A parent’s spouse may want to legalize his or her relationship with the spouse’s child who is their non-biological child or step-child. This can be accomplished through a stepparent adoption. This is one of the most common types of adoptions. When everyone agrees that a stepparent adoption is in the child’s best interest, the process runs smoothly and at the end of the process, the child has the benefit of having a parent who wants to be, and participates, in that child’s life.
Relative Adoptions are often accomplished through a surrender of the natural parents’ parental rights to a relative who is related to the child, such as a grandparent, great-grandparent, aunt, uncle, great aunt, great uncle, or sibling. Other times relatives may become involve and seek to adopt the child after the biological parents parental rights have been terminated by a competent court of law, usually Juvenile Court.
Adoption of Adult Persons
In Georgia, adult persons may be adopted by giving written consent to the adoption. In cases like these, the adoption can be filed in either the county in which the person seeking to adopt lives, or the county where the adult being adopted lives. If the court if satisfied that there is no reason why the adoption should not be granted, the Court will enter a decree of adoption and, if requested, will also change the name of the adopted adult. Once the adoption is final, the relation between each petitioner and the adopted adult is, as to their legal rights and liabilities, the relation of parent and child. Often adults who have a stepparent and want the relationship solidified will do so through an adult adoption. Sometimes a godparent will adopt an adult godchild. Other times two adults who have a strong emotional parent/child relationship, but it is not a biological one, will pursue an adult adoption. Check out the case of John Goodman of Texas who adopted his adult girlfriend to avoid paying a legal judgment!
Agency Non-Relative Adoption
These are adoptions through which the placement agency is a private one, more frequently, the Department of Family and Children Services. This type of adoption follows a termination of parental rights (of the biological parents) and the child being placed in a foster home for a period of time. After a designated period of time, usually a few months, the child will then be available and eligible for adoption. At that point, an individual who is qualified to adopt a child may Petition the Court for adoption. That individual is usually someone who has developed a relationship with the child.
Second Parent Adoption
Second parent adoption is a legal procedure that allows same-sex couples (gay and lesbian parents) who are not married, to adopt their partner’s biological or adopted children without terminating the first parent’s right as a parent. Second parent adoptions give the child two legal parents. It protects both parents by giving both of them legally recognized parental status. This type of adoption involves one parent who already has legal rights of the child and a second parent that is petitioning for joint rights. This is usually the type of adoption best suited for a gay couple in a committed relationship, who are not married to each other, who both want to establish legal rights pertaining to the child. In this adoption, the child’s legal parent consents to the child being adopted by his or her spouse or domestic partner, with the result that they will both be the legal parents of the child. During the action, the court may request that a home study be completed for the home of the prospective parent.
LGBTQIA clients need to be very aware that many counties in Georgia will not necessarily approve this adoption if the other parent is openly homosexual. An attorney is usually necessary to ensure the process is less complicated. If the parties are married, a Step-Parent Adoption would be the appropriate vehicle under which to travel.
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