Adult Adoptions & Same-Sex Marriage

California Law on Adult Adoptions

The California Family Code recognizes a person’s right to adopt an adult for purposes of securing inheritance rights and other family benefits. Adoption establishes a parent-child relationship between the adoptive parent and the adoptive child. As as result, both enjoy a preference as beneficiaries under a will, trust, or other estate planning mechanism.

Historically, same-sex couples were legally prohibited from entering into a marriage. Before same-sex couples had the option to form a legal partnership, the only way for them to establish a legally recognized familial tie was through adult adoptions.

Adult Adoptions After Legalized Same-Sex Marriage

Over the years, California law allowed same-sex couples to form a legal partnership that provided them with rights analogous to marriage and slight legal validation for their shared love and romance. Finally in 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court held in Obergefell v. Hodges that the government cannot interfere with the rights of same-sex couples to legally marry.

Same-sex couples who initially secured their familial bond using adult adoption could not get married while their adoption is in effect. That is because the law prohibits a parent and child from getting married. Consequently, same-sex couples who took advantage of adult adoption sought to terminate the parent-child relationship they initially created.

California law allows an adult adoptee to petition the court to terminate the parent-child relationship that was established through adoption. Upon receiving the written consent of the adoptive parent, the court may terminate the parent-child relationship.

However, many state jurisdictions do not provide a legal procedure for revoking adult adoptions. Further, in states that recognized a revocation procedure for adult adoptions, they were only granted under narrow circumstances. In many cases, same-sex couples initiated legal actions to declare the denial of adult adoption revocations unconstitutional under the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, as interpreted by the Supreme Court in Obergefell. However, the argument that denying same-sex couples the right to revoke their adult adoption arrangement was tantamount to a denial of their right to marry hasn’t picked up a lot of judicial support.

Contact Moshtael Family Law for Legal Representation

The LGBTQIA community’s struggle for civil rights has had a profound impact on California family law. At Moshtael Family Law, our legal team is dedicated to protecting the rights of all individuals and their families, including members of the LGBTQIA community. You can count on us to zealously advocate for your rights during California family law proceedings.

To arrange for an initial consultation about your case, call Moshtael Family Law at (714) 909-2561 or complete our online request form today.