Georgia Fathers’ Rights In Adoption Proceedings

Georgia Fathers’ Rights In Adoption Proceedings

Knowing your rights as a father during adoption proceedings can be very confusing, particularly because different states afford fathers different rights, based on when they learn of the child. Fortunately, in Georgia, the father of a baby must be notified of the child’s birth and the mother’s adoption plan, by law. If you are denied your rights as a father, we can help you. Our family law attorneys have served Georgia for more than a decade, and we can put our experience to work for you.

The Law Is On Your Side

In Georgia, notice and hearing requirements are mandated for fathers. This means that the biological father of the child must be notified via a phone call, personal interview, certified letter sent to last known address and/or a publication in a legal newspaper naming him as the father. The father must be placed on notice that adoption proceedings are in progress and will occur unless certain actions are taken by a certain time. The putative father registry must also be checked in case he registered there and indicated possible paternity of a child of the child’s mother in accordance with state law.

What if the Mother of the Child Was Married Before or After My Child Was Born?

Georgia law distinguishes between a legal father and a named birth father. A legal father is defined as a male who has legally adopted the child, was married to the biological mother of the child at the time the child was conceived or born, married the legal mother of the child after the child was born and recognized the child as his own, or who has legitimated the child and not surrendered or terminated his rights to the child via a court order.

A biological father or named birth father (on the birth certificate) is simply the male who impregnated the biological mother resulting in the birth of the child and/or the male who is named on the birth certificate. In Georgia, terminating a biological father’s rights is easier than terminating a legal father’s rights.

What if the Mother Refuses to Cooperate or the Father Cannot be Located Prior to Commencing the Adoption Proceedings?

In this instance, an investigation can attempt to determine who the legal or biological father is of the child and where he is.

What if Both Parents Are Minors?

Under Georgia law, minor birth parents are treated as adults for the purposes of parentage and can relinquish their rights via adoption. Similarly, the same rights that apply to adult fathers apply to fathers who are minors.

What If I Signed Legal Consent to the Adoption and Then Changed My Mind?

In Georgia, both parents have ten days after signing the surrender in which to revoke their surrender or legal consent. You must withdraw the surrender by written notice delivered in person or mailed by registered mail or statutory overnight delivery. A biological father who is not a legal father must obtain acknowledgment of legitimation before he can obtain legal custody.

Where Should I Start?

If you or someone you know is struggling with the issue of paternity in adoption proceedings, contacting an experienced family law attorney in Georgia is an important first step. The attorneys at Edwards & Associates can help you with your case and ensure you are given all the rights that you deserve. Contact us today – we serve clients in Gwinnett, Forsyth, and Fulton Counties.

Author Bio

Regina Edwards is the Owner and Managing Attorney of Edwards Family Law, an Atlanta family law and estate planning law firm she founded in 2005. With more than 21 years of experience practicing law, she is dedicated to representing clients in a wide range of legal matters, including divorce, child custody, child support, legitimation, wills, trusts, probate, and Medicaid planning.

Regina received her Juris Doctor from the Tulane School of Law and is a member of the State Bar of Georgia and the Atlanta Bar Association. She has received numerous accolades for her work, including being named a Rising Star by Super Lawyers for six years, as well as being named among the Pro Bono All Stars by the Georgia Bar Journal in 2019.

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