7 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW
The life of a child can mean the world to a family or individual. Adoption in Georgia ensures that your journey to taking care of a child is a protected and efficient process. Adoption attorney Elizabeth O’Neal, at Smith, Welch, Webb & White can guide you through the legal process of adoption in Georgia to help you welcome a child into your home and lives.
Who Can Adopt?
Section 19-8-3 of the Georgia Code requires the following to adopt a child:
- You must be at least 25 years of age or married and living with your spouse
- You must be at least ten years older than the child
- You must have been a bona fide resident of the state for the preceding six months
- You must be physically, emotionally, and financially able to have permanent custody of the child
If you are married, your spouse must also be listed on the petition for adoption unless the child is your step-child. Then only you need to file the petition.
What Are the Different Adoption Plans?
Stepparent and Co-Parent Adoption
We can help you legally formalize your relationship with your partner’s children.
Single Parent Adoption
Individuals seeking to adopt alone are not discriminated against for adoption eligibility. Our adoption attorneys can be by your side every step of the way.
Georgia allows an individual to adopt their partner’s adoptive or biological child. An attorney can ensure a smooth process to help your family.
Foster Care/DFCS Adoption
If you find yourself ready to welcome your foster child into your family officially, our attorney can help you make this step.
Should you decide to go through an adoption agency or private arrangement, an attorney can ensure there is compliance from both parties.
What Will Adoption Expenses Be Like?
Adoption fees are generally discussed up front for most licensed adoption agencies. The National Infertility and Adoption Education Non-Profit estimates that the average cost of adoption ranges between $10,000 and $30,000. Depending on your specific situation, adopting younger children and infants can be more expensive.
You may also be responsible for the expenses of the birth mother such as hospital bills and any medical treatments related to the delivery.
However, most adoptions fall well below these figures. Your Smith, Welch, Webb & White adoption attorney will explain to you what costs to anticipate, and will work with you to have the most cost effective adoption possible.
What Is Georgia’s Home Study Law?
Georgia’s home study law is an educational process for adoptive couples, individuals, and families before they file a petition. A state-licensed professional may visit the adoptive guardians residence one to three times to conduct interviews with individuals of the household both together and separately. This is simply to ensure the utmost safety and honesty of individuals trying to adopt. A home study is not required in all adoptions.
How Long Does the Georgia Adoption Process Take?
The adoption process varies between each case’s circumstances. Adoptions done in-state and through licensed agencies typically can take anywhere from several months to a year. Out of state adoptions may take long to ensure compliance from both states and federal regulations. Step-parent, private, and DFCS adoptions can often be completed within six months.
How long is Georgia’s Revocation Period when birth parents surrender rights?
In some circumstances birth parents will execute a surrender of their parental rights. Georgia law allows a birth parent four days after signing the surrender of parental rights document to revoke their decision to surrender their rights. Once the four days passes, a surrender of rights becomes irrevocable and a birth parent cannot interfere with the adoption.
What If I Adopt Across State Lines?
If you are looking to adopt from across state lines, your case will most likely be regulated by the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC). The agency can regulate both private and public adoption agencies as well as some independent adoptions.
You will need to follow the guidelines in place with ICPC as well as state law for both the sending state (the state where the child is) and the receiving state (the state where the adopting parents live and where the child will live).
Contact our experienced Georgia Adoption attorney today.