Adoption and Child Custody in Georgia
The Supreme Court recently decided a custody case involving adoptive parents. In Hastings v. Hastings, S12F0873, the Husband was the biological father to both of the children at issue in the case. However, the Wife was the biological mother of one child and the adoptive mother of the other child. The Wife adopted the child just after the child’s birth (the biological mother was an ex-girlfriend of the Husband). The Trial Court heard the issues of child support and child custody, and found that the Wife should have primary custody of both children and denied a request to split the children up, finding that this would cause them emotional harm. The Husband filed an appeal on the Court’s ruling, challenging the Court’s giving the Wife primary custody of the adoptive child.
The Supreme Court denied the appeal, holding that, again, the Court must consider the best interests of the child when determining custody. The Supreme Court further stated that the Wife’s adoption “creates the relationship of parent and child...as if the adopted individual were a child of biological issue...” in accordance with O.C.G.A. § 19-8-19(a)(2).
This case illustrates that the Court considers first and foremost the best interests of the child when determining custody, and the importance they place on an adoptive relationship. If you have questions regarding your custody case, contact one of our experienced family law attorneys.
By Elizabeth Doak, Associate, Meriwether & Tharp, LLC