Adoption of adults: you need to know

Adopting an adult is certainly not something that many are particularly familiar with. Most adoptions take place while the child is still a minor. However, there are cases where the process is or can only be initiated after the age of 18.

Adoption of an adult: Consequences and requirements

Adoption of adults is described in Germany in §1767 of the Civil Code (PGI): “An adult can be adopted as a child if the adoption is morally justified […]” An unrelated adult can therefore be legally recognized as a family member. This applies, for example, to stepchildren or foster children.

  • There are several requirements that must be met for this. There must be an age difference of at least 15 years between the adult and the adoptive parents. There must not be or have been a sexual relationship between a parent and the adult.
  • Economic reasons can only partially play a role in adoption. If the main motivation is to save on inheritance tax, there is a high probability that the application will be rejected. If the adoption causes inconvenience to the biological children, the application may also be rejected.
  • No adoption can be applied for to obtain a residence permit or to avoid deportation.
  • There must be a close family bond between the adoptive parents and the adultexists, a so-called “parent-child relationship”. The adoption represents both sides’ willingness to be there for each other, for example in nursing cases.
  • Due to this requirement, the court may reject the application if there is still a good relationship between the adult and the birth parents.
  • The consequence of adult adoption is an equal right for the adoptee in the succession. But she must also help pay for the adoptive parents’ living expenses if they need care.
  • The adoptee must have changed his surname. She has the option to discard her old last name completely or register with a double name.

Strong adoption or weak adoption: That’s the difference

In most cases, weak adoption occurs. Strong adoption is very rarely allowed.

  • At a weak adoption the family relationship with the biological parents does not expire. The adult then legally has four parents if all are still alive. For him or her, it also means a maintenance obligation four times.
  • In it strong adoption there is no longer a relationship with the birth parents. The adult no longer has an inheritance right and no maintenance obligation.
  • There are special requirements for strong adoption, eg if the person has lived with the adoptive parents since childhood, and the adoption has been prevented by the biological parents until now. It can also be implemented if a minor sibling to the person has already been adopted by the same parents.

The application process

The sum for the entire course consists of the legal costs and the lawyer’s and notary’s salary. The exact amount depends on the value of the item. A lawyer is not always necessary.

  • The first step involves submitting all the necessary documents. This includes the adoption application, birth certificates, medical certificates and police approval certificates.
  • The adoption requirements are then examined in a hearing by a family judge. The family situation is investigated in more detail, and for example biological children or a spouse are asked for questioning. The spouse must give consent to the adoption as described in § 1767 (2) of the Civil Code.
  • After the interviews, the court decides whether the adoption is strong or weak. If a decision has been made in favor of adoption, the entry in the birth register is made by the population register.

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