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Can my boyfriend adopt my daughter or do we have to get married?

Winder, GA |

my daughters biological father has nothin to do with her all. He dose pay child support (well sometimes). But now my boyfriend has been with us for 3 years now & he is wanting to adopt my daughter & let her have his last name. We have plans on getting married in time tho. I just want a clean slate & fresh start & my ex out of our lifes.. can that happen? Oh & he did not legitimize her birth either, so that means he has no rights right?

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Attorney answers 3


If you are not married - boyfriend adopts your daughter, then you will not have any rights to her. It will be necessary for him to have a home study, prior to the court finalizing the adoption and changing your daughter's name.

If you get married - then you will be doing a stepparent adoption and you will not be losing any of your rights at the time of the adoption. However, once he becomes her legal father, he has full blown legal rights - including asking for custody and child support, should the two of you split.

Adoptions are like open heart surgery - you are weaving a child into a family. Make sure you have good legal respresentation.
Best of Luck


For your boyfriend to adopt your child you would have to surrender all rights to your child. So you have the order wrong. Get married first, make sure that works, and then he can do a step-parent adoption where you retain your rights.

Note that the bio-dad's rights still must be terminated in the adoption, and that if he pays some support he may be able to prevent adoption. Ideally, he may consent, and that makes it easier.

Regardless, after you marry, you need a lawyer to handle the adoption.

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Once you are married, a stepparent adoption is the way to go. You will have to terminate the biological father's rights, even though he never legitimated the child in the adoption case by motion. However, you will have to show that he has either had no meaningful contact with the child within the past year (as he has paid some support), or get him to agree to surrender his rights. If he has had contact and won't surrender, you will have to terminate his rights prior to filing for adoption. An attorney with all of the facts can give you your options and how to go about getting done what you want. My office is in Winder, and I would be glad to discuss this in more detail with you any time during a free consultation (770) 307-4899.

As the others are telling you, in order for him to adopt prior to your marriage is a process requiring your own rights to be terminated, which you do not want to do. If marriage is a little down the road, you could go ahead and be getting your ducks in a row to do the adoption soon after.

The above information is general in nature. In order to obtain more specific and legal advice upon which to base your important decisions, please contact our office directly for a free phone or in person consultation. Robert M. Gardner, Jr. Hicks, Massey & Gardner, LLP 53 W. Candler St. Or 718 Oak St. Winder, Ga. 30680 Gainesville, Georgia (770) 307-4899 (770) 538-0555 serving metro Atlanta and all of Northeast Georgia Bankruptcy, Divorce, Personal Injury, Worker’s Compensation, Medical Malpractice, Adoption, Civil and Criminal Litigation