Expert Family Law Lawyer Helping Gwinnett County Families With Adoptions
In Georgia, a person over the age of 18 years old and 10 years older than a child may adopt a child. Generally speaking, there are relative adoptions (like step-parents, grandparents), private adoptions, and even adult adoptions. Yes–a person over the age of 18 (an adult) can be adopted by another adult in Georgia.
Many times, after a successful marriage to a spouse who had children from a previous marriage, a bond develops. The step-parent then may seek to adopt his step-child and create a legal relationship. In Georgia, a step-parent has no legal relationship or rights to a step child. By adopting that child, the step- parent becomes the legal parent, just as if that child had been born to him or her. If the biological parent agrees, then that can be uncontested and a relatively simple and inexpensive process. In some cases, however, we must terminate the rights of the biological parent first, and it can become contested.
The Adoption Process
An adoption is a big deal and is not to be taken lightly. By adopting a child, a person becomes the parent and is legally responsible for that child–just as if that child had been born to them. In some strange cases, the adoptive parent has been able to obtain custody of a child from the biological parent after a divorce. There is no difference in a legal sense between a biological child and an adopted child. The child inherits from the parent just as if they had been born to them. Likewise, the parent has the same legal rights as the biological parent. Because of this, there are many documents to properly complete, execute, and file. The parents must undergo a criminal background check and be fingerprinted. The parent must be 10 years older than the child. The adopting parent must complete a medical form showing any medical issues with the child. The adoption process is sealed so that all these documents are not of public record. The adoption itself usually occurs in the judge’s chambers. The rights of the biological father and mother are forever terminated as to the child, so the appropriate paperwork must be carefully executed and explained to the biological parents in accordance with state law.