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Adult adoption is the adoption of a person 18 years of age or older, by another adult who is older than the person being adopted. There is no required number of years to be older. All adult adoptions in Los Angeles County are handled by the Edward Edelman Children's Court in Monterey Park.

Your legal documents can be filed in the county court of the residence of either the adopting parent(s) or the person being adopted (the adoptee). So if the adopting parent lives in Los Angeles County and the adoptee lives in San Diego, you could choose which county in which to file. It is fine if one of the parties lives in another state, or even another country. Randy files adult adoption cases not just in Los Angeles, but in courts throughout SoCal.

All adult adoptions for Los Angeles County are finalized in the Edward Edelman Children's Court, located in Monterey Park

Every California county court is a bit different in the way they want the documents filed (over-the-counter or electronically), which documents are required, and how the adoption is finalized (an in-person hearing or by video). Every county has about 7-8 core documents, but several have additional required documents (stipulations, cover sheets, waivers).

Attorney Randall Hicks limits his practice to adult adoption and has being doing exclusively adoption law for 36 years, so he knows exactly what each court requires and the fastest way to complete your adoption. You just give him the required information and he takes care of the rest. When your adoption is completed, you will receive multiple copies of your Order of Adoption,  signed by the judge and certified by the court.

Why do people do adult adoptions?

Adult adoptions are popular for two reasons. Perhaps the most cited reason is emotional. Many people  are tired of saying they are "like parent and child." They want to actually be  parent and child. Adult adoption creates the exact same relationship as if by birth, with the same benefits and responsibilities.

The second reason is usually legal considerations. For example, estate documents like wills and trusts will be more secure when property is passing from parent to child. There might also be health insurance benefits that flow to a child but not a stepchild or non-relative.

Is a home study required?

No, unlike the adoption of minors, there is no home study required in the adoption of adults. (Technically, the court has the discretion to require an investigation, but this is almost unheard of.) The fact there is no home study is doubly beneficial: 1) you don't have to pay for a home study; and 2) there is no delay while we wait for a home study to be completed. We go straight from the preparation and signing of your legal documents to requesting your finalization hearing date.

Is parental consent required?

No, in the adoption of minors, parental consent is a key requirement. For adult adoption, however, there is not only no requirement to get parental consent, there is also no requirement to even give notice to existing parents. This is completely left up to the adoptee and adopting parents if they wish to do so.

One type of consent which is required in the adoption of adults is spousal consent. If either the adopting parent(s) or the adoptee is married, the spouse must sign a consent to the adoption. This need not be witnessed by the court, social worker or a notary. Randy simply prepares the form and sends it to you to be signed.

How long does it take to complete an adult adoption?

Randy know all the SoCal courts very well and is aware of every legal trick to get cases to court as fast as possible. Every county is different and time estimates can change based on many factors, but for 2023 this is the average:

  • Los Angeles - 6-13 weeks (note this is weeks, not months, like below).
  • Orange - 3-4 months.
  • Riverside - 2-3 months.
  • San Bernardino - 3 months.
  • San Diego - 3-4 months.
  • Ventura - 2-3 months.
We are conveniently located in Santa Monica, California

The finalization hearing is happy and ceremonial, with nothing to be nervous about. Adoptions are about the only "nice" things judges get to do all day, so they enjoy adoption days. It is so friendly that judges will invite you up on the bench after the hearing to pose for a photo with him or her (assuming it is an in-person hearing). You are allowed to bring guests, but it is a private hearing and the general public is not admitted.

Can the final hearing be by video? What if one party lives far away?

Some judges allow the hearing to be done via video, so you can do the final hearing from your home or office. You don't even need to be together - you can be in separate locations. If done by video, Randy as your attorney is also on-screen by video, as well as the judge. Presently, video hearings can be requested, and usually granted, in Los Angeles, Orange and Ventura Counties, but not in Riverside, San Bernardino or San Diego.

You might be wondering, what if one of you is out of the area, or even out of the country . . . what happens then? If it is a video hearing, then no problem, you can appear from anywhere in the world. If it is a hearing where you must be there in person, there is a legal provision that allows you to authorize the attorney to appear on your behalf if it is impossible for you to be present, or if you are in the military. In 36 years of doing adoptions, Randy has used this law over 100 times and never had a judge not permit it.

Does adult adoption include a name change? A new birth certificate?

