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Sherry Virginia Neal

Sherry Neal’s Answers

118 total


  • I want my husband to adopt my ten year old son.

    My husband is the only dad my son has known since he was 2. His biological father doesn't pay child support as he is ordered to (has never paid) and is constantly in and out of jail. (currently incarcerated on theft of a credit card). I want him ...

    Sherry’s Answer

    I agree that stepparent adoption sounds like an option in your case, but how quickly the process will go depends on a number of factors like whether the biological father consents or contests the adoption and if the court requires you to undergo an investigation and submit a court report. I also agree that you should consult with an experienced adoption attorney who can guide you through the stepparent adoption process and make sure that each step is completed properly. Stepparent and relative adoptions are deceptively simple because they have lower standards for termination of rights, but they are also among the most appealed adoptions. As a result, everything must be handled "by the book."

    I would be willing to talk with you about your case, so feel free to contact me about a free initial consultation. You can also find a list of experienced adoption attorneys at the website for the Georgia Council of Adoption Lawyers.

    Good luck!

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  • Have daughter who gets ssi(severly austism) i get adoption subsidy which its in my name can it be used for her income?

    i adopted her,and they say cause i get the money thats it is her income and it is not its only in my name

    Sherry’s Answer

    Adoption assistance benefits and SSI are benefits that are essentially from the same "pot," and you cannot "double-dip" by receiving the full amount of both. While the adoption subsidy check is made out to you, it is technically your daughter's benefit, and you receive it on her behalf. As a result, it is appropriate for the SSI benefit to be reduced by the amount of the adoption subsidy. The North American Council on Adoptable Children has an Adoption Subsidy Resource Center, if you would like more information on how the subsidy works.

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  • How do i find my child that i had to give up for adoption

    What steps can be taken to find the child? should i hire a private investigator, if yes how to i find an honest and reliable one.

    Sherry’s Answer

    Wisconsin has a reunion registry, and this is usually the best place to start for birth parents and adoptees who want to search for their biological family and have a reunion. Be aware that there may be age requirements (these are usually applicable to the adoptee), so you may not be able to reunify unless your child is now over a certain age (18 is common).

    Search and reunion can be an emotionally challenging process for birth families, adoptees, and adoptive families. Fortunately, there are some great resources out there. In addition to those available through the Wisconsin Reunion Registry, an adoption therapist in Georgia, Leslie Pate Mackinnon, has a great book list on her website, and there is a section on reunion.

    I hope this information is helpful. Good luck.

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  • It's been 18mos can we adopt the baby?

    On4/19/11 My husband and i got a call from his aunt saying that her son's girlfriend needed some1 to take her baby..(The mother is in prison)The baby way born 6/21/11we picked her up from the hospital on 6/23/11 & have had her since then..she has ...

    Sherry’s Answer

    To answer your specific question, yes, you can move forward with an adoption. There are no time requirements for when an adoption petition may be filed. That said, the likelihood of success depends on a number of factors that you should discuss with an adoption attorney. Adoption is definitely an area where it is not wise to represent yourself because there are so many specific requrements to meet.

    I do handle adoptions in Paulding County and would be happy to speak with you to discuss your options. You can find a list of other experienced adoption attorneys on the website for the Georgia Council of Adoption Lawyers.

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  • I am looking for my birth father and mother. My adopted family will not give me anything. What do I need to do first.

    I found out I was adopted at age 12 and ever since I have wanted to find my birth parents. However, our adopted father and mother have decided not to tell my twin brother and I. I do not know where to start beside getting my birth certificate. Whi...

    Sherry’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    It is completely understandable that you would like to have information about your background. You do not say how old you are or in what state you were adopted. To some extent, the information you can obtain will depend on these two factors. A good place to start is the Georgia Adoption Reunion Registry. If you were adopted in another state, they can likely direct you to a similar resource in the other state. (You could also google "adoption reunion registry" and the state of your adoption.) Another great resource is the Georgia Center for Resources and Support, which has some information on search and reunion. Finally, the website for Leslie Pate Mackinnon, an adoption counselor, is an excellent resource (check out her book resource list at the link in the upper right corner of the home page).

