If you hope to add to your family through adoption, connecting with an expectant mother who is not able to raise her child herself can be an ideal solution for everyone involved. The birth mother receives the comfort of knowing her child is with people who love the child and have all the resources necessary to offer it the best life possible.
Finding a birth mother in need of support can be a fortuitous experience for a couple or individual hoping to adopt. However, the birth mother is not always the only person whose connection to the child can impact your adoption rights. What rights does the father have in a third-party adoption situation?
The father’s rights depend on his involvement
Georgia recognizes both legal and biological fathers. Biological fathers are those who have a genetic connection to children. Legal fathers have a formal tie to a child. The husband of a pregnant woman is typically the presumed legal father of all children born to her unless genetic testing confirms otherwise.
Fathers can also legally establish their parental rights for children conceived and born outside of wedlock or to a woman married to another man through paternity proceedings. If the father played a role during the pregnancy and the mother acknowledges him on the birth certificate, he will generally need to rescind his parental rights for a Georgia adoption to proceed.
However, in situations where the biological father has abandoned the mother during pregnancy or where the mother does not know who the father actually is, potential adoptive parents and the mother can move forward with a legal adoption without the approval of the unknown or uninvolved father. In other words, if the biological father isn’t the legal father, you may still be able to proceed without his approval.
Adoption paperwork and hearings can quickly become complex
Georgia laws on adoptions often confuse those hoping to grow their families through adoption. Misunderstandings about legal requirements, mistakes on paperwork, confusion about the process and inadequate advocacy could all reduce your chances of success.
Getting professional help early in the adoption process or as you attempt to foster to adopt can increase your chances of success and decrease the likelihood of a mistake complicating your family’s future.