- by Mary Stearns-Montgomery
- in Adoption
Issues of divorce can be particularly complex, especially when coupled with the presence of children that have been adopted.
One type of adoption that is legal in Georgia is known as stepparent adoption, which is when a stepparent legally adopts the child of their spouse. If both of the child’s parents are still alive, an adoption by a stepparent is still feasible, so long as the absent parent relinquishes his or her rights to make the new spouse a legal parent. A child cannot have a stepfather and biological father both with equal rights in Georgia; it must be one or the other. Furthermore, all legal guardians in writing must consent to any adoption by a child.
Statistics Show Families that Adopt are More Likely to Get Divorced
Unfortunately, many statistics show that marriages including families with adoptive children are more likely to end in divorce. It should be noted in the eyes of the law that, in cases of a finalized adoption, an adoptive parent has just as many rights in regard to a child as the biological parent had. It is not the case that divorce from a biological parent of a child will nullify the adoption, any more than if both parents were adoptive. However, if the adoption is not finalized, then the court will make the determination if the adoption should continue.
If one of the adoptive parents has legally abandoned the child (defined as a parent who has failed to provide sufficient food, clothing, or shelter for the needs of the child for thirty days), the custodial parent or caretaker may apply for a warrant through their county. Child abandonment is a misdemeanor in Georgia and can result in a $1,000 fine or up to 12 months in prison. Again, since the law sees adoptive parents as legal equivalents to biological parents, these cases are no different than those concerning a biological parent who has abandoned the child.
Family law in Georgia can be difficult to navigate. Whether you are planning on adopting a child with your spouse, adopting your stepchild, or divorcing someone with whom you share an adopted child, the aid of an experienced attorney is invaluable. Stearns-Montgomery & Proctor will ensure that your rights are protected, and the best outcome for your family is realized. Do not hesitate to contact us today.