TN 10 (04-08)

PR 01310.033 New Jersey

A. PR 08-087 Sandra G~ Validity of New Jersey Adoption after Age 21

DATE: March 21, 2008

1. SYLLABUS

New Jersey law allows adults to be adopted by "persons of good moral character and of reputable standing in their community for the purpose of entering into a mutually beneficial adoptive relationship." While the law states that the adopting parent or parents must be at least ten years older than the person to be adopted, and the adoptee must, in writing, request the adoption and a name change, if desired, the Court may waive any of these requirements if it is satisfied that the best interests of the person to be adopted would be promoted by granting the adoption.

2. OPINION

Question Presented

You asked whether the adoption of Rosa G~, an adult disabled child, who was adopted in New Jersey at age 22 by her foster parents, Sandra and James G~, was valid under the laws of New Jersey.

It is our opinion that Rosa G~ was validly adopted under New Jersey law.

Facts

Rosa G~'s ("Rosa") birth certificate shows that she was born on December 5, 1971. Rosa told SSA that from 1980 to 1992, she lived with Sandra G~ ("Sandra"). She stated she moved out on her own at age 21 and Sandra adopted her when she was approximately 24 years old.

According to SSA records, Sandra was born on July 12, 1949 and James G~ ("James") was born on December 20, 1935.

The record from the January 20, 1994 judgment of adoption from the Middlesex County, New Jersey Superior Court shows that Sandra and James applied for permission to adopt Rosa D. C. V~; Rosa was an adult, age 22; Rosa had resided in the past with Sandra and James; Rosa had no property; Rosa had given her consent for the adoption; James and Sandra were of good moral character and reputable standing in their community; the adoption of Rosa would be to her advantage; and that Rosa's best interest would be promoted by the adoption. Accordingly, the court adjudged that Rosa would henceforth be treated in all respects as though she had been born to Sandra and James; Rosa's name would henceforth be Rosa L. G~; and her birth certificate would be modified to reflect this.

Discussion

New Jersey statutory law provides for the right of adoption of adults to persons of good moral character and of reputable standing in their community for the purpose of entering into a mutually beneficial adoptive relationship. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2A:22-1 (West 2000). Matter of Adoption of P, 193 N.J. Super. 33 (1983). Further, the adopting parent or parents must be at least ten years older than the person to be adopted, and the adoptee must, in writing, request the adoption and a name change, if desired. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2A:22-2 (West 2000). The Court may, however, waive any of these requirements if it is satisfied that the best interests of the person to be adopted would be promoted by granting the adoption. Id. The waiver must be recited in the judgment of adoption. Id.

Applying these requirements to the adoption of Rosa by Sandra and James, the New Jersey Superior Court found that Rosa requested the adoption and consented to it in writing. The Court concluded that Sandra and James were of good moral character and of reputable standing in the community. The Court then found that the adoption would be to the advantage of Rosa and would promote her best interests. Based on these facts, the Court granted the adoption. Although the judgment for adoption does not specifically state that Sandra and James are ten years older than Rosa, SSA records show that Sandra was born on July 12, 1949 and James was born on December 20, 1935, making each one more than ten years older than Rosa. Since the statutory criteria have been satisfied, the adoption of Rosa by Sandra and James is valid under the laws of New Jersey.

Conclusion

We conclude that the statutory criteria for an adult adoption have been met and that the adoption of Rosa in New Jersey at age 22 by Sandra and James is valid under the laws of New Jersey.

Ellen E. S~

Assistant Regional Counsel


To Link to this section - Use this URL:
http://policy.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/1501310033
PR 01310.033 - New Jersey - 04/25/2008
Batch run: 01/27/2009
Rev:</