Relationships between stepparent and child often develop into relationships that are just as strong and supportive — and full of love — as relationships between biological parent and child. Adoption of your stepchild gives you the same parental rights as a biological parent, solidifying your bond for life.
Contact metro Atlanta stepparent adoption attorney Anthony M. Zezima online to schedule a consultation to discuss your unique family situation.
When seeking stepparent adoption you must first notify the child's other biological (noncustodial) parent — in most cases, termination of parental rights is required before a stepparent can adopt his or her spouse's child.
One exception is the situation where the biological parent has had no contact and provided no support to the child for a minimum of 12 months. If that's the case, the biological parent does not need to terminate his or her biological parents' rights.
In addition, it is required that the stepparent seeking adoption is married to the custodial parent of the child. Under the Georgia Constitution, being involved in a domestic partnership is not adequate for the purpose of adopting your partner's child. Notably, there is no automatic right to adoption, at the discretion of the Superior Court judge. The judge may request a background check if he or she so chooses; adoption may be refused due to information uncovered in this process.
When a stepparent adopts a spouse's child, the rights of the custodial parent spouse remain the same — they do not lose any parental rights. Rather, both parties become equal parents. Importantly, the parties both need to be aware, that once adoption takes place, the stepparent is in the same position as a biological parent for all practical purposes. If the parties were to divorce, each party has equal footing to seek custody, visitation, and child support from the other party, as if they were both biological parents.
Attorney Zezima has experience in family law since 1983, assisting stepparents in establishing their rights. To schedule a consultation with our Fulton County family law lawyer Anthony M. Zezima, contact us online or call us.