I encourage you to consult with an adoption attorney about accomplishing your adoption goals. It may be possible for your new husband to adopt your son, but how easy that will be to accomplish will depend on the particular facts of your case (for example, financial support, amount of contact, etc.). In addition, you should know that many judges in your area (Gwinnett County) will not grant a stepparent adoption until the stepparent has been married to the biological parent at least one year.
I offer a free, no-obligation initial consultation and would be happy to discuss the specifics of your case with you over the telephone or in person. In addition, you can find a list of other highly qualified adoption attorneys on the website for the Georgia Council of Adoption Lawyers.
The information contained in this response is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. Neither Neal & Wright LLC nor its attorneys have created an attorney-client relationship with you by responding to your question. The attorneys of Neal & Wright LLC ethically cannot agree to represent you until confirming that there are no conflicts of interest and obtaining information about the specific facts of your case.
In your ex's relative absence, this may seem like it should be no big deal, but this is far from a slam dunk. Despite his “absence,” your ex has parental rights, and they cannot be “taken” from him without at least giving him a chance to oppose it. In addition to that, it will also depend on the attitude of the judge you get. That judge will have a great deal of discretion and latitude in deciding whether to grant the adoption. Some judges think biological parenthood is almost sacrosanct (even when those parents themselves do not treat it as such); others readily cut off “parents” whose behavior is not ... “parental.”
So you should consult an attorney who has real experience with adoption – it is an area that, increasingly, is technical and hard for lawyers who do not make it a focus of their practice.
You SHOULD be married before attempting it, and it MIGHT be a good idea to wait 6 months or a year after the marriage before doing it. (I have several reasons for saying this, and since many of them vary according to what I said above, it would just be needlessly confusing if I tried to elaborate on them here.)
As was mentioned, you need to be married first. (Step-parent adoption requires that there be a step-parent.) If you do not have consent of the biological parent for the adoption, you can request that the parent's rights be terminated anyway based on their failure to provide financial and/or emotional support. However, you need to also be prepared to show some sort of real relationship between the child and the step-parent.
As was suggested, you should meet with a few attorneys. Not only do you need to get specific information about your rights and responsibilities, you also do NOT want to try to proceed without the assistance of counsel. (Note: you should get married BEFORE you start interviewing attorneys.)
The above answer is a general explanation of legal rights and procedures. It does not constitute legal advice. Nor does it establish an attorney-client relationship between the individual posting the question and the attorney providing the answer.