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FAQs About Domestic Adoption In Georgia

by Sharon Jackson  on August 2, 2023 under 

In parenthood, few endeavors match the profound journey of adoption. The choice to adopt a child can be one of the best decisions of your life and can make an even more monumental difference in the life of your new son or daughter. However, adoption is often a complex process. There are many legal considerations that prospective parents should be aware of regarding the different types of adoption, challenges that can arise, and how to navigate the process successfully. Read on for the answers to some of the most common and frequently asked questions surrounding domestic adoption in Georgia.

Frequently Asked Questions About Domestic Adoption In Georgia

What is Domestic Adoption?

Domestic adoptions, or in-state adoptions, are adoptions where everyone, including the child and the adoptive parents, is located in the same state. This means that if a parent or couple residing in Georgia is adopting a child also located in Georgia, the adoption is considered domestic. In family law, "domestic adoption" refers to same-country adoptions.

What Does it Mean When an Adoption is "Contested?"

When an adoption is "contested," one or more parties involved in the adoption process disagree or oppose the adoption. This could involve the birth parents or other family members. In a contested adoption, legal disputes need to be resolved before the adoption can proceed.

How Are Contested Adoptions Handled?

Contested adoptions are typically handled through a two-part legal process. The first phase addresses the termination of the biological parent's rights. If the court determines that termination is appropriate, it paves the way for the child's legal eligibility for adoption. The process can then move forward to the second phase, where the prospective adoptive parents can seek to finalize the adoption.

What is a Private Adoption?

Private adoption refers to the adoption process facilitated by private adoption agencies or attorneys rather than through a public or government agency. In a private adoption, the birth parents voluntarily place their child for adoption directly with the adoptive parents or through an intermediary like an adoption agency or attorney.

What is a Third-Party Adoption?

Third-party adoptions are where a person not biologically related to the child adopts them. This can be a stepparent, foster parent, or any other individual with no blood relation to the child.

How Do Foster Care Adoptions Work in Georgia?

Though many children in the foster system are eventually reunited with their biological families, some become eligible for adoption. In foster care adoptions, foster parents can seek permanent custody of their foster children. Once the biological parent's rights are surrendered or nullified by the court, the child's foster parents often receive priority for adoption.

How Do Stepparent Adoptions Work in Georgia?

Stepparent adoptions are often straightforward. They occur when the custodial parent consents to their spouse becoming the child's legal parent, and the new parent formally acknowledges the child as their own through the required legal processes. The process may still require the termination of the biological parent's rights before the adoption can proceed.

What Happens After the Adoption?

Once the adoption is complete, the child is issued a new birth certificate showing the adoptive parents as the child's biological parents. Then, the adoption file is sealed. This ensures privacy and confidentiality, as it protects any documentation showing that the adoptive parents are not the natural parents.

Is it Possible to Adopt a Child From Another Country?

While adopting a child from another country is possible, the process can be immensely challenging and much more complex than regular adoptions. The rules and regulations surrounding foreign adoptions are entirely different from those governing domestic adoptions, and prospective parents are usually required to travel to the child's country of residence.

What Are the Requirements to Adopt a Child in Georgia?

To adopt a child in Georgia, prospective parents must either be 21 or married and living with their spouse. If married, both spouses file the adoption petition, but for stepparents adopting their stepchild, the stepparent alone may file. Also, parents must be at least ten years older than the child, except for stepparents or relatives. Finally, prospective parents must demonstrate their financial, physical, and mental capacity to care for the child.

How Long Does the Process of Adopting a Child Usually Take?

The duration of the domestic adoption process can vary widely, typically taking several months to a few years. Factors influencing the timeline include:

  • The type of adoption (private, foster care, step-parent, etc.).
  • The caseload of the adoption agency or attorney.
  • The prospective adoptive parents' preferences.
  • A contested adoption will take significantly more time than an uncontested adoption where all the parties are in agreement.

Completing paperwork, home studies, background checks and matching a child with a family can all contribute to the timeline.

Is it Easier for Biological Relatives to Adopt a Child?

In Georgia, it can be easier for biological relatives to adopt a child since they may be given preference in certain adoption cases. This is often based on maintaining family connections and providing a familiar environment for the child.

Do I Need an Attorney to Adopt a Child?

Yes, enlisting the services of an experienced adoption attorney is highly advisable for all types of adoptions, including domestic adoptions. Adoption involves intricate legal processes, paperwork, and potential complexities that vary from case to case. An attorney can provide essential legal guidance, ensure regulatory compliance, and protect your interests throughout the adoption journey. Having an attorney streamlines the process and increases the likelihood of a successful and legally binding adoption.

Reach Out to Skilled Domestic Adoption Attorney Sharon Jackson Today

Adoption is a process that can impact families in a profound way. The moments leading up to adopting your new child should be smooth and comfortable, not bogged down by legal complexities, mental burdens, and confusion. Contact the reputable Family Law Attorney Sharon Jackson today for expert guidance through the intricate domestic adoption process. Attorney Sharon Jackson brings experience and compassion from private adoptions to stepparent adoptions, ensuring a worry-free and fulfilling path to parenthood.

Don't wait—reach out now and lay the foundation for a bright future with your new family member. For a consultation, contact Family Law Attorney Sharon Jackson by calling (678) 436-3636 or filling out our contact form here.


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