Adult Adoption

Templates and Forms

Adult adoption is a legal procedure in which an older adult adopts a younger adult. Once an adult adoption is complete, the parties assume toward each other a legal parent-child relationship, with all associated rights and responsibilities of such a relationship, including inheritance rights. Adult adoption cannot be used for Immigration purposes.

Information included in this guide does not apply to independent, agency, international, or stepparent adoptions. Stepparent Adoption forms can be accessed through the Sacramento Superior Court at the following link: Stepparent Adoption Forms.

An adult adoption severs all existing parent-child relationships, unless the adopting parent is the adoptee’s stepparent. When a stepparent adopts an adult stepchild, the adopting parent’s spouse retains his/her parent-child relationship with the adoptee. The procedures for adopting an adult in California are found in the California Family Code (Fam.) §§ 9300-9340.

The required documents for an adult adoption are:

  • The Adoption Agreement. This document states that the parties agree to assume toward each other the legal relationship of parent and child, and to have all the rights and be subject to all the duties and responsibilities of that relationship.
  • The Petition for Approval of Adoption Agreement. This is the formal request that the court approve the Adoption Agreement. This document must provide specific details, including the ages of the parties, the nature and length of their relationship, and the reasons the parties are seeking this adoption. Be clear and specific about why the adoption would be in the best interest of the parties.   
  • The Order of Adoption. This is the formal court order granting the adoption. Present this at the adoption hearing for the judge to sign.
  • Spousal Consent(s). If either party is married, consent of the spouse(s) is required.

Step-by-Step Instructions


Complete the Required Forms

There is no Judicial Council form for this procedure. Instead, the relevant documents must be typed on 28-line pleading paper. Customizable templates may be downloaded from these links:

Sample filled-in forms with instructions are available at the end of this Guide.


Make Copies & Organize

Make copies for all parties and for the Court. Your Adoption Agreement and Spousal Consents should be attached to your Petition as exhibits.

In Sacramento County, the exhibits in one set of photocopies must be separated by a rigid sheet of card stock with a tab identifying the letter of the exhibit on the bottom. The Law Library sells exhibit tabs at the Circulation Desk.

Exhibits for the original and other two copies should be separated by a blank piece of pleading paper with their exhibit letter or number typed or written at the bottom of the page. The copy with the tab will be kept by the court, and the tab exists to allow the judge to quickly flip to the exhibit. If you forget this tab on one of the copies, the court clerk may reject your entire filing.


Obtain Form VS-44, Court Report of Adoption

Form VS-44, Court Report of Adoption, is required for all types of adoptions. The court completes this form and forwards it to the Office of Vital Records. In many courts, the clerk will provide the form. Otherwise, you may request the form by mail from the California Department of Public Health, Office of Vital Records.
A VS-44 web form is also available online.

California Department of Public Health, Office of Vital Records
MS 5103 P.O. Box 997410, Sacramento, CA 95899-7410


File Your Documents

File your Petition for Approval of Adoption Agreement, including exhibits, along with the blank VS-44. You may file in the county where either party resides.

The clerk will stamp “endorsed filed” on your Petition including all copies, assign your case number, and set a hearing date.
The court does not impose a filing fee for adoption papers, but you will have to pay $20, which is forwarded to the Registrar of Vital Statistics for preparing and maintaining the official records California Health & Safety Code § 103730.

Where Do I File in Sacramento?
William R. Ridgeway Family Relations Courthouse
3341 Power Inn Road
Sacramento, CA 95826

NOTE: If the adoptee is a developmentally disabled adult, you must give a 30-day notice of the hearing to the director of the regional center for the developmentally disabled. The center will file a written report with the court regarding the suitability of the adoption. Fam. § 9327.


Attend the Adoption Hearing

Bring your Adoption Agreement and Order of Adoption to your hearing. The Court will ask you the reasons for this adult adoption. Make sure that the statements in your Petition are clear and specific and refer to the Petition as you speak to the judge. Both parties must be present at the hearing.


File Your Signed Order of Adoption

After your hearing, file your signed Order of Adoption. The clerk can provide you with certified copies of the Order of Adoption upon your request.


Amend Your Birth Certificate

After the adoption is final, the court will mail the VS-44 to the State Office of Vital Records. On this form, you may request an amended birth certificate that reflects this adoption. It may take several months for the Office of Vital Records to process your amendment.

For help

SH@LL (Self-Help at the Law Library) (formerly Civil Self Help Center)
609 9th Street, Sacramento CA 95814
(916) 476-2731 (Appointment Request Line)

Services Provided: SH@LL provides general information and basic assistance to self-represented litigants on a variety of civil legal issues, including name changes. All assistance is provided by telephone. Visit “What we can help with” for a list of qualifying cases.

Eligibility: Must be a Sacramento County resident or have a qualifying case in the Sacramento County Superior Court.

For more information

At the Law Library:
California Forms of Pleading and Practice KFC 1010 .A65 C3 (Ready Reference)
Vol. 2, Chap. 12C, Adoption: Adults and Unmarried Minors.
Electronic Access: On the Law Library’s computers, using Lexis Advance.

California Transactions Forms: Family Law KFC 68 .F3
Chap. 6, § III: Adoption of Adult or Unmarried Minor.

Summary of California Law
KFC 80 .W57 (Ready Reference)
Vol. 10, Parent and Child, §§ 154 – 156.


Petition for Approval of Adoption Agreement

Order of Adoption

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