What You Need to Know About Stepparent Adoption in Georgia
Stepparents often become essential parts of children’s lives. In most cases, when families blend, stepparents may wish to adopt their stepchild to make their relationship legal and official. Besides giving your stepchild a deeper sense of belonging and serving as a statement of affection and love for your stepchild, adoption will likewise provide you with the rights and responsibilities of a parent under the law.
But because the law considers parenthood as a permanent (ideally) and serious responsibility, stepparent adoptions can be a lengthy and complicated process, depending on your case. Likewise, the success of the stepparent adoption process is mainly dependent on the specific circumstances and wishes of the child’s biological parents. Here’s what you should know about stepparent adoption in Georgia.
What is The Process For Stepparent Adoption in Georgia?
Under Georgia law, you can petition or apply to adopt your stepchild after the biological parent’s (the other child’s parent) rights have been legally terminated and with consent from the custodial parent. But if the child’s other parent is deceased, you will only need permission from the custodial parent. The termination of parental rights, if applicable, will also include the termination of duties, including a child support order, which is usually an issue in such cases.
The termination of parental rights can be voluntary or involuntary. If your stepchild’s other parent doesn’t want to relinquish their parental rights or if the case involves child abandonment, the court will step in and decide whether the termination would be in the child’s best interests. The court must determine that the other parent has really abandoned your stepchild.
This will require proof that the other parent, without any justifiable reason, did not communicate with or contact your stepchild or did not even attempt to reach your stepchild in any way. The court will also look into the duties of the other parent to determine whether they failed to give your stepchild the support and care required by an order or the law.
Once the other parent’s rights have been terminated, you are now free to open a case for stepparent adoption. It is particularly vital that you have a Georgia family law attorney working with you throughout the adoption process because it will entail court appearances, filing of various paperwork, interviews, and home visits, among others.
Reach Out to a Trusted Stepparent Adoption Attorney in Georgia Now
Adopting your stepchild can further strengthen your blended family’s relationship and make the child feel more secure, particularly if they have a detached, deceased, or estranged parent. If you are considering stepparent adoption in Georgia, get in touch with Banks, Stubbs & McFarland today.
Our Georgia family law attorney has helped many stepparents navigate the complex process of stepparent adoption and can address any questions and concerns you may have about your case. To set up a consultation with our family law attorney in Georgia, and find out more about the unique issues you may face when adopting your step-child, call 770-887-1209 or contact us online.