Can someone adopt their younger sibling?

Okay, so this isn't for real life. I'm writing a story and one of my character's (14) parents died. I was wondering if her older brother and his wife (both 27) can adopt her. Note that this is purely fictional. I just want to know if it's legal.

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  • Troy
    Lv 6
    10 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    Yes, there are legal processes by which relatives can adopt family members. There is a difference however, between having custody /and there are many types of custody) of a sibling and adopting a sibling. If I may, I will point out to a series of things you need to consider for your story, assuming that you want to write an informed and plausible novel:

    1) The parent's will. If both parents are dead, in all likelihood they had a will where they specified who would take care fo their minor children in case they were unable to do so and who would be in control of said children's inheritance. Parents can and sometimes do appoint an adult child as guardian but other relatives are more often considered like grandparents and uncles/aunts. Who controls the inheritance is also important because the assets cannot be handled by a minor, so it must be someone who will handle money on behalf of the child and this person often is the same one who has custody.

    2) Social workers. If you want the character's brother to be the appointed guardian, social workers are unlikely to investigate too much into the brother's background. They will often assume that the parents' judgment was adequate unless the brother has a criminal record. If there is no will or the will is contested, social workers will look at other relatives to take care of the minor child. In my experience, they prefer other relatives above siblings but it isn't a universal rule. Social workers are supposed to investigate the person (in this case the brother) who is about to obtain custody and examine his life-style and economic resources. Important questions that come up is: where does the brother live, is he married, does he have a girlfriend, where does he work, how much does he make etc.

    3) Fighting for custody: an older sibling is allowed to petition for custody of a minor even if he is not being considered by the state as a potential guardian. This means that the brother would have to hire a lawyer specialized in family law to represent him in court. He would then have to convince the judge (there is no jury in family law) that he is the person best equipped to raise the child. A judge wants a person who is stable, independent and with no criminal record. Sometimes two relatives fight for the child's custody (like divorced parents to). In my case, my brother fought my mother for my custody.

    4) Finally, the difference between adoption and custody. This, I think is important based on the way you worded your question. An adoption would mean that your character would become her brother's daughter under the law. This would erase any legal bond your character had with her parents and could complicate inheritance. Because the parents are dead, and assuming no one else wants custody of your character, the process would go very smoothly but it is a *separate* process. For many years my brother had legal and physical custody of me but it took him years to adopt me. In your character's case, the first step would be custody. The brother would have to become her guardian. Eventually, he could adopt her or they could stay that way. At age 14, and provided the child is staying out of trouble and supervised, social workers are unlikely to try to take the child away from the brother. In order to adopt the child she would have consent to it and start an adoption process which means judges, court procedures and lots of time and energy.

    Source(s): Legal ward of my oldest brother from age 9 to 14. Adopted by my brother at 15.
  • One can gain custody of a younger sibling, yes. It's typically done by becoming that sibling's legal guardian. It's adoption in the colloquial sense, not actual legal adoption, which would mean literally being declared your sibling's parent by a court.

    My brother raises me and is my legal guardian.

  • Anonymous
    10 years ago

    Yeah I'm pretty sure it is because a friend of a friend adopted her little brother.

  • Neil
    Lv 7
    10 years ago

    Laws, on this and nearly everything else, vary by place.

    What would be more plausible in your story would be for the older brother and SIL to become her guardians.

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  • 10 years ago

    OF COURSE

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