A Georgia adoption can be confusing and complex, especially for fathers who are trying to determine their rights in a pending adoption proceeding. O.C.G.A. § 19-8-12 gives a biological father the right to notice of the filing of any adoption proceedings in the following circumstances, even if the father has never established paternity in order to become the legal father of the child:
- If his identity is known to the mother, her attorney, the department, or the licensed child-placing agency
- If he has acknowledged his paternity and registered with the putative father registry
- If he has acknowledged the possibility of paternity during a period of two years prior to the child’s birth and registered with the putative father registry
- If he has lived with the child, supported the child, made any attempt to legitimate the child, or provided support or medical care for the mother during her pregnancy or during her hospitalization for the birth of the child
Once notice is given to the biological father of the child, he has 30 days in which to file a petition in court to legitimate the child. If the father fails to do so, then the court will proceed with the adoption and permanently terminate the father’s parental rights to the child. Additionally, if the mother does not know the identity or the whereabouts of the biological father, despite her attempts to identify and/or locate him, the court will hold a hearing to determine if the father ever lived with the mother, supported the child in any way, supported the mother during her pregnancy, or tried to legitimate the child. If the father has not done so, then the court will proceed with the adoption and permanently terminate the father’s parental rights to the child.
As your Georgia family law attorney, we can properly advise you about your rights in any adoption proceedings involving your children. At the Shaw Law Firm, LLC, we have represented countless fathers who are involved in contested adoption cases.
Contact us or call today to learn how Shaw Law can work with you to achieve the best outcome possible for you and your children.
Scott Shaw is founder and principle of Shaw Law Firm LLC, founded in 1995 and dedicated solely to divorce, family law and child custody matters that must be addressed and decided in the state of Georgia. Shaw Law Firm serves the greater Metro Atlanta area, particularly the counties of Fulton, Gwinnett, Cobb, Cherokee, Forsyth, Paulding, Henry, Fayette, Coweta, Newton, Walton, Bartow and Douglas. Schedule a consultation today at 770-594-8309.