By David Walker, Attorney at Law
Our firm has handled adoptions since we began practicing law. A grant of a Final Decree of Adoption is one of the happiest moments in the legal field.
Here are answers to questions that are often asked.
Can a birth parent revoke a surrender of his or her child for adoption?
Yes, the surrenders can be revoked by delivery of written revocation within 10 days of signing the surrender.
Can the rights of a father be terminated if he does not want to surrender the child for adoption?
It depends on his status as father.
A “legal father” achieves that status by legitimating the child through legal procedure, or is the husband of the birth mother either at the time of conception or birth, or by marrying her afterwards and recognizing the child as his own. The legal father can generally prevent an unwanted adoption unless he has failed to support the child, abandoned the child, or in certain other unique circumstances.
A “biological father” is one who is the birth father but is not the legal father in any of the ways stated above, and if the biological father has:
•not lived with the child;
•not contributed to the child’s support;
•not made any attempt to legitimize the child; and
•not provided any support or medical care for the mother either during her pregnancy or during her hospitalization for the birth of the child; and
•not filed with the Putative Father Registry,
He may be found to not be entitled to notice, or only to be notified that he must file for legitimation of the child within 30 days. If he does not do so, and successfully legitimate the child, his rights can then be terminated.
Who can adopt a child in Georgia?
In Georgia, a child can be adopted by anyone:
•over the age of twenty-five years,
•a resident of the State for more than six months,
•over ten years older than the child to be adopted. (if the petitioner is married, then the age limit can be reduced to 18 years from 25 years of age), and
•is financially, physically, and emotionally able to parent the child, and
•without serious criminal conviction or offense which would indicate risk to a minor child.
Can adoptive parents pay any expenses of the birth mother and child?
Expenses that can be paid include:
•If a licensed agency is not involved, expenses other than medical costs directly related to the pregnancy, birth and medical care of the child cannot be paid.
•When through a licensed child-placing agency, reasonable living and medical expenses may be paid.
How does an adoption become final?
The court will enter a Final Decree of Adoption when all the requirements of law are met, including but not limited to home study, background checks, and a hearing before the court.
David Sinclair Walker, Jr. P.C. P.O.BOX 871329, Stone Mountain GA 30087;
North Gwinnett Office - 6340 Sugarloaf Parkway, Suite 200, Duluth GA 30097;
South Gwinnett Office - 2330 Scenic Highway, Snellville GA 30078
Telephone 770-972-3803; Facsimile 770-921-7418 email firstname.lastname@example.org
-Admitted in GA and D.C. -UGA Law ’76 -Certified Mediator -Georgia Bar No. 731725770) 972-3803 or visit http://www.walker-law-firm.com/