Skip to main content
Jessica Lynne Gordon

Jessica Gordon’s Answers

59 total


  • Can my fiance adopt my daughter with out the involvement of her biological father?

    She is almost 2 years old and her biological father has never made any attempt to be in her life tho I have tried to involve him. He is also not on her birth certificate and we were never married.

    Jessica’s Answer

    First you 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 (got their names on the birth certificate). It sounds like in your case he is a biological father, but you will need to make sure he never legimated your child.

    Even if he is simply a biological father, he still must be 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 you have a legal father and he has not communicated, supported and seen the child in over a year, then 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.

    Finally, Georgia adoption law allows for step-parent adoptions. The requirements for these adoptions are less strict than for independent adoptions. You would need to be married to your finance, however, in order for him to do a step-parent adoption. So that is something else that you will need to consider and speak to an attorney about before moving forward.

    If you would like to discuss the process in detail, I would be happy to talk with you. I regularly give guidance on this type of case, and my office offers free 15 minute consultations to potential clients. You can find a list of other experienced Georgia adoption attorneys through http://www.gacal.com/.

    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. You can also choose a "best answer" if you wish. This is easy to do and greatly appreciated.

    See question 
  • Want to adopt step daughter

    My husband has a 7 year old daughter that has been living with us for the past 3 years. Her "mother" has seen her 1 time in those 3 years. She does not call does not write and doesn't even live in the state anymore. And she is not paying child sup...

    Jessica’s Answer

    Your first step should be to find an attorney who specializes in Adoption in your state.
    You can talk with your attorney about going forward with a step-parent adoption. The biological mother is a legal parent and if she is not willing to sign over her rights, you can check with your lawyer about having her rights terminated on the grounds of abandonment. In Georgia, if legal parents have not communicated, supported and seen their children in over a year, then the courts here can terminate their rights based on abandonment. It also sounds like you could potentially have her rights terminated based on the abuse. Again, you should discuss with your attorney if similar statutes exists in your state.
    The other option is to speak with the biological mother and ask her if she is willing to sign over her parental rights to you for your step-child. If she is willing, the step-parent adoption can usually move faster in court. Additionally, try to ensure that your step-child has her complete medical history from her bio mother - you never know what the future brings, and if you lose touch with her in the future, this may be very helpful to have.
    Once the biological mother’s rights have been terminated, you can go forward with a step-parent adoption. Ask your attorney if the law in your state requires that you are married for a certain period of time before allowing a step-parent adoption.
    After the completion of the adoption, the biological mother will no longer be entitled to any future child support or visitation with the child.
    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.

    See question 
  • Can a US citizen adopt a 19 year-old legal immigrant in the state of Georgia?

    He has lived here since he was 7 under his father's work visa, but his parents kicked him out when he was 17 and have since returned to the UK. He was told that he is still here legally. He has thought of me as his mom for the past year, and we wo...

    Jessica’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    I agree with my colleagues’ answers that it sounds like what you are asking about is an adult adoption. It is perfectly natural to want to seek to legalize an emotional attachment to an adult in your life and Georgia has a statute that specifically provides for adult adoptions. However, I also agree with my colleagues that it sounds like he has some unresolved immigration issues that need to be addressed as well. Unfortunately, your adopted son would not be able to gain any immigration benefit from the adoption because if you adopt a child past when the child turns 16, you will not be able to petition for immigration benefits for him based on the adoption. There is one exception to this rule, which is that if you are adopting a sibling group, and one is below 16 and the other is over 16 but under 18, then you would be able to petition for immigration benefits for both children. However, it sounds like he is already over 18 and does not have a sibling you are seeking to adopt. Therefore, I would recommend that you speak to an experienced attorney with both immigration and adoption experience as there may be other immigration relief available to him, such as DACA.

    If you would like to discuss the process in detail, my office would be happy to talk with you. We are located in Marietta, Georgia and concentrate on immigration and adoption. We regularly give guidance on this type of case, and we offer free 15 minute consultations to potential clients. You can also find a list of other experienced immigration attorneys through http://www.ailalawyer.com/ and other 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.

    See question 
  • Is it hard to bring over my niece & nephew from Mexico? Can the i adopt the children? I'm a us citizen and my sister is too.

    My parents are residents. Any one of us can adopt... Or what are our options? Their parents are not together and their mom remarried. both their parents live in Mexico. Is it a difficult process? What can I do? What steps do I need to do?

    Jessica’s Answer

    The United States ratified the Hague Convention on April 1, 2008. On that date, the Intercountry Adoption Act came into effect along with new regulations for adoptions between parties from two countries who have both ratified the Hague Convention. Specifically, the Intercountry Adoption Act applies if the children are citizens and habitual resident of one convention country and the adoptive parents are citizens of the United States. For more information, please go to the Department of State Website and read the overview about Hague adoption cases. (See link below).

