Adopting a step-child is a less extensive process than standard adoption. Here’s what to know about step-parent adoption laws in Georgia.

In Georgia, step-parents seeking adoption must meet all parental adoption requirements and file a petition for adoption to the state court. The child’s biological parents must consent to the adoption. Once the state establishes the step-parent as the child’s legal guardian, the noncustodial parent will no longer have parental rights.

Related: Georgia Child Custody Laws for Unmarried Parents

Georgia Step-Parent Adoption Laws

In Georgia, a step-parent may adopt their spouse’s child. A step-parent can adopt a child if they meet the state’s requirements. The step-parent must file a petition to the state court to adopt the child. If a Georgia court approves the petition, the step-parent will become the child’s legal guardian. The noncustodial parent is no longer the child’s legal guardian once the state finalizes the step-parent adoption.

Requirements for step-parent adoption in Georgia:

  • At least 21 years old
  • Have financial, physical, and mental stability to support a child
  • Receive the biological parents’ permission
  • Receive the child’s consent if age 14+
  • Reside in Georgia for at least six months

In Georgia, the court can deny the adoption if it is not in the child’s best interest and both biological parents are fit to be the child’s legal guardian.

Related: Types of Child Custody in Georgia | Joint vs Sole, Physical vs Legal 

Georgia Step-Parent Adoption Without Consent

A step-parent may adopt a child if both biological parents consent to the adoption. The custodial parent must consent to the step-parent adoption. The state may approve a step-parent adoption if the noncustodial parent does not have legal guardianship or is unreachable. A noncustodial parent may be unreachable if they are incarcerated or missing. A noncustodial parent may be unfit to parent if the custodial parent proves neglect or abandonment.

A step-parent seeking adoption may choose to hire an attorney to protect their rights and prove the step-parent adoption is in the child’s best interest.

Georgia Adoption Forms

Step-parents seeking adoption must file a form to the Georgia Department of Human Resources. All adoption cases use the Adoption Assistance Memorandum. Step-parents must check the “Step-Parent” box under the “Adoptive Parent is:” title.

The court can complete the adoption if the step-parent files the adoption form and meets all state requirements. The noncustodial parent is no longer the child’s legal parent once the step-parent adopts the child.

FAQs About Georgia Step-Parent Adoption Laws

How much does step-parent adoption cost in Georgia?

A step-parent adoption can range from $350 – $2,000. An individual must pay about $300 to file adoption forms. A step-parent adoption will cost more if an individual hires a lawyer throughout the adoption process.

How long will a step-parent adoption take in Georgia?

The step-parent adoption process is more efficient than the standard adoption process. The state can finalize the step-parent adoption in about three months.

What if I adopt my step-child but later divorce the custodial parent?

Once the court finalizes the adoption, the step-parent legally becomes the child’s parent. The step-parent’s parental rights remain in place even if the couple divorces.

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If you or a loved one would like to know more about step-parent adoption laws and processes in Georgia, get your free consultation with one of our family law attorneys today!