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REPOST – 1/4/12 and 1/5/12

by merlin on April 30th, 2012
  • Sumo

DISCLAIMER: I am aware of the formatting errors in this post.  I have combined an earlier two-part post because of a relevant question on this topic posted earlier today on Avvo.com, and I would like to address the necessary actions a person must take to Surrender their parental rights.  The post itself concerned step-parent adoptions, which is another action entirely, but this is associated with that.

The Code section dealing with Adoptions (Chapter 8 of Title 19) on Domestic Relations contains four specific sections on surrendering parental rights.  Specifically, these are Section 19-8-4 (surrender of parental rights generally), Section 19-8-5 (surrender for adoption by third party), Section 19-8-6 (surrender for stepparent adoptions), and Section 19-8-7 (surrender for relative adoptions).  Each of these Code sections impose slightly different requirements.  It is true that adoption laws are to be strictly construed, but it is also true that a slight variation won’t be fatal to an adoption.

Code Section 19-8-4, addressing surrenders of rights in nonspecialized situations, says specifically at subsection (g) that “[w]henever the legal mother surrenders her parental rights pursuant to this Code section, she shall execute an affidavit meeting the requirements of subsection (h) of Code Section 19-8-26”.

A quick reference to the Code Section mentioned, and subsection (h), specifically, lists the requirements for the Surrender of Rights that the legal mother has to executecute.  It requires that the Affidavit “set forth:

(A) Her name;

(B) Her relationship to the child;

(C) Her age;

(D) Her marital status;

(E) The identity and last known address of any spouse or former spouse;

(F) The identity, last known address, and relationship to the mother of the biological father of her child, provided that the mother shall have the right not to disclose the name and address of the biological father of her child should she so desire;

(G) Whether or not the biological father of the child has lived with the child, contributed to its support, provided for the mother’s support or medical care during her pregnancy or during her hospitalization for the birth of the child, or made an attempt to legitimate the child; and

(H) All financial assistance received by or promised her either directly or indirectly, from whatever source, in connection with her pregnancy, the birth of the child, or the placement or arranging for the placement of the child for adoption (including the date, amount or value, description, payor, and payee), provided that financial assistance provided directly by the mother’s husband, mother, father, sister, brother, aunt, uncle, grandfather, or grandmother need not be detailed and instead the mother need only state the nature of the assistance received;”

The Code Section goes on to list the form for a Surrender of Rights.  It inquires into the Native American or military heritage of the father, his address information as best as can be determined by the mother, and other information, and it must be notarized.  A sterilized version of the surrender of rights form that I have used in the past is below.  This form has not been checked against the statutory language provided in the current Code section, so it is only accurate as of 2007.

-BIOLOGICAL MOTHER’S AFFIDAVIT-

NOTICE TO BIOLOGICAL MOTHER:

This is an important legal document which deals with your child’s right to have its father’s rights properly determined. If you decline to disclose the name and address of the biological father of your child, understand that you may be required to appear in court to explain your refusal and that your name may be used in connection with the publication of notice to the biological father. Understand that you are providing this affidavit under oath and that the information provided will be held in strict confidence and will be used only in connection with the adoption of your child.

STATE OF GEORGIA

COUNTY OF XXXXX

Personally appeared before me, the undersigned officer duly authorized to administer oaths, _______________________________, who, after having been sworn, deposes and says as follows:

That my name is XXXXXX.

That I am the mother of a male child born XXXXXXXX in the State of _______________________, County of ____________________________ on  September X, XXXX;

That I am ______ years of age, having been born in the State of __________________________, County of ___________________ on ____________. That my social security account number is ________________.

That my marital status at the time of the conception of my child was (check the status and complete the appropriate information):

( ) Divorced; the name of my previous spouse is _____________________________; we were married in the State of ______________________, County of ____________________, on ____________________; his last known address is __________________________________________________; divorce granted in the State of _________________________, County of ____________________, on _______________________.

( ) Legally married; the name of my spouse was ________________________________; we were married in the State of _______________________, County of ____________________________ on __________________; and his last known address is ________________________________.

That my name and marital status at the time of the birth of my child was (check the status and complete the appropriate information):

Name: ______________________________

() Single, never having been married.

() Separated, but not legally divorced; the name of my spouse was  _________________________; his last known address is ____________________________________________________________; we were married in the State of __________________________ County of ___________________________ on ____________________; we have been separated since ___________________________; we last had sexual relations on ______________________.

