Adopting a child is a joyous occasion that can provide a meaningful experience for both the prospective parents and the adopted child. The steps to get there, however, can often become a tiresome and complicated process that can affect your life and the life of a child.
If you are considering adopting a child, here are some things you need to know.
Qualification for Adopting a Child in Georgia
Adoption is the legal process of joining a child to a family. Once an adoption is complete, the child who is adopted has the same rights and status as do those who were biologically born into a family.
If you are considering adopting a child in the state of Georgia, you must meet the following qualifications:
- You must be at least 25 years of age if you are single, and 10 years older than the child you want to adopt.
- If married and living with a spouse, you must be 10 years older than the child you want to adopt.
- You must have the ability and be willing to take care of the child you want to adopt both financially and physically.
- As an adoptive parent, you must make an unconditional commitment to meet the various needs of a child in your care, including their physical, emotional, medical, psychological and social well-being.
As you can see, you do not have to be a husband and wife to adopt a child. As the structure of the American family has continued to change, the adoption laws have changed as well.
As an example, we are seeing more and more children being adopted by single parents, same-sex parents, and even older parents who are over the age of 55.
At Speights Law, we handle a variety of adoptions including relative adoptions (step-parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, etc), third party adoptions, adult adoptions as well as agency adoptions through the Department of Family and Children Services (DFCS).
How Long Does the Adoption Process Typically Take?
It really depends on the case itself, but in August 2018, Georgia rewrote the adoption code to ensure adoptions are heard by the court a lot faster than what they once were.
These changes eliminated the requirement that individuals must live in Georgia for six months before they can adopt a child and also shortened the time that a parent could change their mind about putting a child up for adoption from a period of ten days down to only four days.
This allows for the adoption process to move along a lot more quickly if the biological parents are willing to surrender their parental rights. If the biological parents will surrender their rights, then the adoption can be completed in as little 45 days but no longer than 120 days.
If the parents contest the adoption, however, it will then take longer because the court has to conduct a full hearing and investigation to determine if the biological parents’ rights should be terminated as part of the adoption and if the adoption is in the best interests of the child.
Where Does the Adoption Take Place?
Since adoptions are a private family matter, the finalization of the adoption takes place in closed court and are sealed. This means that although the adoption is still held in a courtroom, the only people who are allowed to be present to witness the adoption process are those who have been invited there by the adopting parents, counsel for the adoptive parents, and the child or children involved in the adoption.
Are You Looking for an Attorney Who Specializes in Adoptions?
At Speights Law, our staff is very passionate and knowledgeable about adoptions. Because we are so knowledgeable about the process, we are able to streamline everything from the first time we meet with you to the final court hearing when the adoption takes place.
As our client, you can rest assured that we will present your case in such a manner that the entire adoption process goes efficiently and quickly. Contact us today at (770) 479-1500 to schedule an appointment for your consultation.
Amanda Speights is a co-founder and lead family law attorney at Speights Law, PC in Cherokee County. She is an experienced family law lawyer who handles an assortment of domestic cases, including divorce, child custody, child support, appeals and other types of litigation in the state of Georgia. To contact Amanda, please visit our contact page.