Lawrenceville Adoption Lawyer
Are you looking to grow your family through adoption? An experienced Lawrenceville adoption lawyer at Crystal Wright Law can help you get it right and take the steps necessary to become a parent. Contact our law offices in Lawrenceville, Georgia, at 404-594-2143 and learn more about our adoption services and discuss your options.
We offer an initial case evaluation, so there’s no risk in sitting down to speak with our caring and supportive legal team.
How Can Crystal Wright Law Help Me Adopt a Child in Georgia?
Whether you’re considering adopting an infant, elementary-age, or older child in the state of Georgia, it’s important to understand that the processes involved can be complicated. And, every adoption is unique. A do-it-yourself approach can be time-consuming and have unexpected consequences.
The best thing you can do is hire an experienced Lawrenceville adoption attorney to offer guidance and support as work toward becoming a parent.
Attorney Crystal Wright has been a passionate advocate for individuals, couples, and families in Gwinnett County, GA for more than eight years. She understands the challenges that parents-to-be can face as they attempt to bring a new child into their family. Most importantly, she knows how to anticipate and deal with any issues that might arise.
When you hire Crystal Wright Law to handle your adoption in Georgia, we’ll:
- Carefully review the terms of your adoption to ensure it satisfies all legal requirements and ethical standards
- Help you navigate processes set in place by Georgia state adoption law
- Thoroughly explain each of the legal documents you’ll be asked to sign and ensure that you are fully appraised of your rights and legal obligations, and
- Be there every step of the way up until you’ve finalized your adoption in court.
Contact our law firm, conveniently located in Lawrenceville, GA to learn more. Our Gwinnett County adoption attorney offers a case evaluation, so don’t hesitate to get help with this momentous occasion today.
What Are the Adoption Requirements in Georgia?
You must satisfy three primary requirements, as established by Section 19-8-3 of the Georgia Code before you’ll be legally permitted to adopt a child.
Georgia’s adoption laws provide that adoptive parents must be:
- At least 25 years old if single or married and living with their spouse;
- At least 10 years older than the child or children to be adopted; and
- A resident of the state of Georgia for a minimum of 6 months prior to filing an adoption petition.
If you’re married, your spouse must also be listed on the petition for adoption (unless the child is your stepchild).
These are just objective requirements. Georgia state law also imposes some subjective requirements, as well.
Adoptive parents who satisfy the above standards must also be:
- Willing and able to care for the adoptive child or children, and
- Fully and unconditionally committed to meeting all of the adoptive child’s needs – physical, emotional, medical, social, and psychological.
Just because a person who wants to adopt a child in Lawrenceville meets the age and residency requirements does not mean that they’ll automatically qualify to be an adoptive parent. The law also requires that the applicant prove that they have the means and motivation to provide for and take care of the child.
Most often, this information is verified through a series of interviews, background checks, and a complete home investigation. However, these steps are not always necessary, particularly in situations where an adoptive parent is related by blood or marriage to the child. Your adoption attorney in Lawrenceville, GA will help you take every step necessary to prove that you’re more than qualified to be a parent.
Are There Different Types of Adoption in Gwinnett County?
Yes. There are two main types of adoptions: agency and independent.
Agency adoptions are licensed to match prospective parents with adoptive children. These entities may be public (through the state of Georgia’s Division of Family & Children Services) or private (through a licensed company).
Do I Need an Adoption Lawyer If I Go Through an Agency?
Even though an agency is involved, it’s still in your best interest to hire a lawyer to represent you. There are several steps that must be taken before an adoption can be finalized. The only way to ensure that your rights are protected and that the adoption is done properly is to have qualified legal counsel on your side.
Independent adoptions are done without involving a licensed adoption agency, whether public or private. If you have already matched with a child – perhaps you’re a blood relative or related by marriage – you might not need the assistance of an agency. In this case, you’ll simply need to enlist the assistance of a skilled adoption attorney near you in Georgia to help you formalize the relationship.
Helping Families In All Types of Adoption Cases in Lawrenceville
While all adoptions fall into one of two categories – agency or independent – there are actually a lot of different types of adoption cases.
At Crystal Wright Law, we have the experience necessary to help you work toward growing your family through any type of adoption.
