State Adoption Laws in Georgia
Knowing Georgia state laws helps adoptive parents navigate the adoption process. Complying with state adoption laws is essential to obtaining a final adoption decree.
The adoption process makes it possible for a child to legally join a family. Under the law, the adopted child is given the same status and rights as those of the other family members.
Adoptive parents and birth parents need to understand the adoption laws in Georgia in order to achieve the best outcome for everyone involved.
Laws Related to Adoptive Parents
Adoptive parents must meet certain requirements under state laws. In order to adopt, parents must be at least 25 years old if they are a single parent.
Married couples must live together and file a joint petition for adoption. All adoptive parents must be Georgia residents for a minimum of six months before filing a petition.
Adoptive parents need to demonstrate their ability and willingness to care for the child. Anyone adopting a child is expected to provide the care and resources needed to meet their physical, emotional, health, educational, and social needs.
References from other family members must also be provided. If either parent works in an industry that gives them access to children, a reference from a current or previous employer is required.
Evaluating the Home Environment
State adoption laws in Georgia also require a home study to be carried out by a court-appointed agency or independent agent.
The home study lets them verify the information included in the adoption petition, perform criminal background checks, and submit a report to the courts.
At least three visits are required including one that occurs in the home. The home study includes interviews with all family members. Joint and separate interviews of the parents are used to gather a wide range of information.
The home study considers the parents’ reasons for wanting to adopt as well as their parenting skills, social background, health history, finances, and occupations.
Financial Reimbursement in Adoption
Adoptive parents may choose to provide financial resources to the birth mother as part of the adoption process. Under Georgia adoption laws, adoptive parents may legally cover medical expenses involved with the pregnancy and childbirth.
Any other expenses may not be covered by the adoptive parents. The birth mother may not receive any payments as an incentive to give her child up for adoption.
Consulting with a family law attorney will help you determine the state laws you need to consider as you move forward. Financial disbursements must be accounted for in a report submitted alongside the adoption petition.
Birth parents may consent to adoption at any time after the child has been born. The child is handed over to a placement agency in the presence of a notary and agency representative.
No consent is required in cases that involve an abandoned child or a parent who can’t be located. Parents who are incapacitated and cannot surrender their rights are also not required to give written consent.
Parents who failed to provide adequate prenatal care or made no effort to communicate with the child for 12 months or longer may lose their right to consent to an adoption.
There is a revocation period that allows birth mothers to change their minds regarding their child’s adoption. After agreeing to the adoption in writing, a birth mother has four days to revoke her consent.
State adoption laws in Georgia can be complex and difficult to navigate if you don’t have the legal resources you need. Working with an experienced legal professional helps you achieve the outcome you need as an adoptive parent or birth parent.
State laws protect all parties involved in the adoption while prioritizing the best interests of children so they have the loving and supportive homes they need.