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One of the most common reasons to adopt a person who is over 18 years of age is for inheritance purposes. A formal adoption allows to leave property or financial assets to the adopted individual more easily.

People may also want to formalise an existing parent-child relationship, for example by adopting a now adult foster child or stepchild.

Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ) does not have direct involvement with adult adoption applications.

An adoption order may be made for a person who is 18 or older and was either:

  • cared for by the prospective adoptive applicant as their child prior to reaching 18 years or
  • was under the parental responsibility of the Minister for DCJ and had been in the care responsibility of the prospective adoptive applicants prior to turning 18 years of age.

A person who is age 18 or older may prepare their own adoption application or engage a private solicitor.

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Last updated: 21 Oct 2019