New York Adoption Laws After a Child Is 18 Years Old

By Mary MacIntosh - Updated June 16, 2017
Mother and 18 year old daughter

Even after a child has reached the age of majority, meaning he no longer needs a guardian to navigate the adult world, he may still wish to be adopted. Adult adoption formalizes the family ties between two adults, while also conferring legal benefits such as inheritance or insurance. Sometimes, an individual may choose adult adoption to legally sever his current parent relationship. Unlike some other states, New York does not restrict the age of either party in an adoption.


New York places no specific age restriction on either the age of the adopting parent or the adoptee. Unlike some states, which stipulate a minimum age difference between adopted parent and child, New York permits adult adoption between any consenting adults. Despite this general permission, the judge may rule differently in any particular adoption case on his own discretion.


In New York, the adoption of a child over 14 years of age requires the consent of the child as well as the adopting parents. For children younger than 18, the court may also require the consent of the child's birth parents, regardless of their current custody status. Adult adoption does not require the consent of the adoptee's birth parents, although the consent of the child's legal guardian may be taken into consideration by a judge.

Legal Process

To adopt an adult in New York, the parent must submit an application to adopt. Upon receiving the application, the state of New York will perform a criminal background check on the applicant and other residents in the home. While criminal convictions do not necessarily disqualify you from adopting, they are a factor in the judge's consideration of an adoption case.

The adult adoptee must verify his consent to be adopted before the court. When considering an adoption case, the court is permitted to make inquiries into relationship between the parties. If the court is satisfied the adoption is consensual and in the best interests of the adoptee, the judge finalizes the adoption. The adoptee is issued a new birth certificate and a name change if desired.

Parent-Child Relationship

In previous adoption rulings, the New York court determined that an adult adoption can only occur between two parties if the court finds their relationship compatible with the formation of a parent-child relationship. Thus, adult adoptions between individuals in a romantic relationship, such as homosexual partners, are excluded from using adult adoption as a means to formalize inheritance rights and kin relationships. The court's inquiry into the status of the parent-child relationship between the adults falls under its responsibility to act in the best interests of the adoptee.

About the Author

Mary MacIntosh has been writing professionally since 2007, contributing articles to "The California Tech" and serving as an editor for the "Biweekly Frink Digest." She is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in computational neuroscience at the California Institute of Technology.

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