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Asked in Woodstock, GA May 09, 2012 ,  5 answers Visitors: 21
Do i need permission from the father for a step parent adoption with a child born out of wedlock in Ga ?
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5 Answers

Anonymous
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Posted on / May 10, 2012 14:33:54

The other attorneys have all give good advise. The only thing I can think to add is that whether or not you know where the biological father is will go a long way to determine how complicated the case will be. If you know where he is, and he will surrender his rights (often he will do so just to get out of paying child support), the case can go quickly and smoothly. If he won't surrender, and you know where he is, you will have to serve him and see if he objects. If he does, a very technical and sometimes grueling hearing will ensue. If you don't know where he is, the Judge will want you to jump through a lot of hoops to get service, as a Judge's worst nightmare is to have an adoption reversed years later for improper service. Therefore, I urge you to hire an attorney, even if you have to make payments to them over a period of months to enable you to hire them. It will be the best money you ever spend.

Anonymous
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Posted on / May 10, 2012 01:16:55

Let me stress that you need a lawyer. Adoption is complex, and even a minor error can result in a failed case.

In Georgia, stepparent adoptions require either court termination of the father's rights or his consent, done in an exact and precise format (regardless of whether his name is on the birth certificate).

You are required to prove that you have made a diligent search for the bio-dad. That likely includes having a child support case with the state, online searches (such as Facebook and Yahoo), asking family and friends, checking phone and postal records, and so on. In some cases a court may approve published service if the father remains impossible to find.

Feel free to contact me regarding further questions at 404-768-3509.

Anonymous
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Posted on / May 10, 2012 00:21:16

You have asked several different questions, or at least raised several different issues. Adoption is something you really ought not to try on your own, and it can be a nightmare if you do it wrong. I say this because I speak from experience, having spent *literally* years of my life trying to help a woman get back her grandchildren after someone tried to take them away. The "interlopers" refused to hire a lawyer full-time, feeling that they were smart enough to do it on their own, and I lost A LOT of sleep with all of the things they tried. When there is ANY wrinkle, it can be a nightmare.

As to adoption by a stepparent, the operative Code Section is 19-8-6, and it's a good place to start. Your next step is to retain an experienced attorney.

"(a) Except as otherwise authorized in this chapter:

(1) A child whose legal father and legal mother are both living but are not still married to each other may be adopted by the spouse of either parent only when the other parent voluntarily and in writing surrenders all of his rights to the child to that spouse for the purpose of enabling that spouse to adopt the child and the other parent consents to the adoption and, where there is any guardian of that child, each such guardian has voluntarily and in writing surrendered to such spouse all of his rights to the child for purposes of such adoption; or

(2) A child who has only one parent still living may be adopted by the spouse of that parent only if that parent consents to the adoption and, where there is any guardian of that child, each such guardian has voluntarily and in writing surrendered to such spouse all of his rights to the child for the purpose of such adoption.

(b) In the case of a child 14 years of age or older, the written consent of the child to his adoption must be given and acknowledged in the presence of the court.

(c) The surrender specified in this Code section shall be executed, following the birth of the child, in the presence of a notary. A copy shall be delivered to the individual signing the surrender at the time of the execution thereof.

(d) A person signing a surrender pursuant to this Code section shall have the right to withdraw the surrender as provided in subsection (b) of Code Section 19-8-9.

(e) (1) The surrender by a parent or guardian specified in subsection (a) of this Code section shall meet the requirements of subsection (e) of Code Section 19-8-26.

(2) The biological father who is not the legal father of a child may surrender all his rights to the child for purposes of an adoption pursuant to this Code section. That surrender shall meet the requirements of subsection (d) of Code Section 19-8-26.

(f) A surrender of rights shall be acknowledged by the person who surrenders those rights by also signing an acknowledgment meeting the requirements of subsection (g) of Code Section 19-8-26.

(g) Whenever the legal mother surrenders her parental rights or consents to the adoption of her child by her spouse pursuant to this Code section, she shall execute an affidavit meeting the requirements of subsection (h) of Code Section 19-8-26.

(h) Whenever rights are surrendered pursuant to this Code section, the representative of each petitioner shall execute an affidavit meeting the requirements of subsection (k) of Code Section 19-8-26.

(i) A surrender or consent pursuant to this Code section may be given by any parent or biological father who is not the legal father of the child sought to be adopted irrespective of whether such parent or biological father has arrived at the age of majority. The surrender given by any such minor shall be binding upon him as if the individual were in all respects sui juris.

(j) The parental consent by the spouse of a stepparent seeking to adopt a child of that spouse and required by subsection (a) of this Code section shall be as provided in subsection (l) of Code Section 19-8-26."

Anonymous
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Posted on / May 09, 2012 21:20:02

In Georgia, stepparent adoptions do require either that the birth father's rights be voluntarily surrendered or terminated by the court, regardless of whether his name is on the birth certificate. That said, the proper process must be followed exactly to be certain that the birth father's rights are appropriately addressed and that the adoption is secure. In many cases, this means that notice must be provided by publication when the biological father cannot be found.

I recommend that you contact an attorney with adoption experience to discuss the process and timing in your situation. Because adoption is very case-specific, it is difficult to give you an estimate of how much time your stepparent adoption would take.

I would be happy to discuss your case with you offline and offer free initial consultations. You can find a list of other experienced adoption attorneys at the website for the Georgia Council of Adoption Lawyers. If cost is an issue, you may want to contact the Atlanta Legal Aid Society to see if they can provide a referral for an attorney in your area who can assist you at low or no cost.

Anonymous
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Posted on / May 09, 2012 20:30:53

First of all, please DO NOT attempt to pursue this adoption without an attorney! There are a number of very specific requirements in an adoption proceeding. If you do anything wrong, it will prevent your goal. Don't try it.

That being said... The answer to your question is "yes and no". The stepfather is required to notify the father of his intent to attempt to adopt. Through notification, the father will be given the opportunity to consent or object and pursue his parental rights. If the father does not consent, it may be possible to have his rights permanently terminated.

There are methods of serving a person even if their current address is unknown.

Your attorney will make certain the all of the notification, consent/termination, and other requirements under the law are appropriately satisfied. You just need to make certain you've hired an attorney you can be comfortable with.

Good luck.

~ Kem Eyo

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