    In your case, you are citizens of the United States, a Hague Convention Country, and it sounds like your niece and nephew are citizens of Mexico, also another Hague Convention Country. This means that you would normally need to go through the Hague regulations and submit 1-800a and 1-800. Be very cautious. Only adoption service providers that have been accredited on a Federal level may help you with this process and offer certain key adoption services for Convention adoptions. You may go to the Department of State website to find a list of accredited agencies. (See link below). If you do things out of order on a Hague Convention case, your case will get a denial.

    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. You can also choose a "best answer" if you wish. This is easy to do and greatly appreciated.

    See question 
  • My situation is very complicated, I need help big time.

    I am a step mother of a 4y/o. He has Been in our care for almost 4 months straight and has only seen his bio mom once. We're going for full custody next week. We had a Pfa against his mom for abuse against my step son. Is there any way that I wi...

    Jessica’s Answer

    Your first step should be to find an attorney who specializes in Custody and Adoption in your state.

    The most important thing for you to concentrate on right now is keeping your step-son safe.
    If you feel that he will not be safe unless you gain rights over him, then you should consider talking with your attorney about going forward with a step-parent adoption. The biological mother is a legal parent and if she is not willing to sign over her rights, you can check with your lawyer about having her rights terminated on the grounds of abandonment. In Georgia, if legal parents have not communicated, supported and seen their children in over a year, then the courts here can terminate their rights based on abandonment. It also sounds like you could potentially have her rights terminated based on the abuse. Again, you should discuss with your attorney what the requirements are in your state for termination of parental rights.

    The other option is to speak with the biological mother and ask her if she is willing to sign over her parental rights to you for your step-child. If she is willing, the step-parent adoption can usually move faster in court. Additionally, try to ensure that your step-child has his complete medical history from his bio mother - you never know what the future brings, and if you lose touch with her in the future, this may be very helpful to have.

    Once the biological mother’s rights have been terminated, you can go forward with a step-parent adoption. Ask your attorney if the law in your state requires that you are married for a certain period of time before allowing a step-parent adoption.

    After the completion of the adoption, the biological mother will no longer be entitled to any future child support or visitation with the child.

    Finally, you could try to get temporary guardianship or have your husband's custody agreement changed in court, but if you are truely fearing for your step-son's safety, you should know that neither of these options will terminate his mother's parental rights and she would be able to come back and petition for his custody.

    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. You can also choose a "best answer" if you wish. This is simple to do and also greatly appreciated.

    See question 
  • Hi. I want to ask about adopting international children of age 26 having usa visa

    can usa citizen parent adopt a international child of age 26 and the children having usa visa

    Jessica’s Answer

    It sounds like what you are asking about is an adult adoption. Most states have a provision in their statutes allowing for adoption of adults. It is perfectly natural to want to seek to legalize an emotional attachment to "child" in your life, even if that child is over the age limit for a child adoption. In your particular case, however, you want to be careful with going forward with seeking an adult adoption if it is for the purposes of immigration because it is considered immigration fraud to complete an adoption for the purposes of immigration. Furthermore, if you adopt a child past when the child turns 16, you will not be able to petition for immigration benefits for him or her based on the adoption. There is one exception to this rule, which is that if you are adopting a sibling group, and one is below 16 and the other is over 16 but under 18, then you would be able to petition for immigration benefits for both children. However, it sounds like you are interested in adopting a child who is over both those age limits already. If what you are really interested in is immigration benefits, I would recommend that you consult with an attorney that has immigration experience before proceeding with any legal action.

    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. You can also choose a "best answer" if you wish. This is easy to do and greatly appreciated.

    See question 
  • What is the process to adopt an ilegal minor immigrant who entered the US in June 2012?

    He is 16 years old, his parents are alive in our country. He was detained by immigration in June 2012. I sponsored him to come and live with my family, I paid no bond to received the child. I want to adopt him to make him legal.

