If you want to adopt your stepchild in Georgia, you will become the child’s legal parent. He or she will have inheritance rights and be able to access available Social Security or veterans’ benefits in your name. You must have permission from both your spouse and the child’s other biological parent.
Review the process of stepparent adoption in Georgia if you are considering this path.
Filing a petition
The court will ensure that you have the mental, physical and financial ability to care for the child until he or she becomes an adult. For a stepparent adoption, the stepparent must submit the petition in his or her name alone, not along with the spouse who is already the child’s parent. You must live in Georgia for at least 6 months before the adoption.
After you file the petition, the court will notify the child’s other parent since he or she must give permission to the adoption. You may be able to request a waiver of consent if the noncustodial parent is in prison, has a history of neglect or abuse, or if abandoned the child for more than 12 months.
If your stepchild is 14 or older, he or she must also provide written consent to the adoption. The court confirms that the child understands that the stepparent will legally be a part of his or her life in the future after the adoption.
Stepchild adoption means that you will remain the child’s legal parent even if your marriage ends. It also gives you the opportunity to forge a relationship with your child that will last a lifetime and benefit you both.