100-page bill has been introduced by Republican Georgia representative Bert Reeves and other state legislators that aims to modernize the state’s current adoption laws. The last time substantial changes were implemented in Georgia’s adoption law was almost 30 years ago, in 1990. While House bill 159 (HB 159) would institute several changes in the adoption code, most of them are minor and the purpose of the changes is to streamline the adoption process.
There are several key issues that HB 159 will address including:
- Clarifying Intrastate Jurisdiction: Under current law, a Georgia mom wishing to put her child up for adoption and surrendering her rights to adoptive parents living in another state may be subject to Georgia and the other state’s law, or simply just the other state’s law. If the bill passes, a Georgia mother will be completely covered by Georgia law – no matter if the adoptive parents are living in state or in another state – during the pendency of the adoption case;
- International Adoption: Presently Georgia adoption law does not address international adoptions. HB 159 would create new pathways for courts to recognize international decrees of adoption; and
- Parental Rights: Current state law provides the birth mother for 10 days to change her mind about surrendering her parental rights to the adoptive parents. This usually prevents the adoptive parents from bonding with the child until the time has passed. The new bill would allow the birth mother to decide whether or not she wants to waive the additional time.
HB 159 would also make forms and affidavits easier with the goal of making the process easier for everyday people to understand.
Seek Legal Advice
If you or someone you know is interested in adopting a child or giving a child up for adoption, contact a knowledgeable family law attorney to learn about your rights under the law. The adoption of a child is a serious decision. Giving up parental rights is also a serious decision. Make sure you have access to the most recent information regarding adoption laws. Contact a skilled family law attorney right away.