Welcoming a child into your home is a significant decision, and you want to make sure that you navigate the process correctly. Without the right legal counsel, you could be jeopardizing the future of your family. That is why you should contact the experienced family law attorneys with the Don Turner Legal Team. We can assist you in navigating every step of the adoption process and help you choose the adoption plan that best suits your family's needs.Who is Allowed to Adopt in Georgia?
Each state has specific laws when it comes to who is allowed to adopt. In Georgia, you must be at least 25 years of age or married to a spouse (21 if you are adopting a relative) and at least 10 years older than the child you are adopting. You also need to be financially, physically, and mentally equipped to have permanent custody of a child. You will need to file to adopt jointly if you are married; however, if you are adopting as a stepparent, your spouse will not need to petition to adopt.Do I Need an Adoption Attorney?
While you do not need to hire an attorney to adopt, it is recommended. While adopting a child as a stepparent is a fairly straightforward process, adopting a child who is not related to you is more complicated. Completing and filing all the necessary legal paperwork can be difficult without the help of an attorney, and any mistakes made could delay the adoption process or jeopardize your ability to adopt your new family member altogether.
An experienced family lawyer can also help you understand your legal rights and obligations as an adoptive parent and represent you at any adoption hearings you might be required to attend. If you have already identified a birth mother to adopt from, an adoption attorney may be the only person you need to finalize the process, rather than having to go through an adoption agency.Open Adoptions vs. Closed Adoptions
In a closed adoption, contact between the child and their birth parents is limited after they are placed with an adoptive family. These arrangements remain in place until the child turns 18 and is allowed to access their birth family's information. Today, this is the least popular type of adoption, as it deprives the birth parents of their ability to keep in contact with their child. However, there are certain cases where it may be preferred. For example, if the birth mother wants to maintain her privacy or does not feel equipped to be a part of her child's life, closed adoption may be preferred.
Today, open adoption is the preferred choice for most adoptive families. In an open adoption, the birth parents are allowed to continue to have a relationship with their child. Choosing an open adoption allows the adopted child to know about where they came from and form a relationship with their birth family. Many adoptive families have grown to prefer the free communication and honesty that open adoption offers, as opposed to the secrecy inherent in closed adoptions.
There is also the option of a semi-open adoption, for prospective adoptive families who want open communication but more established boundaries. In a semi-open adoption, the birth parents and the adoptive parents are still allowed to communicate, but these communications are done through an adoption professional. This allows birth parents to stay updated on their child's life without feeling obligated to be a part of it. However, because an agency mediates most contact between the adoptive and birth families, communications can take longer.The Don Turner Legal Team Can Help
Adopting a child is a wonderful and mature decision that can change their life for the better. If you are thinking about welcoming a new family member into your heart and home, contact The Don Turner Legal Team. Our experienced adoption attorneys can guide you through the process every step of the way.