Code of the District of Columbia

§ 16–312. Legal effects of adoption.

(a) A final decree of adoption establishes the relationship of natural parent and natural child between adopter and adoptee for all purposes, including mutual rights of inheritance and succession as if adoptee were born to adopter. The adoptee takes from, through, and as a representative of the adoptive parent in the same manner as a child by birth, and upon the death of an adoptee intestate, the adoptee's property shall pass and be distributed in the same manner as if the adoptee had been born to the adopting parent in lawful wedlock. All rights and duties including those of inheritance and succession between the adoptee, the adoptee's natural parents, their issue, collateral relatives, and so forth, are cut off, except that when one of the natural parents is the spouse of the adopter, the rights and relations as between adoptee, that natural parent and the adoptee's parents, and collateral relatives, including mutual rights of inheritance and succession, are in no wise altered.

(b) While it is in force, an interlocutory decree of adoption has the same legal effect as a final decree of adoption. Upon the revocation of an interlocutory decree of adoption, the status of the adoptee, the natural parents of the adoptee, and the petitioners are as though the interlocutory decree were null and void ab initio.

(c) The family name of the adoptee shall be changed to that of the adopter unless the decree otherwise provides, and the given name of the adoptee may be fixed or changed at the same time.