2010 Georgia Code
TITLE 19 - DOMESTIC RELATIONS
CHAPTER 8 - ADOPTION
ARTICLE 1 - GENERAL PROVISIONS
§ 19-8-11 - Petitioning superior court to terminate parental rights; service of process

O.C.G.A. 19-8-11 (2010)
19-8-11. Petitioning superior court to terminate parental rights; service of process


(a)(1) In those cases where the department or a child-placing agency has either obtained:

(A) The voluntary written surrender of all parental rights from one of the parents or the guardian of a child; or

(B) An order of a court of competent jurisdiction terminating all of the rights of one of the parents or the guardian of a child,

the department or child-placing agency may in contemplation of the placement of such child for adoption petition the superior court of the county where the child resides to terminate the parental rights of the remaining parent pursuant to this Code section.

(2) In those cases where a person who is the resident of another state has obtained the voluntary written surrender of all parental rights from one of the parents or the guardian of a child, each such person to whom the child has been surrendered may in contemplation of the adoption of such child in such other state petition the superior court of the county where the child resides to terminate the parental rights of the remaining parent pursuant to this Code section.

(3) Parental rights may be terminated pursuant to paragraph (1) or (2) of this subsection where the court determines by clear and convincing evidence that the:

(A) Child has been abandoned by that parent;

(B) Parent of the child cannot be found after a diligent search has been made;

(C) Parent is insane or otherwise incapacitated from surrendering such rights; or

(D) Parent has failed to exercise proper parental care or control due to misconduct or inability, as set out in paragraph (2), (3), or (4) of subsection (b) of Code Section 15-11-94,

and the court shall set the matter down to be heard in chambers not less than 30 and not more than 60 days following the receipt by such remaining parent of the notice under subsection (b) of this Code section and shall enter an order terminating such parental rights if it so finds and if it is of the opinion that adoption is in the best interests of the child, after considering the physical, mental, emotional, and moral condition and needs of the child who is the subject of the proceeding, including the need for a secure and stable home.

(b) Whenever a petition is filed pursuant to subsection (a) of this Code section, the parent whose rights the petitioner is seeking to terminate shall be personally served with a conformed copy of the petition, and a copy of the court's order setting forth the date upon which the petition shall be considered or, if personal service cannot be perfected, by registered or certified mail or statutory overnight delivery, return receipt requested, at his last known address. If service cannot be made by either of these methods, that parent shall be given notice by 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. A parent who receives notification pursuant to this subsection may appear and show cause why such parent's rights to the child sought to be placed for adoption should not be terminated. Notice shall be deemed to have been received the date:

(1) Personal service is perfected;

(2) Of delivery shown on the return receipt of registered or certified mail or statutory overnight delivery; or

(3) Of the last publication.

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