Adoption Law and Legal Definition

Adoption law is generally governed under state law. All 50 states have statutes governing adoption; the process by which a legal parent-child relationship is created between individuals not biologically parent and child. In most cases, adopted children may inherit on an equal basis with biological children under state laws of distribution upon death of a parent. In some states, doctrines of ""equitable adoption"" allow courts to recognize adoptions when not all statutory procedures have been carried out. The parent-child relationship established by adoption, however, will be relevant to areas of federal law affected by family status such as Social Security and federal income taxation.