Second Parent Adoption in Georgia Is Unclear
The State of Georgia permits single GLBT adoptions, and now with the change of law, a legally married same sex couple can do a step-parent adoption so one spouse can adoption the biological child of the other spouse.
Georgia does not clearly prohibit joint gay adoption where the partners are not married to each other. The status of Second Parent Adoption in Georgia is unclear, and many counties in the state still do not grant second parent adoptions. Contact us to let us know how we can help.
- Stepparent Adoption – 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. Which the change in law, this is now an option available to same-sex couples who are legally married.
- Single Adoption – Individual adoption is the traditional type of adoption where an unmarried person seeks to adopt a child that has been put for adoption by the birth parent(s) or by the State. Georgia law does not specifically prohibit a person from adopting simply because he or she is gay.
- Second Parent Adoption – Second parent adoption in Georgia is a legal procedure that allows same-sex couples who are NOT married to each other 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 guardians. 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 and 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 usually request that a home study be completed for the home of the prospective parent. An attorney is usually necessary to ensure the process is less complicated.
- Guardianship – While gay adoption is not legal, parents can protect their families by applying for guardianship. However, guardianship does not provide the same legal rights as adoption.
These are adoptions facilitated through a public sector agency that is charged with providing for the welfare of the child. These adoptions involve children who are most often in the custody of the Department of Family and Children Services. Many children in “DFCS” custody are there because there are substantiated allegations of abuse and neglect by their former custodians; usually their parents. If the parents or custodians do not complete their case plan, DFCS has the right to petition the Court to terminate the parental relationship and these children are then available for adoption by persons who will love, care and provide for them.
Persons wishing to adopt children through this method can contact their local Department of Family and Children Services Office.
Adoptions through this mechanism are very cost effective in comparison with the fees associated with a private adoption. Often the only cost to the prospective parent is the attorney’s fees and Court costs. On occasion, there is also financial assistance available for public adoptions, as well as for private adoptions of children considered to be “special needs” children, as defined by Georgia Law.