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Jessica Lynne Gordon

Jessica Gordon’s Answers

59 total

  • When can a LPR child under the age of 16 who is adopted receive naturalization? Does it happen automatically?

    is there a difference if adopted by US relative or non US relative?

    Jessica’s Answer

    I would need more facts to fully answer this question. But, in general, if a child living in the United States with LPR status is then adopted by a US citizen parent while under the age of 16, he or she becomes eligible for citizenship under the Child Citizenship Act of 2000 after (1) the child has been living with the adoptive parent for two years, and (2) two years of legal custody has accrued following the adoption and if (3) the child is still under the age of 18 when the other criteria have been met. If these are the facts you are asking about, I recommend that you contact an immigration attorney in order to get help making sure the criteria are met and that you file the forms necessary with USCIS to receive an official certificate of citizenship. My office does this regularly. Please feel free to contact us for a consultation.

    If, instead, the child has LPR status, and is living in the U.S. and is then adopted by a non US citizens relative, the child would not be eligible for automatic U.S. citizenship, but could apply for citizenship when his or her case becomes ripe (usually five years after receiving LPR status).

    On the other hand, if the child was adopted abroad by U.S. Citizen Parents and entered the United States on an IR4 visa (to be adopted in the United States) he or she will acquire American citizenship when the adoption is full and final in the United States.

    Again, this is a complicated field, and I recommend you contact an attorney with both immigration and adoption experience. My office specializes in this and would be glad to set up a consultation for you. Otherwise, you can find a list of other experienced immigration attorneys through http://www.ailalawyer.com/ and other experienced adoption attorneys through www.adoptionattorneys.org.

    I hope you found this answer helpful and if so, please let me know by clicking the "Mark as Helpful" button at the bottom of this answer. It’s easy and appreciated.

    Good luck!

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  • Can I adopt my fiances' 6 year old daughter? Her mother passed away when she was 6 months old.

    I am currently engaged and would like to know if I can legally adopt my fiance's daughter? Her mother passed away when she was 6 months old and I moved in with them when she was 2.

    Jessica’s Answer

    If your fiancé wants to retain his parental rights to his daughter, which I imagine he does, you will need to wait until after your marriage to file for a step-parent adoption. Adoptions are very delicate cases. You want to make sure that the adoption is done properly. For the protection of your fiancés daughter, you should seek the assistance of an adoption attorney in your state to help you through the process.

    Because the birth mother is deceased, you will not have to have her rights terminated in the court, you will need only to produce her death certificate as evidence and then prove all other requirements for the step-parent adoption under your state’s laws, including criminal background checks, proof of residence for jurisdictional purposes, proof of the marriage, potentially a court report or in-home investigation (this requirement varies state to state), her birth certificate, the birth father's consent, etc. Again, a local adoption attorney will be able to help you with gathering the needed evidence for the petition.

    I hope you found this answer helpful and if so, please let me know by clicking the "Mark as Helpful" button at the bottom of this answer. It’s easy and appreciated.

    Good luck!

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  • Do I need to terminate the rights of my son's un-involved biological dad in Georgia?

    My son's bio dad is not listed on the birth certificate and has had nothing to do with my son thus far, nor has he provided any financial support. My fiance would like to adopt him when we are married. Do I need to terminate his father's rights if...

    Jessica’s Answer

    I agree with my colleagues’ answers that if you want to retain your rights to your son, under Georgia law, you will need to wait until after your marriage for your future husband to file for a step-parent adoption. I also agree that adoptions are very delicate cases. You want to make sure that the adoption is done properly. For the protection of your son, you should seek the assistance of an adoption attorney to help you through the process.

    Because you were not married to the biological father at the time of conception and birth, and because his name is not on the birth certificate and he has not chosen to legitimate your child yet, it sounds as if he will be considered a biological father under Georgia law as opposed to a legal father.

