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Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 102505
Experience:  Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
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We am trying to do a stepparent adoption ourselves in GA.

Resolved Question:

We am trying to do a stepparent adoption ourselves in GA. Where can I find the forms to start with & the steps that need to be followed with the court?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Ely replied 5 years ago.
Hello and thank you for the opportunity to assist you. There might be a slight delay between your follow ups and my replies as I am typing out my answer, or taking a quick break. Please remember that this is general information only, not legal advice, and no attorney-client relationship is formed.

Can you please tell me a little more about the background? Who is adopting the child, exactly, and why? Is this all in agreement, or are parties contesting this?

This not an answer, but an Information Request. I need this information to answer your question. Please reply, so I can answer your question. I look forward to helping you.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
As I have been told, I have sole custody of my son. His natural father & I were never married and he has never taken the time to legitimize my son. His stepfather, who has been in his life for 2 years, now would like to adopt him. There is no contact(at all-has never paid child support) with the natural father for over 3 years now. I understand that a lawyer could naturally flow through this process but I can't afford one at this time. We are trying to get through this before August when Dylan starts school.
Expert:  Ely replied 5 years ago.
Thank you.

Is the biological father's name on the birth certificate?

Does "bio-dad" agree to the adoption (or you have not asked)?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
His name is XXXXX XXXXX birth certificate but I am told that has no bearing in the state since we were never legally married. I do not even know where the bio is to ask. In that case, I've also been told that I only need to run an ad in the local new paper & that will serve as notification... since I don't know where he is.
Expert:  Ely replied 5 years ago.
Thank you.

His name is XXXXX XXXXX birth certificate but I am told that has no bearing in the state since we were never legally married.

Incorrect. Even if you were not married, he is considered the father and has the right to be served and contest (if he so chooses) any action in regards XXXXX XXXXX of the child.

You are right about serving him "via substitution," however. If you do not know where he is, then you would have to serve him via substitution, which involves asking the Court for permission to do so via newsletter, court wall, etc. This way, once he is "served" via substitution and does not answer in time, he defaults, and you can do as you with.

You have a little issue. The step-father cannot "adopt" unless the bio-dad's parental rights have been fully terminated. This means that along with the adoption petition, someone in your situation may wish to file a petition for termination of parental rights to be heard back-to-back.

Normally, if he was around, this would not be an issue (especially if he did not object). However, if he is not, the Court may be wary to terminate a rights of a father who was never really served per se. And without a termination, you cannot have an adoption...

An alternative would be to assign the step-father "guardianship" status, making him a legal guardian of the child. This would still involve serving the father, but you would not need to terminate his rights to get the guardianship approved, and the step-father would still have all the same rights as a parent (hence, the term "legal guardian of the child").

Because this matter involves several intricacies, an attorney is strongly recommended:

I hope this finds you well. Please remember – I do not get credit for my time with you unless the answer is rated/concluded by you (while no mandatory, a bonus is always appreciated); I work very hard to formulate an informative answer for you – please reciprocate my good faith. If you need more information, simply hit reply so we can chat until you are satisfied. You may always come back to this thread for follow ups on this topic free of charge.
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