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A happy family at home after an adoption in Henderson, NV

How to adopt a child or adult, an adoption lawyer explains

Adoption is the process of taking full legal responsibility for another person. Most times, this involves parents who wish to adopt a baby, child, or teenager, but adopting an adult is also an option. All states have laws specifying how adoption must take place. Learn more about who may adopt, be adopted, or place a child for adoption in Nevada.

Who May Adopt?

In broad terms, any single adult or married couple jointly may be eligible to adopt. Here are other adoption facts to be aware of:

  • Step-parents: A step-parent can adopt their spouse’s child if the spouse has legal custody.
  • Same-sex couples: About 20 states use the phrase “husband and wife” when defining married couples who can adopt. But Nevada, among others, specifies that “spouses and unmarried intimate partners” may adopt, leaving room for same-sex couples.
  • Age requirements: To adopt in Nevada, you must be at least 21 years of age. In Nevada, the adopting parent must also be at least 10 years older than the adoptee. The child’s consent is required if they are over 14 years old.

Who May be Adopted?

All states permit children to be adopted, and some allow adults to be adopted in certain situations.

  • Adopting a child: Any child in need of caring parents can be adopted. If the child’s biological or legal parents are living, their consent is required unless the court has terminated their parental rights.
  • Adopting an adult: Nevada allows the adoption of any person, regardless of age. The only stipulation is that the adult to be adopted must be younger than the adoptive parent. Families may pursue adult adoption for many reasons, including formalizing the parent-child relationship, establishing inheritance rights, or setting up perpetual care for a disabled or cognitively delayed individual.

Who May Place a Child for Adoption?

Generally speaking, any person or entity with the right to determine a child’s care and custody may place that child for adoption. Such people and entities include:

  • The birth parent
  • The Legal Guardian or guardian ad litem
  • The Nevada Department of Health and Human Services
  • Licensed Nevada adoption agencies

Many states, including Nevada, allow non-agency child placement, also known as private adoption. One type of private adoption is the direct placement of a child by the birth parent with an adoptive family. Nevada has detailed statutory regulations regarding this to protect the interests of both parties.

Contact an Adoption Lawyer in Nevada

At Smith Legal Group, we understand the adoption process. That’s why we’re here to help you meet the required standards to welcome a new child or adult child into your family. We can also assist with terminating the parental rights of the child’s biological parents, a necessary step for adoption if the parents do not consent. To request a free consultation, please call our adoption law firm at 702-410-5001 or contact us online.