In the 1950s society’s definition of a family centered around mom, dad and the children. As time has passed, composition of the family structure in Georgia has changed. Single parent families, extended families, grandparents raising children and same-sex families have all added to the family landscape. This can complicate the issue of the child’s best interest as it applies to adoption.
Quasi-parent is a term that has been around for a while and it refers to people who have bonded with a child and raised a child but are not necessarily blood relatives and may not have yet legally adopted the child. As an example, a janitor finds a baby abandoned. He takes the baby home, and he and his wife become the court appointed guardians; then, after a period of years, they begin adoption proceedings. They are the only parents the child has known but the father appears and wants custody of his child. The best interests of the child in this case may not be not clear.
The law does recognize the term quasi-parent and defines it “as a person not a legal parent who nonetheless has greater rights in a contest with the legal parent than does any other party.” The U.S. Supreme Court only addressed the issue once in a case where it affirmed a widow’s right to limit her children’s contact with their paternal grandparents. Courts still tend to favor blood relations in custody cases, but other issues should be taken into consideration when determining the best interest of the child.
A person in Georgia who may be facing challenges with regard to a prospective adoption may benefit from consulting an experienced family law attorney. Some aspects of an adoption may seem to present obstacles to those who are unfamiliar with the process. A knowledgeable lawyer can offer advice about how to proceed and what legal options are available.