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When can a Georgia father be notified of an adoption?

Previous posts here have discussed the fact that Georgia distinguishes between biological paternity and legal paternity, and the process by which a father can legitimate a child he has had with someone to whom he was not married. One of the reasons a man might wish to do this is so he can be notified in case the child is put up for adoption either by the mother or an agency. But is that the only time he will be notified?

When filing a petition for adoption in Georgia, the petitioners, usually the adopting parent or parents, will be required to notify the biological father, even if he has not gone through the process of legitimation in certain cases if his parental rights have not already been terminated. Georgia Code Section 19-8-12 covers these instances, and requires notification when the identity of the biological father is known to the petitioners or the agency placing the child, if the father is both on the putative father registry and acknowledged paternity, or is on the registry and suggested possible paternity in the two years prior to the child's birth, or there is evidence that he acted like a father, such as living with the child, attempting to legitimate him or her, helped the mother with financial or medical support during the pregnancy or birth of the child or provided financial support for the child after birth.

The putative father in the above cases can be notified by being served with process, or by registered mail at his last known address or by publication if the first two methods fail or are impossible. It should be noted that simply being notified does not give the father any specific rights to the child, and that the adoption may still go ahead unless the father takes certain steps to object to it. Further, a court could find that a putative father has not evidenced an intent to form a bond with the child even if he states that it was his intent.

As can be seen, the notification process may become complicated for petitioners, and a father who wants to protect his rights to a child during an adoption will need to take affirmative action to do so.

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