After being passed by the Georgia legislature earlier this year, a law recently became effective that is designed to help more children placed in care of the state Georgia find permanent families. This recent change represents the first substantial revamping of the state’s adoption laws in nearly 30 years. If you are interested in adopting a child in Georgia, it is helpful to understand both this body of law as well as some other important details about Georgia’s adoption system.
The New Law
As a result of this new law, the efficiency of Georgia’s adoption system is expected to increase significantly. Some of the changes implemented by this law include:
- The incorporation of a process to domesticate international adoption decrees
- Expanded jurisdictional options for in-state and out-of-state adoptions
- The elimination of Georgia’s six-month residency requirement for adoption.
- The shortening of the time period in which a birth parent can revoke an adoption from 10 to four days
- Birth mothers are able to receive reasonable living expenses as part of both agency and private adoptions
- Several safeguards have been placed on temporary powers of attorney
- Updates to maternity and paternity leave time for new adoptive parents
What Remains the Same in Georgia Adoption Law
Despite these significant changes to Georgia’s existing adoption law, there are some elements of Georgia’s adoption laws that will remain the same.
For example, single adoptive parents in Georgia still must satisfy several requirements, which include being at least 25 years old and 10 years older than the children who will be placed. Adoptive parents must also be willing and able to care for the child who is placed with them.
The adoption process in Georgia also follows the same general pattern, which includes the following:
- Adoptive parents make an inquiry and receive information about the adoption process in Georgia from the appropriate agency.
- The adoptive family participates in an Adoption Preparation Program offered through a local County Department of Family and Children Services.
- After successfully completing the preparation program, a Family Evaluation of the adoptive parents is forwarded to the Adoption Exchange.
- Adoptive parents or the local Department of Family and Children Services identifies a child of interest to be adopted. Pre-placement visits are then schedule and the adoptive parents sign a Placement Agreement, which results in the child being placed with the family.
- After a release is granted from the Department of Family and Children Services, the adoptive parents file an adoption petition and a hearing is held to finalize the adoption.
Throughout each of these steps, the assistance of an experienced family law attorney can be particularly helpful.
Speak with an Experienced Adoption Lawyer
These changes to Georgia’s adoptions laws is expected to make the adoption process easier for birth parents, adoptive parents, and children. If you need the assistance of a seasoned attorney to navigate the adoption process, you should not hesitate to speak with a knowledgeable family law attorney at Vayman & Teitelbaum PC. Contact our law office to schedule an initial free consultation.