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Adoption is a process through which a person becomes the legal parent of a child. However, there are several legal requirements and filings that prospective parents must fulfill before any adoption can become official. A Cherokee County adoption lawyer can help you navigate this legal framework and assist you in reaching a positive outcome to your case. Consider working with one of our diligent family law attorneys for professional guidance.

Who Can Adopt?

The criteria regarding who may adopt a child in Cherokee County are governed by Georgia statutes in Official Code of Georgia Annotated §19-8-3.

To adopt, individuals must be:

  • At least 25 years old or married;
  • At least 10 years older than the person being adopted;
  • A resident of the state of Georgia; and
  • Capable of raising the child.

If the child is related to the person seeking to adopt, or if the adoptive parent is a stepparent, the 10-year requirement does not apply. Except for stepparent adoptions, if the person who wants to adopt is married, they must file the adoption petition in both spouses’ names.

What is the Stepparent Adoption Process in Cherokee County?

Stepparents can play a major role in a child’s life and often like to formalize the relationship through legal adoption. In situations where a child’s mother and father are both living but no longer married, it is possible that the new spouse of one of the parents could adopt the child.

However, this can be a complex process because the other parent must give up their parental rights to the child or have their rights terminated. After the complete termination of the other party’s parental rights, the stepparent could move forward with the adoption.

The process of surrendering parental rights involves:

  • Signed documentation;
  • A notary public; and
  • A witness to the proceedings.

When a parent agrees to surrender their parental rights in Cherokee County, an experienced adoption lawyer can help to facilitate the process so that it meets the legal requirements set forth in the statute.

Adopting a Child with One Living Parent

Children who have only one living parent may be adopted by that parent’s spouse if any existing guardians give up their rights to the child. When the adoption involves a child who is age 14 or older, the child must give their consent to the adoption in writing and must appear before the court.

What is Interstate Adoption?

When a child and their prospective parents live in different states, a law called the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC) applies. In all states and the District of Columbia, the ICPC ensures that children who are being adopted across state lines are placed into suitable homes with the appropriate care.

The state of Georgia reviews ICPC adoption applications for adherence to the laws of both states at issue. Cherokee County residents who are planning to adopt a child from another state should consult with a local lawyer to prevent any problems that could result from failure to comply with interstate laws.

Contact a Cherokee County Adoption Attorney Today

Adoptions can be complex legal processes with multiple steps. If you are considering this major life decision, reach out to an experienced Cherokee County adoption lawyer to help you with the legal process. A persistent lawyer can be key in securing a favorable outcome for you and your family, so call today.

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