seeking legal counsel is an integral step in adult adoption. Engaging an attorney experienced in adoption laws can help navigate the complexities of the process and ensure compliance with all legal requirements. 

Attorneys assist in preparing the necessary documents, advising on consent forms, and guiding adoptive parents through the legal aspects of the adoption.

Filing Petition With the Court

The next step involves filing a petition for adoption with the appropriate court [1]. The petition outlines the intent to adopt the adult and includes relevant details about the parties involved. 

This document kickstarts the formal legal process and initiates court proceedings. The court will review the petition and ensure that all legal aspects are properly addressed.

Background Checks and Home Study

Similar to child adoptions, adult adoptions may involve background checks and home studies. These assessments are conducted to ensure the safety and well-being of both the adoptive parents and the adult being adopted. 

Background checks may include criminal record checks and references to verify the adoptive parents’ suitability. Home studies examine the living environment to ensure it is safe and suitable for the adoptee.

Consent From All Parties

If the adoptee has living biological or legal parents, their consent or the termination of parental rights may be required, depending on state laws. Consent ensures that the adoption process respects the legal rights and interests of all parties involved. 

Obtaining consent or termination of parental rights may involve court hearings and legal procedures.

Court Hearing

A court hearing is typically scheduled as part of the adoption process. During the hearing, all relevant parties, including the adoptive parents, the adoptee, and any existing parents or legal guardians, may be present. 

The court assesses the information provided, reviews the petition, and ensures that the adoption is in the best interest of the adoptee. If everything is in order, the court will grant the adoption order.

Issuance of New Birth Certificate

After the adoption is finalized, a new birth certificate reflecting the adoptive parent-child relationship is typically issued. 

This document serves as legal proof of the adoption and is often used for various purposes, such as obtaining identification documents or accessing legal rights and benefits.

Post-Adoption Steps

Once the adoption is complete, there may be post-adoption steps to consider. These can include updating legal documents, such as wills and estate plans, to reflect the new family structure. 

Open communication and ongoing support among adoptive parents and the adopted individual are also essential for a successful transition.

Can You Adopt Someone That’s Over 18?

With all things considered, yes, it is possible to adopt someone who is over 18, although the process differs from traditional child adoptions. Adult adoptions involve legal procedures to establish a parent-child relationship between the adoptee and the adoptive parent. 

Consent from all parties involved, court hearings, and adherence to state laws are essential steps in this unique adoption process.


The cost of adopting someone over 18 varies based on legal, administrative, and support-related factors. Understanding these considerations is vital for prospective adoptive parents, as expenses can vary widely. 

By being well-informed about the potential costs involved, individuals can make informed decisions as they embark on the path of adult adoption.


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