- DFCS adoptions
- Private agency adoptions
- Relative adoptions
- Stepparent adoptions
- Grandparent adoptions
- Interstate adoptions
- International adoptions
- Contested adoptions
- And more
Our Lawrenceville adoption lawyer will also help you with issues like the termination of the biological parents’ rights – whether voluntary or involuntary – and secure necessary name changes. We are here to guide you through the adoption process and minimize any stress that you might experience along the way.
What’s the Process of Adopting a Child in Georgia?
Technically, the adoptive process truly begins when the adoptive parent (or their legal counsel) files a petition for adoption with their local court. However, in agency adoptions, there are certain steps that required to be completed before a petition can be filed.
While all adoptions are different, most typically require applicants to go through the following steps:
- Create an adoption plan
- Adoption Preparation Program or another similar type of pre-adoptive training program
- Match with a child (if not identified before initiating the adoption process)
- File a petition for adoption, including surrender documents secured from the child’s biological parents
- Background check(s)
- In-home inspection
- Adoption finalization hearing
This is an oversimplification of a very important process. It is simply intended to illustrate the general process of adoption in the state of Georgia. Every adoption is different – and the unique qualities of your adoption case will dictate what steps (and how many) are necesssary. Our adoption attorneys in Lawrenceville will provide the guidance you need and ensure that your adoption follows the best (and most practical) path.
Georgia Adoption FAQ
If you’re considering adoption, you probably have a million (and one) questions. We know the process of adopting a child in Georgia can be overwhelming. So, we’ve addressed some of the questions we tend to get the most from our clients. If you have any additional questions or concerns, please feel to reach out to us to speak about your particular adoption case.
Do I Need to Use an Adoption Agency?
No. However, unless you already know the child you want to adopt, it can be difficult to match with a child without the aid of a licensed agency.
With that said, not all agencies are the same. There are scams out there and other agencies that simply prioritize money and profits over the wellbeing of the children and families involved.
If you’re interested in adopting and don’t have a match, it’s best to do your homework and choose an agency that’s reputable and respected in the community. Our attorneys can always help you determine if a particular agency is a good fit for you.
How Much Does Adoption Cost in Georgia?
It really depends. Adopting a child through DFCS could cost nothing. Financial support and assistance can even be provided in some situations when you adopt a child through the state’s adoption agency.
Alternatively, it can cost quite a bit to adopt a child through a private agency. All agencies have different price points, so it is important to consider your financial situation and budget before making any decisions.
Independent adoption can be less expensive simply because you’re cutting out the need to pay an agency to match you with a child. However, there are still court costs and legal fees involved. After all, adopting a child is a legal process. Depending on the complexity of your case – such as whether or not you have the consent of all parties – it can also become quite costly.
However, if you’re considering adoption, you already know that the front-end costs of becoming a parent are higher when you go this route. But, at the end of the day, parenthood is priceless.
I Want to Pre-Adopt a Child That Hasn’t Been Born – Can I Pay the Birth Parents?
No. Georgia has strict rules about how biological parents can be compensated for giving a child up for adoption.
Adoptive parents can pay for the biological mother’s medical care directly. This includes all maternity-related medical bills and costs.
The biological mother can also be compensated for other expenses – such as food, rent, maternity clothing, or utilities. However, these costs must be paid through an adoption agency or go through an attorney’s trust account. All non-medical expenses paid to the biological mother must be reported in an affidavit to the court along with the petition for adoption.
Don’t try to buy the biological parents anything – even a small token of your appreciation – without consulting your attorney. A small gift or gesture could be considered a violation of Georgia state law and throw a wrench in your adoption plan.
Do I Really Need an Adoption Attorney?
It’s the best decision you can make if you really want the adoption process to go smoothly. Hiring an attorney won’t guarantee that there won’t be any hiccups along the way, but it does guarantee that you’ll have an advocate in your corner to help you overcome any challenges that might arise.
Adoption is a wonderful thing – but it can be stressful, especially if one or more parties are against it. When you have an attorney representing you, it gives you the opportunity to focus on what’s most important: growing your family and giving a child the home they deserve.
Schedule a Case Evaluation With Our Lawrenceville Adoption Lawyers
When you’re considering adoption, call Crystal Wright Law. Our Lawrenceville adoption lawyer will be there to guide and support you along the way. From the moment you make the decision to adopt until that child is legally your own, you can count on us to help you make your dream a reality.
Should issues arise after your adoption is finalized, you can always call us for help. We are experienced family law attorneys in Georgia and can help you identify problems and find solutions. Call us to schedule an appointment with our team to get started today.