    It is possible that you can get the information you seek without filing anything in court, but be aware that you may have to hire an attorney to file an action to unseal your adoption record. In some states, like Georgia, this can be a last resort, but in other states, it is the only way to get information.

    Best of luck!

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  • What rights does my husband have to adopt my son if he was never legitimated by his bio?

    My 7yo son's bio has sporadically been in his life, leaving their relationship weak to non existent. He is on court ordered child support but is behind and has tried to bribe and threaten me to take him off. I have recently had a restraining order...

    Sherry’s Answer

    I think the answers already provided have responded well to your question. I'll just add that you can find a list of experienced adoption attorneys on the website for the Georgia Council of Adoption Lawyers.

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  • Which is best to do? A step parent adoption or last name change?

    My son is 7 and he currently has my maiden name. I am the only one listed on the birth certificate. My husband has been in his life since birth and his bio father has never been in his life. I just need some guidance. This us greatly appreciated :)

    Sherry’s Answer

    While I can't tell you which is best for your situation, I can tell you that the two are different. Here's a quick breakdown:

    If your goal is simply for your son to have the same last name as you and your husband, a name change is sufficient. There may be reasons for not terminating the rights of your child's biological father, and a name change would not result in termination of his rights. Name changes are something some people can do on their own, but it could be very helpful to have an attorney assist you to make sure that everything is done correctly.

    If your goal is to create a legally enforceable parent-child relationship between your husband and son, then you need to do an adoption. This would change legal rights, terminating your son's father's rights and creating parental rights for your husband. For example, if anything were to happen to you now, your child's biological father would be automatically entitled to his custody under Georgia law, and if anything were to happen to your husband, your son would not qualify for any benefits (for example, Social Security) that biological and adopted children qualify for. If your goal is to change this sort of thing, then adoption is the only way to accomplish this. This process is one with which you would definitely need the assistance of an attorney. If this looks like the route for you, I encourage you to consult with an attorney experienced in adoption who can advise you about the best way to handle your case. Adoption is not something that anyone should do without a lawyer. You can find a list of experienced adoption attorneys at the website for the Georgia Council of Adoption Lawyers

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  • Is there a law stating that any black child adopted in GA , is intitled to adoption assitiance? (from the year 1986)

    I was told that i waited too long to apply. just decided to find out some las for my self

    Sherry’s Answer

    The short answer is that adoption assistance applications have to be completed with DFCS either at the time of placement for adoption or (in the case of adoptions where the child is not placed by DFCS) after the petition is filed but before the adoption is final. Whether any particular child qualifies for the benefits is a far more detailed calculation than whether the child has minority status. A child adopted in 1986 may have qualified as a special needs child due to minority status but still may not have qualified as eligible for the benefits. Regardless, I think a claim from 1986 would be virtually impossible to prove and may even be barred by the statute of limitations.

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  • My xwife had my kids write false info about me on a adoption referral, My new wife and I are trying to adopt. What can I do?

    My xwife had my kids write false info about me on a adoption referral, My new wife and I are trying to adopt. What can I do?

    Sherry’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    I agree that you should consult with an experienced adoption attorney to discuss your options. It is not possible to answer your question without more details concerning the type of adoption, the comments made, etc. You can find a list of experienced adoption attorneys on the website for the Georgia Council of Adoption Lawyers.

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  • My brother is my guardian, and I am a GA resident, though he is not. He wants to legally adopt me, for insurance reasons.

    He is retired military, and receives benefits, which he wants me to have. I am 19 years old and am in college, so can this be possible? Do I have to notify my birth parents?

    Sherry’s Answer

    It is unlikely that you will be able to accomplish your adult adoption here in Georgia because your brother does not reside here. While Georgia does permit adult adoption, the person seeking to adopt (the petitioner) must have been a bona fide resident of this state for at least six months immediately preceding the filing of the petition. Your brother may want to check on the requirements for adult adoption in his state of residence.

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