    There are different criteria depending on his legal status. If he is simply a biological father, Georgia law requires that he be served with notice of the termination and adoption. If 30 days go by after he is served and he does nothing, then the court can terminate his rights without his written consent. My office handles these cases regularly. If we can be of assistance, do not hesitate to call us.

    Additionally, the most important thing you can give your son is his complete medical history. Above all else try to get a complete history from the father - we never know what the future brings and you want to get information now while you are still in contact.

    I hope you found this answer helpful and if so, please let me know by clicking the "Mark as Helpful" button at the bottom of this answer. It’s easy and appreciated.

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  • When I'm adopted as an adult do i have to change my last name?

    Im 26 years old and my aunt is going to adopt me since she pretty much raised me and my mom hasnt been in my life since i was 16. In the adoption petition it asks for a new last name. I would like to keep my current last name and dont want to chan...

    Jessica’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    I recommend calling an adoption attorney in your state to confirm the answer to your question. I can tell you, however, that most states' adoption statutes usually always make it a choice whether or not to get a name change along with the adoption. In other words, you can decide to keep your current name, but go through with the adoption, so that legally your parentage will change but your name stays the same. In Georgia, even for the adoption of juveniles, the petitioner has the choice whether or not to change the child's name. Most likely, you can just write "non-applicable" on the form, where it asks what you want your name to change to, or you can list your current name.

    Good luck!

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  • My daughters father has not made contact in four years. My fiance wants to adopt. What do we need to do?

    Father was incarcerated from time she was 6mo to her 1st bday. He was granted visitation which he only did a few times. He also didnt show for custody hearing granting me custody.

    Jessica’s Answer

    Your first step should be to find an attorney who specializes in Adoption in your state. Consider finding an attorney through the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys - www.adoptionattorneys.org.

    You have to find out where the biological father stand with respect to hisrights under your state’s adoption law. Hemay be considered a biological father or a legal father. There are different criteria depending on his legal status. In Georgia, legal fathers are ones who were married to the birthmother or acknowledged paternity (got their names on the birth certificate), but you should consult with an attorney to find out what the criteria is in your state.

    In most states, it is easier to have the rights of a biological father terminated. Usually, the biological father’s rights can be terminated without written consent after notice is given and he does not respond for a certain period of time.

    If the father is determined to be a legal father, however, check with your lawyer about having his rights terminated on the grounds of abandonment. In Georgia, if legal fathers have not communicated, supported and seen their children in over a year, then the courts here can terminate their rights based on abandonment. Again, you should ask your lawyer if there is a similar statute in your state.

    The other option is to find the biological father and ask if he is willing to sign over his parental rights to your child. If he is willing, the step-parent adoption can usually move faster in court.

    The most important thing you can give your child is her complete medical history. Above all else, try to get a complete history from her natural father- you never know what the future brings, and if you lose touch with him in the future, this may be very helpful to have.

    Once the biological father’s rights have been terminated, you can go forward with the step-parent adoption. After the completion of the adoption, the biological fathers will no longer be liable for any future child support.

    A couple questions you will want to ask your attorney:
    (1) Does the law in your state require that you are married for a certain period of time before allowing a step-parent adoption?
    (2) Do you have a reunion registry that the biological fathers can become a part of so that your children can reach out to them sometime in the future, if they so desire?

    I hope you found this answer helpful and if so, please let me know by clicking the "Mark as Helpful" button at the bottom of this answer. It’s easy and appreciated.

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  • Can the father of children make me give him custody of our oldest child or give up our youngest child for adoption?

    I have an almost 3 year old son and another baby due in June and the father's plans are for A- to give up our unborn child for adoption and I just keep the oldest child or B- give him our oldest son and he has him totally and he either gets sole- ...

    Jessica’s Answer

    The first thing that you should know is that parental rights are given a very high level of deference in the United States and in Georgia in particular. Generally, your rights as the legal mother of your children will not be taken away from you unless you have abused, neglected or abandoned your children. Even in the case of when DFCS removes children from your home because of abuse, neglect, or abandonment, the Department will work toward getting you services such as parenting classes, etc, in order to try to reunify the children with you.

