This office is responding to your request for legal advice regarding the validity
of an adoption that occurred after the adoptee reached twenty-one years of age. Our
research indicates that the adoption is valid.
The issue is whether the adoption of an adult, Raymond S~ ("Raymond"), by his grandmother,
Jacoba M~ R~ ("Jacoba"), is a valid adoption. The adoption occurred in Bayamon, Puerto
Rico when Raymond was twenty-four years old. Pursuant to the adoption decree, Raymond
became the adopted son of Jacoba and his name was changed to Raymond M~ R~.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) requires that for an adoption to be valid
it must be valid in the State or foreign country where it took place. GN 00306.135. Furthermore, at least one party to the adoption (either the adoptee or adopter)
must have been domiciled or actually residing in that jurisdiction at the time of
the adoption. Id.
Puerto Rico adoption law goes one step further; it requires that the adopter must
have resided uninterruptedly in Puerto Rico for at least six (6) months prior to the
date on which the petition for adoption was filed. 31 L.P.R.A. § 531(1). It also requires
the adopter be at least eighteen (18) years of age and have legal capacity to act.
Id. Additionally, in the case of an adult adoptee, Puerto Rico adoption law requires
that the adopter and the adoptee have resided together continuously since before the
adoptee reached the age of eighteen (18) and until the time of the adoption decree.
31 L.P.R.A. § 533(2).
Therefore, if an adoption petition satisfies the requirements of Puerto Rico adoption
law it necessarily satisfies the SSA adoption requirements. The Superior Court of
Bayamon, Puerto Rico, after having examined the complete record of the case, held
that: (1) Jacoba had resided uninterruptedly in Puerto Rico for at least six months
prior to the date on which the petition for adoption was filed; (2) Jacoba was at
least eighteen years of age; (3) Jacoba had legal capacity to act; and (4) Jacoba
and Raymond had resided together continuously since before Raymond reached the age
of eighteen and until the time of the adoption decree. Therefore, Jacoba and Raymond
satisfied each of the requirements of Puerto Rico's applicable adoption laws. The
court issued the adoption decree (Civil No. RF 77-2631) on January 27, 1982. It declared
Raymond S~ to be the adopted son of Jacoba M~ R~ l and ordered that his named be changed
to Raymond M~ R~.
Therefore, since the adoption is valid under Puerto Rico law and thereby satisfies
the SSA adoption requirements, it is a valid adoption.
Regional Chief Counsel