Adoption is not easy. There is no fast track process to expand a family overnight. The circumstances leading to adoption are sometimes painful. Done properly, however, adoption can be the most fulfilling experience of a person’s life. At Banks Stubbs and McFarland, we place the best interests of the child above every other consideration. Our family law attorneys pay careful attention to complex details of custody are the best assurances for a successful adoption process and a safe, nurturing environment for the new child.
Our clients include seniors, interracial couples, single parents, LGBT couples and people in every demographic range. We accept cases in which adoption is contested and search for solutions that all sides can live with, despite disappointment.
Our family law attorneys are also able to counsel you on gestational surrogacy to have a child. This is an area where the law is rapidly evolving. We stay on top of these changes to provide you with reliable advocacy.
Below is the complete list of all of the areas of adoption we provide counsel for:
- Infant adoption
- Private placement adoption
- Independent adoption
- International adoption
- Stepparent adoption
- Adoption by grandparents and other relatives
- Foster child adoption
- Adult adoption
It pleases us enormously to assist Georgia families in adding new members. We help with every kind of adoption and guardianship plan and are there for every step of the way. If you are considering adopting a child in the state of Georgia, call us today to start building your family.
How to Adopt a Child in Georgia
The adoption process is relatively straightforward, although it can be complicated. The adoption gives a child the same rights as a child born naturally into your family.
Some families may decide not to adopt because they believe they are unable to pass the requirements, but the qualifications to adopt are not as stiff as people may believe. In Georgia, the parent must be 25 or older. The parent should also be 10 years older than the child he or she wishes to have placed in your home. Married couples must also be at least 10 years older than the child to be adopted. Additionally, the parent(s) must reside in Georgia for at least six months before filing the adoption petition.
The 7 Steps of Adoption
There are seven main steps to the adoption process. The first is called the inquiry. This is when the Georgia Division of Family Services is contacted to start the adoption process and schedule an appointment with the case manager.
Next is an orientation which discusses the requirements to adopt. Photos of children who are available for adoption are presented during the orientation. The IMPACT program is the next step following orientation and provides 20 hours of training in a classroom to help new parents.
Next, families are evaluated. If a couple is eligible to adopt, then they may be able to identify a child for adoption early and opt for pre-placement. The child will be placed in the couple or individual’s home during the placement step. Preliminary visits occur before that takes place.
The last step is finalization of adoption. An adoption attorney will need to be there, and a case judge will finalize the adoption in most cases.
Stepchild Adoption in Georgia
As a stepparent to a child without a father or a mother in his/her life, that stepparent may feel like he or she wants to take on that role and support the child he or she loves. When there for a child in everyday life, the legal responsibility to the child is different from the child’s biological parents.
For some people, the answer to this question of rights is seeking an adoption of the stepchild. Usually, stepchild adoption only occurs if the biological parent gives up his or her rights or is no longer living. This is not always the case, but generally speaking, only two people can have guardianship over a child.
When adopting a stepchild, the parent gains the full financial and legal responsibilities that a biological parent receives. Following adoption, the stepparent will be able to designate the child as a beneficiary to his/her estate and can indicate custody to get the stepchild a passport. With custody, medical benefits or other kinds of benefits can be provided to the child, and the stepparent can also authorize medical care for the child in an emergency or other situation.
Georgia sometimes requires home studies as part of the stepchild adoption process. A home visit is scheduled to view the interactions between the family. Our law firm provides counsel for all aspects of stepchild adoption so you are prepared and well-informed. Call today to best prepare for the adoption process.