    Additionally, as a legal mother, you cannot be forced to surrender your children for adoption. Surrender of parent rights in Georgia is a voluntary decision that people can make when they are deciding that adoption is in the best interest of their child because they feel that they cannot parent. Surrendering your child is not something that you can be forced into doing. The court could terminate your parental rights based on abandonment if you have not communicated, supported or seen your child in over a year. Since that does not seem to be the situation in your case, I would highly suggest that you talk with an attorney to make sure that you protect your rights to your children if you are not interested in making an adoption plan.

    If you would like to discuss this in more detail, I would be happy to talk with you. My office is located in Marietta, Georgia and we concentrate on adoption law. You can also find a list of other experienced Georgia adoption attorneys through www.gacal.org.

    Good luck!

    I hope you found this answer helpful and if so, please let me know by clicking the "Mark as Helpful" button at the bottom of this answer. It’s easy and appreciated.

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  • Could my future husband adopt my child thus terminating future rights of biological father?

    I became pregnant by my former fiance. According to my consulting psychologist, he likely has an Axis II personality disorder. I instructed the father that the only way I would feel comfortable with him seeing child is if he sought psychological e...

    Jessica’s Answer

    I agree with my colleagues’ answers that if you want to retain your rights to your son, under Georgia law, you will need to wait until after your marriage for your future husband to file for a step-parent adoption. I also agree that adoptions are very delicate cases. You want to make sure that the adoption is done properly. For the protection of your son, you should seek the assistance of an adoption attorney to help you through the process.

    Because you were not married to the biological father at the time of the conception and birth of your child, and because his name is not on the birth certificate and he has not chosen to legitimate your child yet, it sounds as if he will be considered a biological father under Georgia law as opposed to a legal father.

    There are different criteria depending on his legal status. If he is simply a biological father, Georgia law requires that he be served with notice of the adoption. If 30 days go by after he is served and he does nothing, then the court can terminate his rights without his written consent.

    Because he is out of the country, though, you want to make sure that you choose an attorney who has experience in serving birth parents internationally, as other laws and treaties often apply to this process. My office handles these cases regularly. If we can be of assistance, do not hesitate to call us.

    Additionally, the most important thing you can give your son is his complete medical history. Above all else try to get a complete history from the father - we never know what the future brings and the more that you can learn about his condition, the better prepared you can be to help your son when he is older if any similar symptoms arise.

    I hope you found this answer helpful and if so, please let me know by clicking the "Mark as Helpful" button at the bottom of this answer. It’s easy and appreciated.

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  • Where to start with step parent adoption in nc

    my sons biological father was never listed on the birth certificate. He was born In N.Y. I have been married through the birth of my son. My husband and I have reconciled since my sons birth. The bio father has not seen or asked about him since Ju...

    Jessica’s Answer

    Your first step should be to find an attorney who specializes in Adoption in your state. Consider finding an attorney through the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys - www.adoptionattorneys.org. You have to find out where the biological father stand with respect to hia rights under your state’s adoption law. He may be considered a biological father or a legal father. There are different criteria depending on his legal status. In Georgia, legal fathers are ones who were married to the birthmother or acknowledged paternity (got their names on the birth certificate) or legitimated the child, but you should consult with an attorney to find out what the criteria is in your state. it sounds like he is a biological father because he did not legitimate the child or sign the birth certificate, but again, I suggest that you speak with local counsel to make sure.
    In most states, it is easier to have the rights of a biological father terminated. Usually, the biological father’s rights can be terminated without written consent after notice is given and he does not respond for a certain period of time.
    If the father is determined to be a legal father, however, check with your lawyer about having his rights terminated on the grounds of abandonment. In Georgia, if legal fathers have not communicated, supported and seen their children in over a year, then the courts here can terminate their rights based on abandonment. Again, you should ask your lawyer if there is a similar statute in your state.
    The other option is to find the biological father and ask if he is willing to sign over his parental rights to your child. If he is willing, the step-parent adoption can usually move faster in court.
    The most important thing you can give your child is his complete medical history. Above all else, try to get a complete history from his natural father- you never know what the future brings, and if you lose touch with him in the future, this may be very helpful to have.

