How to Nullify an Adoption for an Adult

By Charline Kong

gavel image by Cora Reed from

Parents who adopt usually look forward to building a long caring relationship with their child. However, with wishes and expectations not fulfilled there are those adopted children decide to nullify their adoption when they become adults. This is often a painful decision to reach by the adopted child, who is now an adult and no longer wishes to have a relationship with his adoptive parents. As well, others may decide to nullify their adoption because they have developed an ongoing relationship with their biological parents. Either way, nullifying an adoption for an adult can be a stressful undertaking, however, having the right information to complete the process can aid in reducing the stress.

Step 1

Secure the services of a practicing family law and adoption attorney. This type of attorney can guide you through the process and help you understand the laws in your state and how they can affect your particular circumstances. An attorney will also help protect your rights and aid in convincing the judge to reverse the adoption decree.

Step 2

File a petition to nullify your adoption with the court. This is usually referred to as "vacation" or "annulment." Laws are quite strict when it comes to reversing an adoption. The court much be presented with very compelling reasons for an adoption to be nullified. This will include giving a detailed explanation of your particular circumstances and the nature of your relationship with your adoptive parents. An attorney will help argue the case. After filing the petition, the court will set a hearing date to determine if the nullification case can be considered.

Read More: Divorce & Adoption

Step 3

Secure witnesses. With the help of your attorney, witnesses will reinforce your arguments and allow the judge to better understand your reasons for reversing your adoption. If you wish to nullify your adoption because your relationship with your adoptive parents has irrevocably deteriorated, for example, you must present a family member or friend that will testify on your behalf to these circumstances.

Present the court with your original adoption documents and your consent prior to the hearing. You will also need the consent of your birth parent or parents listed on your original birth certificate if you want it to be reinstated as their child. The court hearing will result in an amendment to your original birth certificate to reflect your natural parent(s) as your parent(s), if your request is granted. The court will also modify your last name to reflect the change.