How stepparent adoption works in Georgia

On Behalf of | Feb 10, 2023 | Family Law

Many stepparents have strong and valued relationships with their stepchildren. They might assume crucial parenting responsibilities and provide financial resources.

For some families, stepparents adoption can help secure connections and make it easier for children to get the support they need.

Advantages of stepparent adoption

Adopting a stepchild can benefit a family in several ways. First, adoptive parents can make crucial decisions for their children pertaining to health, education and religion. For example, a stepparent can approve medical care or enroll a child in school after adoption. Furthermore, adoption makes it easier for stepchildren to inherit property and receive certain insurance benefits. Some stepparents seek adoption after the death of a child’s biological parent. In other cases, children can benefit from stepparent adoption because it severs ties to an unfit, unavailable or abusive biological parent.

Georgia’s adoption process

A stepparent cannot adopt a child until the child’s other biological parent terminates parental rights. In addition, the stepparent needs the agreement of the child’s custodial parent. Families must sometimes seek an involuntary termination if there is a dispute regarding parental rights. A court can review the case and determine if the other biological parent abandoned the child and remove parental rights if appropriate. Next, the family must undergo a pre-placement investigation. These investigations are often less complex for stepparent adoptions than home studies in other adoption cases. Finally, the stepparent can submit the necessary paperwork to the court and attend a hearing to complete the adoption.

Although adopting stepchildren can be complex and involve considerable effort, it can be a worthwhile endeavor for many families.