Atlanta Adoptions Attorney
Many children grow up with no sense of family and no definitive support system. Often, they enter adulthood unprepared for what lies ahead. Many families decide to explore their adoption options. Regardless of which path a family chooses, the experience and legal guidance from a qualified and experienced Atlanta adoption attorney is crucial.
Adoption is one of the most personal and intimate decisions a family can make. Whether a loved one is considering placing a child for adoption or if your family is eagerly anticipating the arrival of an adopted family member, there are legal considerations that are designed to protect the child as well as both the adoptee and the adoptive families. Our Atlanta adoption attorneys are not only familiar with the Georgia adoption laws, but we also understand the delicacy needed in these emotional life events.
Many families have been through the adoption experience and few events in life can ever come close to the emotions that come with making these choices. It requires a sensitivity and respect for both sides of the process.
What are private adoptions?
Private adoptions will often involve private adoption agencies in Georgia and in another country or state. You may need an attorney in both states. Often, an adoption attorney will advise and represent his or her clients through the process to its conclusion. It is important to know that the required documents depend on the type of adoption and the relationship to the child. If the person adopting is a grandparent or step-parent, the documents required will vary widely compared to the documents required for an independent or agency adoption.
It’s important to understand, too, that a private adoption may include stipulations that no future contact is made and that the identities of one or both sides of the adoption remain anonymous. Alternatively, the parties may agree to some contact provisions. Private adoptions provide for any number of stipulations.
It’s also possible for an individual to adopt a child from the foster care system, turning a foster child into a permanent member of the family.
What kind of expenses can the adoptive family pay the expectant mother?
In Georgia, reasonable living and medical expenses that are directly related to the pregnancy are allowed. This includes medical care after the baby is born and the medical costs associated with labor and delivery.
Can a birth mother change her mind and opt out of the adoption process?
Under present law and at the time of this article, yes. A birth mother cannot sign the legal documents until at least 24 hours have passed after giving birth and after that, she has ten days in which she can revoke her consent to the adoption. If she chooses to do so, custody of the child remains with the birth mother. Please note that the law may have changed after the date of this article.
What is a step parent adoption?
It’s not uncommon for stepparents to want to adopt a spouse’s child or children. Whether it’s due to the death of a parent or one who simply has no interest in raising his or her child, these specific adoptions are unfolding every day in courtrooms around the country, including Georgia. Stepparent adoptions are one of the many issues that our family law attorneys can handle.
Can a grandparent adopt a grandchild?
Another adoption scenario that plays out is the adoption of a grandchild. These adoptions occur most often when neither parent is living or otherwise unavailable or if the biological and legal parents willingly surrender their parental rights. The inability to raise one’s own child might be due to drugs or other addictions, a prison sentence or perhaps the parent is unaware of the child’s existence. These cases require a thorough understanding of Georgia’s adoption laws, a sensitivity to all parties and a commitment to ensuring the child is safe and in the best environment.
What happens if adoptive parents get divorced?
On occasion, a couple who has adopted a child may find themselves seeking a divorce or legal separation. Many have questions concerning what will happen if the parents end their relationship. Typically, the process is the same, whether the children are biological or adopted. A family law attorney will guide you through the process of assets division, arranging child custody and child support, negotiating alimony and spousal support and so on.
What’s the difference between a legal parent and a biological parent?
Georgia differentiates legal parents from biological parents:
Biological parent means either the male who impregnated the biological mother or the woman who carried the child until birth.
A legal father is a male who has legally adopted a child, was married to the child’s mother at the time of conception or at birth, unless paternity was otherwise established. A legal father can also be married to the mother after the child’s birth and recognizes the child as his own, unless paternity was otherwise established and acknowledged or has been determined to be the father per Georgia law.
A legal mother is defined as a female who is either the biological or adoptive mother of the child and who has not surrendered or had her rights to the child terminated.
Adopting a Child Outside of Georgia
If you opt for a domestic adoption, but one outside of Georgia, there may be an additional layer of complexity to the process, as adoption laws differ from state to state. The process is even more complex if you opt to pursue an international adoption, as international adoption law varies dramatically from nation to nation.
What is the Georgia Putative Father Registry?
The Georgia Putative Father Registry is maintained by the state and is a list of the names of men who have acknowledged paternity of a child by completing the Paternity Acknowledgment form. They may have also added their names in the event of a possible paternity without actually completely acknowledging it. Its purpose allows for and is limited to biological fathers who wish to provide identifying information about themselves and other details relevant to the child in the event the child is ever placed for adoption without the father being notified.
If it’s possible a man could have fathered a child and is concerned about not being told, he can consider adding his name to the state’s registry.
Adoption is an extraordinary decision and requires not only deep soul-searching, but also a realistic approach to the legalities associated with the process. A qualified Atlanta adoption lawyer can help navigate those waters that are sure to change your life – and the lives of everyone involved – forever. We applaud your thoughtfulness, love, and compassion in giving a child a safe and loving family in which to grow and mature.
If you are seeking help from a qualified adoption lawyer, contact our law firm today. We’re here to discuss your questions, assist with the planning process and provide you with useful resources as you proceed with your adoption. Attorneys with Hecht Walker P.C. are available to discuss your case. Just call 404-369-3073.
This information was posted on 08-23-2016 and does not constitute legal advice nor does it create an attorney-client relationship. The law changes on a daily basis, and the reader should engage an attorney through a written agreement before taking action in this area of the law.