Family Law

Does the child have to be present in the county and state of the guardian?

Yes.


Who has to consent to the guardianship of a minor?

The child’s biological mother either has to consent to the guardianship or be served with legal notice of the Petition for Guardianship. The child’s legal father has to consent to the guardianship or be served with legal notice of the Petition for Guardianship. A legal father is defined as a father who was married to the mother of the child at birth or a father that is listed on the birth certificate or who has filed an action to legitimate the child.


Does the child have to consent to the legal guardianship?

A child 14 years or older must consent to the guardianship.


Where is an adoption filed?

An adoption is filed in the county of residence of the person(s) who is adopting the child. You must have lived in that county for at least six (6) months prior to the filing of the adoption.


Who can file an adoption?

In Georgia, you must be 25 years of age or over or married and living with your spouse. You must be at least 10 years older than the child. If you are married, you must file jointly to adopt. There is no length of marriage requirement in Georgia. In Alabama, you must be 19 years of age or older. If you are married, you must file jointly. If you are a step-parent attempting to adopt your spouse’s child, you must be married for over one year before filing an adoption.


What is a home-study evaluation?

A licensed agent interviews and investigates the adoption petitioner to determine if the petitioner is physically, financially and emotionally capable of adopting a child. The agent looks at your home, your finances, and your criminal background and makes a report to the Judge to determine if the adoption is in the best interest of the child. The cost in Georgia for the home-study is approximately $250.00. The cost in Alabama is more expensive but varies.


Is a home-study evaluation required in every adoption?

In Georgia, a home-study evaluation is required in all adoption cases except step-parent adoptions. In step-parent adoptions, the person petitioning for adoption will have to submit to a criminal background check in lieu of a complete home-study evaluation.


What is the cost of an adoption?

The fees vary depending on the complexity of the adoption. If both birth parents consent to the adoption, the adoption is considered uncontested and less expensive.


In certain circumstances, we will need clients to provide us with documentation at the time we commence our representation or later during the natural flow of the case. This documentation may include marriage licenses, birth certificates, proof of income, certified documents from previous litigation and other kinds of public records. Below is a list of websites where such information can be obtained as well as links to required parenting seminars, child support calculators and other information that prospective or current clients may find helpful.