() Divorced; the name of my former spouse is _____________________________; we were married in the State of ______________________, County of ____________________, on ____________________; his last known address is __________________________________________________; divorce granted in the State of _________________________, County of ____________________, on _______________________. () Legally Married; the name of my spouse (was) (is) ___; we were married in the State of ___, County of ___ on _____ on _____; and his last known address is ___.

( ) Married through common-law relationship prior to January 1, 1997; the name of my spouse was ________________________________; his last known address is ___________________________________________________; our relationship began in the State of ___________________________, County of ________________________ on ______________________.

( ) Widowed; the name of my deceased spouse was ______________________________; we were married in the State of ___________________________, County of ________________________ on ______________________, and he died on ______________ in the County of ______________________, State of ___________________________.

That the name of the biological father of my child is (complete appropriate response):

Known to me and is ___________________________________;

That the last known address of the biological father of my child is (complete appropriate response):

Unknown to me because __________________________________________________________________.

That, to the best of my knowledge, I am not of American Indian heritage.

That to the best of my knowledge, the biological father is not of American Indian heritage.

That the date of birth of the biological father was ______________________ (or is not known to me).

That the biological father is not on active duty in a branch of the United States armed forces

That the biological father of my child, whether or not identified herein (strike each inappropriate phrase):
(Was) (Was not) married to me at the time this child was conceived;
(Was) (Was not) married to me at any time during my pregnancy with this child;
(Was) (Was not) married to me at the time that this child was born;
(Did) (Did not) marry me after the child was born and recognize the child as his own;
(Has) (Has not) been determined to be the child’s father by a final paternity order of a court;
(Has) (Has not) legitimated the child by a final court order;
(Has) (Has not) lived with the child;

(Has) (Has not) contributed to its support;

(Has) (Has not) provided for my support during my pregnancy or hospitalization for the birth of the child;

(Has) (Has not) provided for my medical care during my pregnancy or hospitalization for the birth of the child; and (Has) (Has not) made any attempt to legitimate the child.

That I have received or been promised the following financial assistance, either directly or indirectly, from whatever source, in connection with my pregnancy, the birth of my child, and its placement for adoption: ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________.

That I recognize that if I knowingly and willfully make a false statement in this affidavit, I will be guilty of the crime of false swearing.

The Surrender of Rights also has to be acknowledged by the mother, to assure future reviewing Courts that she voluntarily chose to do this, and that she knew what she was doing.

A Surrender of Parental Rights is not the only step required by the Code Section for a biological mother to execute to give up custody of her child.  Under Section 19-8-4(g) of the Official Code of Georgia, the biological mother must also execute an Acknowledgment of her surrender, to provide a higher level of awareness to her of the serious and powerful effect of her actions.  That Code subsection provides as follows:

“(g) Whenever the legal mother surrenders her parental rights pursuant to this Code section, she shall execute an affidavit meeting the requirements of subsection (h) of Code Section 19-8-26.”

As you see, that Code Section sends the reader/practitioner to a different Code section for reference, directing that the person execute an acknowledgment of their surrender.

The following is the affidavit required by that Code subsection.

 ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF SURRENDER OF RIGHTS

By execution of this paragraph, the undersigned expressly acknowledges:

 (A) That I have read the accompanying SURRENDER OF RIGHTS/FINALRELEASE FOR ADOPTION relating to said minor child born XXXXXXXXXX, a (fe)male on XXXX XX, XXXX;

(B)       That I understand that this is a full, final, and complete surrender, release, and termination of all of my rights to the child;

(C)       That I have the unconditional right to revoke the surrender by giving written notice, delivered in person or mailed by registered mail or statutory overnight delivery, to ( insert name and address of each person or entity to whom surrender is made ) not later than ten days from the date of the surrender and that after such ten-day period I shall have no right to revoke the surrender;

(D)      That the ten days shall be counted consecutively beginning with the day immediately following the date the surrender is executed; however, if the tenth day falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday then the last day on which the surrender may be withdrawn shall be the next day that is not a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday;

(E)       That I have read the accompanying surrender and received a copy thereof;

(F)       That any and all questions regarding the effect of said surrender and its provisions have been satisfactorily explained to me;

(G)      That I have been afforded an opportunity to consult with counsel of my choice prior to execution of the surrender; and

(H)      That the surrender of my rights has been knowingly, intentionally, freely, and voluntarily made by me.

Witness my hand and seal this XXth day of XXXXXX, 2012.

It must be signed, witnessed, and notarized.

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