Yes, and yes. The adoptee can elect to do one or both. Adult adoption gives you the option of what is basically a free name change, and you avoid all the usual name change requirements. For example, you would not have to go to court to file for a name change, pay the filing fee, and do the required newspaper publication announcing the planned name change, then go back to court for approval. In adoptions, you do none of that. Randy simply includes in the Petition for Adoption and Order for Adoption the new name desired by the adoptee, and the Order of Adoption signed by the judge will do two things: 1) order the adoption to be granted; and 2) order the name change to be effective immediately. (You will still need to do all the things people need to do after a name change, such as notify Social Security, the DMV, your credit card company and bank, et cetera, but these are routine things and Randy gives you a printout when your adoption is done guiding you through them. (For example, the free form you download and fill out for Social Security, the correct form for the DMV, and the order in which to do them.)

Can I get a new amended birth certificate?

Few people know the adoptee can also elect to get a new amended birth certificate (or choose to keep the existing one.) An amended birth certificate would state the new name of the adoptee, and can list the adopting parent(s) as biological parents. If the adoptee is keeping existing parental rights, this could mean there are more than two parents, and if so, they can all be listed on the amended birth certificate. The amended birth certificate is prepared by the Vital Records / Birth Registry office of the state where the adoptee was born, not by the court. A certified copy is mailed directly to you about 5 months after the adoption was completed. Prior to that, however, you have your signed and certified Order of Adoption to show the adoption was granted and any name change effective.

Randy charges nothing extra for those clients electing to do a name change and/or get an amended birth certificate. It is all included in his flat fee.

Will adult adoption terminate the rights of my existing parent(s)?

This is a bit of a complicated question. If the adopting parent is married to one of the adoptee's existing parents (a stepparent adult adoption) then no, that parent automatically keeps their rights. For example, David's mother is Linda, who is married to Mark. Mark has been David's stepfather for many years and now wishes to adopt him as an adult. The adoption will make Mark the legal father of David, and Linda keeps her parental rights and is still David's mother.

But what about the birth father in the above example? Or, what if there are two adopting parents, so both existing parents are being "replaced"? In both these cases, existing parents' rights would automatically end. (There is no notice given to the existing parents of this fact.)

So it was a major problem when a person had a new parent-child type relationship with someone, and wanted to be adopted, but they also wanted to keep parents' rights intact that would be terminated by the adoption. Randy finally put an end to this problem by writing a law that was passed by the legislature [Family Code 9306(c)]. It became effective in 2020 and now allows the adoptee to designate any existing parent he or she wants to keep as a parent, and not have their rights terminated by the adoption. All parents chosen by the adoptee can be listed on an amended birth certificate as well.

Randy's normal flat fee of $2,250 covers everything, even if you wish to keep the rights of one or both of your current legal parent, whose rights would normally be terminated by the adoption. Normally this is something attorneys charge extra for, as it is extra legal work beyond a traditional adult adoption. But not Randy. It is included in his flat fee if you elect that special option.

Will adult adoption create US citizenship for foreign citizens?

Adult adoption does not  create citizenship, nor give any visa / immigration benefits to a person being adopted who is not a US citizen. Sadly, many people believe this is the case and waste money paying attorneys who are either ignorant or unethical. Adoption only gives citizenship to minors adopted under age 16 meeting certain specific requirements, such as meeting the "orphan" designation.

This does not mean you can't do an adult adoption where the adoptee is a citizen of a foreign country. That is not uncommon at all. Just be aware the purpose would be to create the parent-child relationship for the benefits it creates, but not for citizenship / immigration benefits. (If the adoptee is in the US, but not legally admitted, generally speaking, doing an adult adoption might actually be detrimental to eventually seeking a Green Card or citizenship, so it is best to wait until a Green Card is obtained. This is too complicated an issue to fully discuss here.)

How much does it cost and how do we get started?

How to adopt an adult? That's what Randall Hicks, Los Angeles County adoption  lawyer will explain, in a free consultation.

Randall Hicks does adult adoptions for a flat fee of $2,250. This includes everything as Randy pays the court filing fee and court and office costs out of his fee. The detailed Zoom consultation, where Randy will review the entire legal process of adult adoption to both the adopting parent(s) and the adoptee, takes 30-40 minutes and is free. Please compare Randy's fee to other attorneys, none of whom can match his experience in adult adoption. You will find the typical family law attorney fee is higher than Randy's - usually $3,500-$4,000, and without the guarantee of a flat fee, so their fee could end up significantly higher.

To get started, complete the Adult Adoption Questionnaire, then click "submit" and it will go directly to Randy. He will contact you within a day or two to schedule your Zoom consultation. But if you have not yet read our page detailing Randy's experience and qualifications, as well as more information about his flat fee, please click below to do so before completing the questionnaire.

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