Adoptions

Adoptions

Independent Adoption • Relative, Grandparent, Family, and Step-Parent Adoption • Single-Parent Adoption • Foster Adoption

What many people do not know—including many attorneys who do not focus on Georgia adoption law—is that the adoption code in Georgia is very strict and inflexible. If you miss a detail or a deadline, the entire adoption can be contested or cannot proceed at all.

That is why we provide a high degree of personal attention and legal guidance to ensure that whatever adoption proceeds smoothly.

Independent Adoptions

There are several ways to undertake an independent adoption. Parents typically consult us when they have already identified a child they wish to adopt through the Georgia Department of Human Resources (DHR) or through a private placement with a friend or family member.

In these cases, we assist with the legal aspects of the adoption: termination of the biological parents' parental rights, drafting adoption petitions, representation at adoption hearings, obtaining birth certificates and Social Security cards, and finalizing the adoption so that you have all of the rights and obligations of a parent. Our office can even advise you on the tax implications and benefits of adoption, which can differ for United States versus international adoptions.

Related Person (Relative) Adoptions Step-Parent Adoptions:

These typically take place when a child's non-custodial biological parent is dead or has virtually no relationship with the child and is uninterested in developing one. The step-parent who lives with the child and has established a relationship wishes to adopt. These are typically quite simple, primarily involving either proof that the non-custodial parent is dead or termination of his or her parental rights, then a petition to the court for adoption.

Adoption by a step-parent is not a complicated procedure, and it can be verymeaningful for the parents and especially for the child. It gives the child all the rights of a birth child, including the right to inherit, and it gives you all of the rights and obligations of a birth parent.

Extended Family and Grandparent Adoptions

There are several situations when grandparents or other family members may seek to adopt a child. Grandparents frequently adopt their grandchildren when a child’s parents have both died or are in prison. Or, when one custodial parent dies or is incapacitated and they do not want the other birth parent to have custody, they may seek a contested adoption. On occasion, a grandparent will contest an adoption or seek to adopt when a birth mother is planning to place her child—their grandchild—for independent adoption by a third party. Finally, when children have been permanently removed from their parents' care by the Georgia Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS) due to abuse or neglect, grandparents or extended family members may choose to adopt the children.


Foster Family Adoptions

We also work with DFCS and foster families to adopt the children they have cared for in the foster system. Initially, this involves termination of parental rights of the children's biological parents. This can be done when they have not been complying with the case plan instituted as a condition of having their children returned and it is nearing the two-year mark of their children being in foster placement.

Depending upon the circumstances, parental rights termination could be completed within a month. Once the adoption petition is filed with the court, the adoption proceedings can occur within a month or two. In foster family adoptions, we attend all hearings with the foster parents and represent them before the Superior Court judge.

Contested Adoptions

We can also handle contested adoption cases. We have represented foster parents who are facing an adoption contest because a distant relative has petitioned to adopt the foster child, and other contested adoption situations.

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