Our Cumming, GA, family law firm, is happy to tell you that, yes, under certain circumstances, you can adopt a grandchild in the Peach State. When necessary, courts always prefer to place a child in need of a safe and stable permanent guardian with a family member than with a stranger. There are some legal requirements you must meet, which we’ll discuss below.
How Adoption Works
Once you adopt your grandchild, the child’s biological parents will lose their parental rights over the child. You will have the freedom and flexibility to make decisions in the child’s best interest. You will also become solely responsible for the child’s food, clothing, housing, and other needs. Adoption is not like a child custody agreement that can be modified later on if circumstances change. Adoption is permanent.
When Can You Adopt a Grandchild?
If the court has placed your grandchild into foster care or group home (and removed parental rights), you can investigate adopting. If social services are involved with the child due to parental abuse or neglect, there may be a window to adopt. Also, you can adopt your grandchild if the biological parents pass away or agree to it. Sometimes, parents with addictions, unstable lifestyles, and/or severe financial or housing problems will be open to having the child placed in a healthier, more stable environment. The court must find that living with the adoptive parents is in the child’s best interest as well.
Legal Requirements to Adopt in Georgia
To be eligible to adopt in the State of Georgia, you must:
- Live in Georgia for at least six months prior to the adoption.
- If you are married, your spouse must also willingly participate in the adoption and accept parental responsibilities of the child.
- Be able to provide for the child (you must be in good health and have the financial means to care for your grandchild)
There are two age requirements that are typically not hard for grandparents to meet (and, no, there is no age ceiling to becoming an adoptive parent):
- You must be ten years older than the child
- You must be at least 25 years old
Will Adopting my Grandchild Affect my Social Security?
Yes, adoption may impact the amount you receive in Social Security benefits. Adoption benefits may be available through Medicaid. Is the child eligible for or currently receiving TANF benefits? Georgia also offers a variety of tax benefits (earned income tax credit, child and dependent care credit, etc.) that may apply to you as an adoptive parent. The Department of Child and Family Services can also advise you as to whether there is Medicare assistance available in your case. Either way, these can be extremely important points you’ll want to discuss with an attorney who regularly handles adoptions in Georgia.
Our North GA Divorce Law Firm Is Here For You
At Banks, Stubbs, & McFarland, a Cumming, GA, family law firm, we handle adoption cases regularly. Contact us through our contact form or reach out to the office directly at 770.887.1209 to learn more about our services.