14-8101. Adult adoption; agreement; consent of spouse; court procedure; petition

A. Any adult person may adopt either another adult person who is at least eighteen years of age and not more than twenty-one years of age and who consents to the adoption or another adult person who is a stepchild, niece, nephew, cousin or grandchild of the adopting person, by an agreement of adoption approved by a decree of adoption of the court in the county in which either the person adopting or the person adopted resides.  A foster parent may adopt an adult who was placed in the foster parent's care when the adult was a juvenile if the foster parent has maintained a continuous familial relationship with that person for five or more years.

B. The agreement of adoption shall be in writing, shall be executed by the person adopting the person to be adopted and shall state that the parties agree to assume toward each other the legal relation of parent and child and to have all of the rights and to be subject to all of the duties and responsibilities of that relation.

C. A married person who is not legally separated from that person's spouse cannot adopt an adult person without the consent of the spouse of the adopting person if the spouse is capable of giving the consent. A married person who is not legally separated from that person's spouse cannot be adopted without the consent of the spouse of the person to be adopted if the spouse is capable of giving that consent.  Neither the consent of the natural parent or parents of the person to be adopted, of the division nor of any other person is required.

D. The adopting person and the person to be adopted may file in the court in the county in which either resides a petition for a decree of adoption.  The court shall assign the case to a division of the superior court that shall fix a time and place for a hearing on the petition.  Both the person adopting and the person to be adopted shall appear at the hearing in person.  An attorney may appear on behalf of a person who is not able to appear if the attorney has that person's written authorization.  The court may require notice of the time and place of the hearing to be served on any other interested persons.  Any interested person may appear and object to the proposed adoption.  Before the hearing, a person designated by the court shall submit a written report concerning information that person gathers by observation or investigation regarding the welfare, competency and best interests of the parties and the public.  The court in its discretion may require additional investigation if it finds that the welfare of the proposed adoptee will be served or if additional information is necessary to make an appropriate decision regarding the adoption.

E. At the hearing the court shall examine the parties or the attorney of any party who is not present.  If the court determines that the adoption will be for the best interests of the parties and in the public interest, the court shall approve the agreement of adoption and make a decree of adoption declaring that the person adopted is the child of the adopting person.  If the court determines that the adoption is not in the best interests of the parties and the public interest, the court shall deny the petition for adoption.

F. The petition for adoption shall state:

1. The length and nature of the relationship between the person seeking to adopt and the proposed adoptee.

2. The degree of kinship, if any.

3. The reason the adoption is sought, together with a statement as to why the adoption would be in the best interests of the person seeking to adopt, the proposed adoptee and the public.

4. The names and addresses of any living parents or adult children of the proposed adoptee.

5. Whether the person seeking to adopt or that person's spouse has previously adopted any other adult person and, if so, the name of the person with the date and place of the adoption.

G. In determining whether or not the adoption of any person is in the public interest or the best interests of the persons seeking the adoption, the court may consider evidence without regard to the rules of evidence.