Adult Adoption in Georgia
When you think of adoption, you likely think of a couple adopting a newborn baby or young child who has been abandoned by his/her parents, or possibly a stepparent adopting a stepchild. Did you know adults could be adopted in certain circumstances as well? In Georgia, there is actually a statute that covers the issue of adult adoption. According to OCGA §19-8-21, “[a]dult persons may be adopted on giving written consent to the adoption…After examining each petitioner and the adult sought to be adopted, the court, if satisfied that there is no reason why the adoption should not be granted, shall enter a decree of adoption and, if requested, shall change the name of the adopted adult. Thereafter, the relation between each petitioner and the adopted adult shall be, as to their legal rights and liabilities, the relation of parent and child.” Thus, the end result is no different than adopting a child.
This issue recently came up in a Florida case. According to an article in the Daily News, a Florida man with two biological children filed paperwork to legally adopt his 42 year old girlfriend, which would entitle her to a third of the assets in a trust fund set up for his children. Gross! Man legally adopts 42-yead old girlfriend, by Nina Mandell, NYDailyNews.com, February 1, 2012. Not coincidentally, this man is being sued by the parents of a young man killed in a car crash, and these parents, as well as the judge, believe that he has filed the adoption paperwork to shield his assets from a possible judgment against him.
If this case were in Georgia, the court would look closely at the allegation that the petitioner was merely seeking to shield assets in making its decision to grant the adoption. If proven, this would likely be a reason the adoption should not be granted under the statute, particularly if there was no valid reason for the adoption in the first place.