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Family Law Blog

Adult Adoption in BC – What You Need to Know

Adult Adoption in BC – What You Need to Know

A welcome development in recent years has been the reinvention of how we define the nuclear family. Close, committed family relationships come in all shapes and sizes, giving rise to opportunities for “non-traditional” occurrences such as adult adoption.

Who Can Apply to Adopt in BC?

The legal requirements to adopt in British Columbia are simple. You must be resident in the province for at least six months, you must be 19 years of age or older, any one adult or two adults jointly may apply. You don’t need to be the perfect “nuclear family” to adopt and marital status and sexual orientation don’t matter. Instead, the ability of the adoptive parents to provide a secure and loving permanent home will be the key deciding factor. Obviously, that last point may not be as necessary when it comes to adult adoption.

Adult Adoption in British Columbia

Under BC’s Adoption Act, there are no upper age limits for adoption. One (or two) adults who wish to legally recognize a parent/child relationship with another adult should be aware of Section 44 in particular of the Adoption Act:

  1.   One adult alone or 2 adults jointly may apply to the court to adopt another adult
  2.   The court may make the adoption order without the consent of anyone, except the person to be adopted, as long as the court:
  3.   Is satisfied the person, as a child, lived with the applicant as a member of the family and was maintained by the applicant until the person became self-supporting or became an adult, and
  4.   Considers the reason for the adoption to be acceptable
  5.   An adoption order made with respect to an adult has the same effect as an adoption order made with respect to a child.

The critical point made above, is that a person above the age of 19 is not eligible for adult adoption unless they were living with their prospective parents as a teen, or when they reached the age of 19.

The Legal Definition of Consent to Adult Adoption

“The court may make the adoption order without the consent of anyone, except the person to be adopted.”

You may have noticed this statement in point 2 from the Adoption Act. What it means, is that the biological parents of the adopted do NOT need to give their consent for an adult adoption to occur. The only person who must consent is the adult in question.

With few exceptions, the court will require that biological parents are served with notice of the adoption application, because their legal interests might be affected by the adoption process.

Get in Touch

If you have questions about the Adult Adoption process, contact us today to speak with a family lawyer. We are hard at work to ensure your legal interests are secured during this stressful time.