    Jessica’s Answer

    I agree with my colleague’s answer that if you adopt a child past when the child turns 16, you will not be able to petition for immigration benefits for him based on the adoption. There is one exception to this rule, which is that if you are adopting a sibling group, and one is below 16 and the other is over 16 but under 18, then you would be able to petition for immigration benefits for both children. Additionally, you should be careful in going forward with this because adoption for the purposes of immigration is considered fraud. That being said, though, from your question, it does not seem like that is the only reason you wanted to adopt him. It sounds like you have bonded with this child and would like him to become part of your family.
    If it is true that you would like to adopt him for family unity purposes, there are other avenues you can follow to help him and welcome him into your family. First, it sounds like he was abandoned by his biological parents. Is that accurate? If so, you could consider going into Juvenile Court and asking for a private dependency hearing. The court will then determine if he will be found dependant on the Juvenile Court because of abandonment, abuse or neglect. Additionally, the court will determine if you can gain legal custody over him to help him. If you gain custody, you will be able to enroll him in school and get medical benefits under your health care plan. Second, he can use that dependency order to file for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status with USCIS. This is immigration relief for children who were brought to this country and then abused or abandoned by their parents. If the SIJ petition is approved, he will be eligible to receive legal permanent residency status (i.e. a green card). Please note that the order must contain certain wording, so I highly suggest that you consult with an immigration attorney that also has experience in juvenile court and adoption.
    If you would like to discuss the process in detail, my office would be happy to talk with you. We regularly give guidance on this type of case, and we offer free 15 minute consultations to potential clients. You can find a list of other experienced immigration attorneys through http://www.ailalawyer.com/.

    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. You can also choose a "best answer" if you wish. This is simple to do and also greatly appreciated.

    See question 
  • How do u go about getting rights removed so my husband can adopt?

    He's always been behind on child support. I've gotten his visitations removed because he was so inceonsent. And he has not seen him in over a year.

    Jessica’s Answer

    Your first step should be to find an attorney who specializes in Adoption in your state.

    Second, most states have a statute providing for step-parent adoption. Your attorney will be able to walk you through all the requirements under your state statute. One of the most important requirements in most states is to ensure first that the biological parent’s parental rights have been or will be terminated.

    You have to find out where the biological father stand with respect to his rights under your state’s adoption law. He may be considered a biological father or a legal father. There are different criteria depending on their 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 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 father will no longer be liable for any furture 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 father can become a part of so that your child can reach out to him sometime in the future, if he so desires?

    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. You can also choose a "best answer" if you wish. This is simple to do and also greatly appreciated.

    See question 
  • I want to adopt my stepson

    My stepson was adopted by my wife several years before we married. His biological mother gave up her rights when he was born, and his biological father also gave up his rights shortly before the adoption. All of this occurred in the state of Maryl...

    Jessica’s Answer

    Your first step should be to find an attorney who specializes in Adoption in your state.

    Second, most states have a statute providing for step-parent adoption. Your attorney will be able to walk you through all the requirements under your state statute. One of the most important requirements in most states is to ensure first that the biological or legal parents’ parental rights have been or will be terminated. It sounds like the birth parents rights were already terminated in your step-child’s case. The question here is whether your step-son was adopted by your wife as a single adult or whether she was married at the time and co-adopted him with her ex-husband. If her ex-husband adopted the child as well, he is considered a legal parent and he will either need to surrender his rights to you or have his rights terminated. If she adopted as a single adult, then you can go forward with a step-parent adoption. She will need to consent to the adoption, but will not need to surrender her rights in order for you to gain parental rights.
    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) Does your state have a reunion registry that the legal father, if there is one, can become a part of so that your child can reach out to him sometime in the future, if he so desires?

    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. You can also choose a "best answer" if you wish. This is simple to do and also greatly appreciated.

    See question 
  • Want to reverse adoption by stepmother to petition for birth mother.

    I was adopted by my step mother when I was 14 while my permanent resident dad was in nigeria under advice from free legal services. My step mother and bioligical father obtained a visit visa for me in nigeria but my dad stay behind to do business ...

    Jessica’s Answer

    It is perfectly natural to want to seek to legalize an emotional attachment to an adult in your life. In your particular case, however, you want to be careful with going forward with vacating your initial adoption or seeking an adult adoption because it could call into question your families’ previous motivation for your initial adoption. In other words, it is considered immigration fraud to complete an adoption for the purposes of immigration. It sounds like your stepmother was very loving and your initial adoption was done for family unity purposes other than or at least in addition to the immigration, so it sounds like your family had multiple reasons for your adoption. I am just suggesting that you do not want to jeopardize your status here by making your initial adoption look like it was done only for the purposes of immigration. I would recommend that you consult with an attorney that has both immigration and adoption experience before proceeding.

    If your immigration status is not based on your adoption, then you can consider an adult adoption by your biological mother. Again, I highly recommend that you check with an adoption attorney in your state before proceeding, however, because guidelines and requirements for adult adoptions vary between states. Many states require formal notification of birth parents. Some states, though, like Georgia, do not require legal parent consent to an adult adoption. Other states require the adopted party to be of diminished capacity while other states only require an agreement between the parties involved. If you are married, some states will want to have the consent of your spouse.

    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. You can also choose a "best answer" if you wish. This is easy to do and greatly appreciated.

    See question