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

Columbus, GA |

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 evaluation. He refused and moved out of the country. I have received no financial support. He is not on the birth certificate. I last saw him when I was 8 weeks pregnant. He last tried to contact me and my parents in December 2012 at which time I told him again to not contact me until he has followed the appropriate steps. I have a major concern for my sons safety given the lack of trust of this man and events that have transpired. There has been no filing for legitimation. Could my future husband adopt my son who is now 18 months?

By that I mean, once I am married, could the step-parent (my husband) adopt? If the father is supposedly out of the country how does that work?

Attorney Answers 3


No, but when he becomes your husband he can file for a step parent adoption. After the wedding, contact an experienced adoption attorney in the county where you live.

I am exclusively a family law attorney, practicing primarily in the metro Atlanta, Georgia trial courts. However, I handle appeals from anywhere in Georgia.

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Not now. If he adopts the child before you are married, your rights would be terminated.

After your marriage, very possibly, yes (some courts will want you to be married for a period of time to show stability first). Even though the bio-dad has not legitimated the child, he still could potentially pose a problem. He will have to be served unless he consents and his parental rights terminated.

Step one to all this is to retain a good lawyer after you get married. Adoption law is complex and you need an experienced lawyer.

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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.

I am licensed to practice solely in Georgia, and do not intend to give legal advice or create a lawyer/client relationship. Please consult an attorney in your state for detailed advice on your legal question.

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