Nothing under Florida adoption law prevents you from adopting a 20-year-old, nor does Florida law prevent you from adopting someone who does not have a legal status in the U.S. However, you should speak with an immigration attorney if you think the adoption will assist your niece's efforts to stay in the U.S.
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I recommend that you seek the assistance of an experienced attorney. This is a complicated field, and I suggest that you contact an attorney with both immigration and adoption experience. My office specializes in this and would be glad to set up a consultation for you. Otherwise, you can find a list of other experienced immigration attorneys through http://www.ailalawyer.com/ and other experienced adoption attorneys through www.adoptionattorneys.org.
Here are the basics. If you adopt a child past when the child turned 16, you will not be able to petition for immigration benefits for her based on the adoption. There is one exception to this rule, which is that if you adopt a sibling group, and one was below 16 and the other was over 16 but under 18, then you would be able to petition for immigration benefits for both children based on the adoption. However, it sounds like your niece is already over 18 and not in a sibling group.
Additionally, you should be careful in going forward with this because adoption for the purposes of immigration is considered fraud. That being said, though, from your question, it does not seem like immigration benefits was the only reason you wanted to adopt your neice. It sounds like you have bonded with her and would like her to stay a part of your family. If it is true that your goal is family unity, there are potentially other routes to immigration benefits.
Again, if you would like to discuss the process in detail, my office would be happy to talk with you. We regularly give guidance on this type of case.
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I am licensed to practice solely in Georgia, and do not intend to give legal advice or create a lawyer/client relationship. Please consult an attorney in your state for detailed advice on your legal question.
I agree with my colleague. I would definitely recommend you contact an experienced attorney in your area that handles these matters as I am concerned of the motive behind the adoption.
You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation since every case is different and not all information is relayed in an online question. The Law Office of Ophelia Bernal-Mora, P.A. is a family law firm located in Orlando, Florida, we invite you to contact us and welcome your calls at 407-354-5223. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please do not send any confidential information to us until such time as an attorney-client relationship has been established.
Yes..speak with an immigration attorney. What is the point of adopting her at this time, however?
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As stated by my colleagues, adoption is regulated by State Law. FL Law allows adult adoptions. Florida Statute, 63.042 says that"Who may be adopted; who may adopt.—(1) Any person, a minor or an adult, may be adopted." You may want to contact an attorney for the adoption process.
As far as the immigration process goes if and when the adoption is completed, you would have to discuss with an immigration attorney.