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The 411 on Adult Adoptions in Kansas

The 411 on Adult Adoptions in Kansas
November 25, 2013 LS_admin

The legal process for adoption in Kansas is the same whether the individual is a child or an adult.  Once an adoption is finalized, the court will issue a new birth certificate for the adopted individual, severing any previous existing legal relationships with biological or custodial parents. The adopted adult will then have the option to change his or her last name, also referred to in Kansas as a surname change. As a matter of procedure, all adoption records will then be sealed. Generally, the most common reason an adult is adopted is for purposes of inheritance, which allows one to leave property or other financial assets to the adopted individual more easily.

Another common reason adult adoption takes place is for the sake of formalizing an existing parent/child relationship. For example, parents can adopt an adult, who was either a foster child or stepchild. Adult adoption has increasingly become a popular option for biological parents as well as children who discover their birth family and thereafter would like to be formally acknowledged. The same can be said of scenarios where fathers find children they didn’t know they had.

Lastly, adult adoptions may take place in circumstances where perpetual care for an adult who has a diminished capacity or disability is required.  In such cases, adult adoption will assume the management and responsibilities associated with caring for an adult that is physically disabled, or a mentally challenged individual. Here, the adoption process facilitates one adult to become the responsible party and decision-maker for another adult’s physical and mental wellbeing.

Legal requirements and guidelines associated with adult adoptions vary from state to state. If you are considering an adult adoption, be sure to check with your Secretary of State regarding the qualifications and procedures involved. Commonly, states require the formal notification of the birth parents. Some states also require that the adopted adult be of diminished capacity, while other states only require an agreement between all parties involved. In the case where the adult up for adoption is married, some states will demand the consent of the adopted person’s spouse.

In Kansas, the laws on adoption provides for adult adoption (section 59-2113 and Section 59-2138 till 59-2142). The statute states that in order for an adult to be adopted, only the permission of the adult as well as the spouse of the adult is required. However, there is one exception, in the case of a disabled adult, where permission of the legal guardian is needed. Furthermore, a person who wishes to adopt the adult must file an adoption petition, which will state if there is a name change. A copy of the hearing is then given to the former parent(s). Once the court considers all views, it will make a decision on the adoption.

Interestingly, only in certain cases is adult adoption not always granted. The most common reason rejection takes place is due to a preexisting sexual relationship between the two parties. Because the courts in essence are formalizing the relationship of parent and child, any sexual relationship, even in the form of same sex couple, will prohibit the adoption.  Seldom does age differences halt a proposed adult adoption, but it may under certain circumstances. Many states require the adopting party to be older than the person adopted, and any suspected fraud will immediately terminate the adult adoption. Fraud, whether alleged or real, may include a wealthy individual persuaded by an adult to do so in order to inherit property. If the adopting party does not fully consent to or understand the act of adoption, there is likelihood the court will suspect fraud. Fraud can also take the form of and relate to insurance policies, real property and other financial assets, or marital issues.

If you live in the state of Kansas and have questions or concerns regarding the legal rights of you or other parties involved in an adoption, call McDowell Chartered legal services at 316-633-4322 for more information today. Our firm of experienced adoption attorneys can assist you with all aspects of the adoption process, and make sure you receive the outcome you deserve!

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