In Georgia, adoption occurs when a Court declares one person to be the legal child of adoptive parents. Following an order approving an adoption, the biological parents no longer have legal rights to the child and are no longer responsible for the child’s support. Going forward, the adoptive parents become the child’s legal parents.
Generally, the Superior or Juvenile Court in the county where the person seeking to adopt a child resides has the jurisdiction or the authority to accept and review a petition for adoption. O.C.G.A. § 19-8-2. Alternatively, the Juvenile or Superior Court in the county where the child lives or where the adoption or child placement agency that has legal custody of the child sought to be adopted is located may accept, review, or approve a petition for adoption in Georgia. Id. According to Georgia law, any adult person may file a petition for adoption in Georgia as long as the following requirements are met:
- The prospective adoptive parent must be at least 25 years of age or is married and living with his spouse;
- The prospective adoptive parent must be at least ten years older than the child;
- The prospective parent must have been a bona fide resident of the state of Georgia for at least six months immediately preceding the filing of the petition; and
- The prospective parent must be financially, physically, and mentally able to have permanent custody of the child.