If my husband raised my daughter who I had by another an, is there any reason to go through the adoption process now that she is an adult?

I had a daughter now 22 years of age while unmarried. Only my name is on the birth certificate by legal advice at that time. Soon after, I married and my husband has raised her as his own but we never took action to legally adopt most due to the expense. Now that she is an adult, are there any significant reasons to consider going through with an adoption? We are looking into changing her name, but wanted to make sure there would not be a need for a legal adoption.

Asked on September 19, 2012 under Family Law, Texas


B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Adoption, at this point, would be more of a "just in case," type situation.  If something happened to you and she wanted to help him, she would have a harder time doing so since she is not his biological child or adopted child.  If he died without a will, she would have no inheritance rights.  If she otherwise qualified (for some reason) for SS survivor rights, she would be excluded because she is not legally his daughter.  Considering her age, she would have to file a petition to change her name and pay a filing fee anyway.  You could prevent a lot of possible, future issues by just filing for an adult adoption combinded with a name change (it will cost about the same anyhow).  Because it's an adult adoption, it will also be much quicker than the adoption of a minor child. 

If you choose not to go the adoption route, then make sure that you both have done some good estate planning and filled out the appropriate powers of attorney so that she does have some legal authority to help you both as you get older.

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