Stepparent adoption is common in Georgia. Many stepfathers and stepmothers seek to legalize the parent/child relationship with their stepchildren through adoption. The first question to address in any stepparent adoption is the status of the parent who is being replaced by the stepparent as the child’s legal parent. If the replaced parent consents to the adoption, or if the replaced parent is deceased, then the process becomes relatively straightforward and the adoption can proceed. If the replaced parent is living and has not consented to the adoption, then a stepparent adoption may proceed only if the court involuntarily terminates the parental rights of the replaced parent. In Georgia, there are several grounds for involuntary termination parental rights in a stepparent adoption. Some examples are: if the replaced parent has not supported the child for at least a year; if the replaced parent has not had any meaningful, parental contact with the child for at least a year; if the replaced parent has abandoned the child; if the replaced parent cannot be found; and if the replaced parent is unfit due to parental misconduct or inability. Involuntary terminations of parental rights typically involve litigation and should be handled by an experienced adoption attorney.
The Law Office of Thomas Tebeau III is experienced in handling stepparent adoptions and involuntary terminations of parental rights incident to adoptions. Call us today to schedule a consultation.
* Thomas Tebeau III practices adoption law across the State of Georgia. He has finalized hundreds of adoptions of all types. Tom is a Fellow with the Georgia Council of Adoption Lawyers, and presents on adoption related topics at seminars and conferences throughout the State.