2010 Georgia Code
TITLE 19 - DOMESTIC RELATIONS
CHAPTER 8 - ADOPTION
ARTICLE 1 - GENERAL PROVISIONS
§ 19-8-12 - Notice to biological father; procedure when identity or location of father not known; petition, hearing, and order; when rights of biological father terminated; legitimation of child by father; rights of mother

O.C.G.A. 19-8-12 (2010)
19-8-12. Notice to biological father; procedure when identity or location of father not known; petition, hearing, and order; when rights of biological father terminated; legitimation of child by father; rights of mother


(a) The General Assembly finds that:

(1) The state has a compelling interest in promptly providing stable and permanent homes for adoptive children, and in preventing the disruption of adoptive placements;

(2) Adoptive children have a right to permanence and stability in adoptive placements;

(3) Adoptive parents have a constitutionally protected liberty and privacy interest in retaining custody of children;

(4) A biological father who is not the legal father may have an interest in his biological child. This inchoate interest is lost by failure to develop a familial bond with the child and acquires constitutional protection only if the biological father who is not the legal father develops a familial bond with the child;

(5) The subjective intent of a biological father who is not a legal father, whether expressed or otherwise, unsupported by evidence of acts manifesting such intent, shall not preclude a determination that the biological father who is not a legal father has failed to develop a familial bond with the child; and

(6) A man who has engaged in a nonmarital sexual relationship with a woman is deemed to be on notice that a pregnancy and adoption proceeding regarding a child may occur and has a duty to protect his own rights and interests in that child. He is therefore entitled to notice of an adoption proceeding only as provided in this Code section.

(b) If there is a biological father who is not the legal father of a child and he has not executed a surrender as specified in paragraph (2) of subsection (e) of Code Section 19-8-4, 19-8-5, 19-8-6, or 19-8-7, he shall be notified of adoption proceedings regarding the child in the following circumstances:

(1) If his identity is known to the petitioner, department, or licensed child-placing agency or to the attorney for the petitioner, department, or licensed child-placing agency;

(2) If he is a registrant on the putative father registry who has acknowledged paternity of the child in accordance with subparagraph (d)(2)(A) of Code Section 19-11-9;

(3) If he is a registrant on the putative father registry who has indicated possible paternity of a child of the child's mother during a period beginning two years immediately prior to the child's date of birth in accordance with subparagraph (d)(2)(B) of Code Section 19-11-9; or

(4) If the court finds from the evidence, including but not limited to the affidavit of the mother specified in subsection (g) of Code Section 19-8-4, 19-8-5, 19-8-6, or 19-8-7 in the form provided in subsection (h) of Code Section 19-8-26, that such biological father who is not the legal father has performed any of the following acts:

(A) Lived with the child;

(B) Contributed to the child's support;

(C) Made any attempt to legitimate the child; or

(D) Provided support or medical care for the mother either during her pregnancy or during her hospitalization for the birth of the child.

(c) Notification provided for in subsection (b) of this Code section shall be given to a biological father who is not a legal father by the following methods:

(1) Registered or certified mail or statutory overnight delivery, return receipt requested, at his last known address, which notice shall be deemed received upon the date of delivery shown on the return receipt;

(2) Personal service, which notice shall be deemed received when personal service is perfected; or

(3) Publication once a week for three weeks in the official organ of the county where the petition has been filed and of the county of his last known address, which notice shall be deemed received upon the date of the last publication.

If feasible, the methods specified in paragraph (1) or (2) of this subsection shall be used before publication.
(d)(1) Where the rights of a parent or guardian of a child have been surrendered or terminated in accordance with subsection (a) of Code Section 19-8-4, the department or a child-placing agency may file, under the authority of this paragraph, a petition to terminate such biological father's rights to the child with the superior court of the county where the child resides.

(2) Where the rights of a parent or guardian of a child have been surrendered in accordance with subsection (a) of Code Section 19-8-5, 19-8-6, or 19-8-7 or a consent to adopt has been executed pursuant to paragraph (2) of subsection (a) of Code Section 19-8-6, the petitioner shall file, under the authority of this paragraph, with the superior court either a motion, if a petition for adoption of the child has previously been filed with the court, or a petition to terminate such biological father's rights to the child.

(3) Where a petition or motion is filed pursuant to paragraph (1) or (2) of this subsection, the court shall, within 30 days from such filing, conduct a hearing in chambers to determine the facts in the matter. The court shall be authorized to consider the affidavit of the mother specified in subsection (g) of Code Section 19-8-4, 19-8-5, 19-8-6, or 19-8-7, as applicable, in making its determination pursuant to this paragraph. If the court finds from the evidence that such biological father has not performed any of the following acts:

(A) Lived with the child;

(B) Contributed to the child's support;

(C) Made any attempt to legitimate the child; or

(D) Provided support or medical care for the mother, either during her pregnancy or during her hospitalization for the birth of the child,
and the petitioner provides a certificate as of the date of the petition or the motion, as the case may be, from the putative father registry stating that there is no entry on the putative father registry either acknowledging paternity of the child or indicating possible paternity of a child of the child's mother for a period beginning no later than two years immediately prior to the child's date of birth, then it shall be rebuttably presumed that the biological father who is not the legal father is not entitled to notice of the proceedings. Absent evidence rebutting the presumption, then no further inquiry or notice shall be required by the court and the court shall enter an order terminating the rights of such biological father to the child.

(e) When notice is to be given pursuant to subsection (b) of this Code section, it shall advise such biological father who is not the legal father that he loses all rights to the child and will neither receive notice nor be entitled to object to the adoption of the child unless, within 30 days of receipt of such notice, he files:

(1) A petition to legitimate the child pursuant to Code Section 19-7-22 or an acknowledgment of legitimation pursuant to Code Section 19-7-21.1; and

(2) Notice of the filing of the petition to legitimate or acknowledgment of legitimation with the court in which the action under this Code section, if any, is pending and to the person who provided such notice to such biological father.

(f) A biological father who is not the legal father loses all rights to the child and the court shall enter an order terminating all such father's rights to the child and such father may not thereafter object to the adoption and is not entitled to receive further notice of the adoption if within 30 days from his receipt of the notice provided for in subsection (b) of this Code section he:

(1) Does not file a legitimation petition and give notice as required in subsection (e) of this Code section;

(2) Files a legitimation petition which is subsequently dismissed for failure to prosecute; or

(3) Files a legitimation petition and the action is subsequently concluded without a court order declaring a finding that he is the father of the child.

(g) If the child is legitimated by his or her biological father, the adoption shall not be permitted except as provided in Code Sections 19-8-4 through 19-8-7.

(h) If the child is legitimated by his or her biological father and in the subsequent adoption proceeding the petition for adoption is either withdrawn with prejudice or denied by the court, then a surrender of parental rights final release for adoption executed by the legal mother pursuant to the provisions of subsection (a) of Code Section 19-8-4, 19-8-5, or 19-8-7 shall be dissolved by operation of law and her parental rights shall be restored to her. The fact that the legal mother executed a surrender of parental rights final release for adoption, now dissolved, shall not be admissible evidence in any proceedings against the legal mother.
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