    Once the biological father’s rights have been terminated, you can go forward with the step-parent adoption. After the completion of the adoption, the biological fathers will no longer be liable for any future child support.

    Another thing to look into is whether your husband is already the legal father. In many states, when you are married, your husband is the presumptive legal father unless anyone else comes forward to reubut that presumption. You should check with an attorney to see if your husband is already considered the legal father, and if so, then petition the court for an order to send to vital records in order to add your husband to the birth certificate.

    I hope you found this answer helpful and if so, please let me know by clicking the "Mark as Helpful" button at the bottom of this answer. It’s easy and appreciated.

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  • In step parent adoption in GA is a background check required by court of petitioner?

    One of the parties is the biological mother and the step parent has been married and taking care of the minor child for the last 3 years. The child is 4 years old and has never met her father. Whereabouts unknown?

    Jessica’s Answer

    Yes, in Georgia, the Petitioner for a step-parent adoption is required to submit GBI and FBI background checks. The Petitioner does not need to go through a full home study, as would be required in an independent adoption, but the court will look into making sure that the Petitioner and home are safe for the child. Many counties will require a Court Report that is more like a mini home study. Other counties allow for you to submit a Declaration in lieu of in home visit for step-parent adoptions.

    That being said, I agree with my colleagues that not all criminal charges in one's background will preclude the court from approving the adoption. I recommend that you discuss this question with an attorney. Your attorney can discuss the criminal charges with you and guide you about how to present this information to the court. Often a good course of action is to write an affidavit explaining your old criminal charges. If it was a minor offense, committed many many years ago and you have been an upstanding citizen every since, this evidence can be presented to the Court. The Court will look at the best interest of the child and make a decision based on the totality of the circumstances.

    Additionally, your attorney will have to determine where the biological father stands with respect to his rights under Georgia adoption law. He may be a biological father or a legal father. There are different criteria depending on his legal status. Legal fathers are ones who were married to the birthmother or acknowledged paternity.

    If he is simply a biological father, he is served with notice. If 30 days go by after he is served and he does nothing, then the court can terminate his rights without his written consent. If, after a diligent search, his whereabout are truly unknown, your attorney can motion the court to serve through publication.

    If you have a legal father and he has not communicated, supported and seen the child in over a year, then, after proper service, the court can terminate his rights on grounds of abandonment.

    The most important thing you can give your child is her complete medical history. Above all else try to get a complete history from the father - we never know what the future brings.

    I hope you found this answer helpful and if so, please let me know by clicking the "Mark as Helpful" button at the bottom of this answer. It’s easy and appreciated.

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  • If the biological mother and father enter into an agreement will it be binding after adoption?

    If biological parents of 2 minor children enter into an agreement outlining the ongoing parameters of the biological father's contact and similar things with the children prior to an adoption of the children by the stepfather, will the agreement b...

    Jessica’s Answer

    I agree with my colleague that once an adoption is finalized, the adopting parent will have all rights to the child. However, many states have passed laws, and many others, including Georgia, are proposing new laws, that will allow Post-Adoption Contract Agreements, also known as an Agreement for Openness, to be enforceable between birth parents and adopting parents. I suggest that you contact an attorney in your state and find out if your state allows enforceability of an Agreement for Openness Contract. Even when these contracts are not enforceable, they do show the good faith of the parties to keep open lines of communication between birth and adopting parents and can have a positive effect on the children involved. There is a lot of research that shows that open adoptions produce good outcomes for children (See Evan B. Donaldson Institute, studies on openness in adoption from 1986 to 1999, www.adoptionsinstitute.org).
    Good luck!
    I hope you found this answer helpful and if so, please let me know by clicking the "Mark as Helpful" button at the bottom of this answer. It’s easy and appreciated.

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