The adoption process is complex, and no matter what type of adoption you’re pursuing – identified, private, agency, or international – you need skilled legal guidance to prevent missteps or errors that can have disastrous consequences. Our team will work with you every step of the way to eliminate obstacles so the process moves forward as smoothly and speedily as possible.
Adoption is a complicated process, and it takes experienced legal help to guide families through it, and ensure that legal rights are established properly. There is no “typical” adoption and given the unique structure of families, it is important to have a lawyer who is responsive to your needs and circumstances. Failure to properly adopt a child can have devastating consequences to families in the future.
To adopt a child in Georgia, you must meet the following requirements:
Be at least 25 years old or married and living with your spouse (or be at least 21 years old in the case of a relative adoption)
Be at least 10 years older than the child you are adopting
Be financially, physically and mentally able to have permanent custody of the child
If you are married, you must file to adopt jointly. In a stepparent adoption, the stepparent’s spouse does not need to join in the adoption petition.
In Georgia, there are six types of adoption:
- Public or private agency adoptions: These adoptions occur when a private adoption agency or the State, via the Georgia Division of Family and Children Services, places the child with the adoptive parents.
- Adoptions by third parties: These adoptions occur when a third party, meaning someone other than a relative or step parent, adopts the child.
- Stepparent adoptions: When a stepparent adopts the child.
- Relative adoptions: These adoptions occur when a grandparent, great-grandparent, aunt, uncle, great aunt, great uncle or a sibling of the child adopts the child.
- Adult adoptions: When the person to be is adopted is over 18.
- Adoptions by foreign decree: These adoptions occur when the child has already been adopted in another country via a decree of adoption in that country. In order for the adoptive parents to return with the child to the U.S., the child must have a valid visa.
In Georgia, the child’s living parent or guardian must voluntarily and in writing surrender all rights to the child, in order for that child to be adopted.
Surrender or termination of parental rights is not required when the court determines that:
- The parent abandoned the child
- The parent cannot be found after a diligent search has been made
- The parent is insane or incapacitated from surrendering such rights
- The parent has failed to exercise proper prenatal care or control due to misconduct or inability
- The parent has failed to communicate or make a bona fide attempt to communicate with the child in a meaningful, supportive, parental manner for a period of one year or longer prior to the filing of the adoption petition without justifiable cause
- The parent has failed to provide for the care and support of the child as required by law and the court for one year or longer prior to the filing of the adoption petition, and the court determines that the adoption is in the best interests of the child.
The steps for filing for an adoption can be overwhelming without the assistance of counsel. At The Law Offices of Precious Felder, we are happy to assist with the adoption process. Contact our office today to learn more about the adoption process.