Please note that this process usually takes a number of months, depending upon whether the natural parent of the child(ren) is voluntarily surrendering his or her rights to the child, and whether or not the natural parent can be found to have them “served” the Petition for Adoption, as required. If the natural parent cannot be found and you have no knowledge of his or her whereabouts, then the Petition will need to be “published” in the legal newspaper for the County where you reside or where the natural parent last resided.
Documents You Will Need
A copy of your marriage license, and a copy of the child’s birth certificate.
For either or both of you, depending upon the circumstances surrounding your particular case, to have fingerprints taken, at a place that you will be informed can do fingerprints and when they can assist you. That response time can be as quick as 10 days, and as many as 30 or more.
If there is a situation where the father of the child in this adoption was not married to the natural mother of the child, we may need to file a request to the Putative Fathers’ Registry in Atlanta to have a search done for the father’s name to see if the father is listed on the Registry. If he is not listed, the process is a bit quicker, but if he is listed, then the Petition may need to be published, as noted above.
You will, in many cases, be required to complete a form that gives as much background as possible on the child's history and the child's family members' history. This is something that assists later on with any health concerns the child may have and if there is a history of that health concern in the family.
We also work with Agency Placement of children, and have worked with Covenant Care Services to facilitate adoptions.
The normal fee for an adoption is $1,800.00 if it is uncontested, meaning that the natural and/or biological parents of the subject child(ren) do not object to the adoption. If it becomes a contested action, the fee increases to a minimum of $3,000.00 for the retainer fee, billed at $200.00 per hour. I do not charge extra for more than one child who may be the subject of the adoption petition. The fee quoted covers all work, except the final hearing, which is billed separately. Please see the Attorney/Client Fee Agreement page for further explanations of fees.
The Court will charge a filing fee, and every county can be different in this fee amount. However, the usual amount is at least $200.00. There may also be fees for home evaluations, in the event the Court requires one.
The publication fee, if the case requires this, varies with the newspaper, part of the State, or part of the Country. The fee will be determined once I am retained to prepare this Adoption action for you.
The fingerprint cards will cost $50.00 to process, which is a price we pay for you to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation for your background check(s).
The “Service of Process” fee will depend upon whether the Sheriff serves the Petition on the natural parent(s), or it is done by Private Service. Sheriff’s service within Georgia is $55.00, private service by a private investigator varies with the person who is hired to serve the required documents. Each state also differs with their service requirements, and attendant fees.
Please note that once the documents are completed and signed, they are forwarded to the Court for filing and further action, such as Service on the natural parent(s), if necessary, publication, or any other action that may be necessary in your particular case. The publication requires a Judge to sign an Order that allows the Petition to be published, and that may also take some additional time.
We are not able to control the handling of your Petition, once it leaves our office. Please do not become irate with any delays, or assume that we are not acting as diligently as possible to represent your interests. The Courts do not appreciate parties calling for status checks, especially if the party is represented by an Attorney. If we do not have a status on your case when you call our office, there is no information readily available to give you at that time. We will do everything in our power to keep you informed of the status of your case.
What you will need to know to start the adoption process
Adoption in your family's future? We are dedicated to ensuring that you receive the finest legal services available. Our "Cheat Sheet" below is known as the first line of "need-to-know" information by those in middle-Georgia who are looking for assistance in this very SPECIAL area of Family Law.