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NVP Family Law, LLC helps individuals and families throughout the Atlanta region with all types of legal issues affecting parents, children, and families. More specifically, the practice includes providing assistance with matters relating to step-parent adoptions, child guardianship, and the Georgia Equitable Caregiver Act. With more than 15 years of experience in family law matters, attorney Nishit Patel provides his clients compassionate support and highly effective counsel, regardless of what type of family law concern a client faces.
Nishit Patel established his own law firm to focus on providing personalized service and support to individuals facing family law issues. To ensure that no legal need goes unaddressed, Nishit handles every type of legal issue concerning families, children, and parents, including step-parent adoptions, child guardianship, and equitable caregiver matters. His extensive family law experience provides him with insightful understanding and compassion for the emotional difficulties and stress that clients experience in addressing these issues.
No matter what type of issue a client faces, Nishit takes the time to understand the client’s circumstances in detail at the beginning of representation. He identifies every concern and need of the client before discussing options and strategies for proceeding. Throughout the course of representation, he maintains close communication with the client to answer questions as they arise and provide support and reassurance.
Nishit’s substantial background enables him to help the client navigate seamlessly through any type of family law matter. He always makes certain that the client fully understands their legal rights before they make an informed decision on an issue. Whenever possible, Nishit resolves issues efficiently and effectively without needless conflict and stress. But if protecting his client’s interests requires going to court, he advocates fiercely and aggressively to safeguard the client’s interests.
Nishit is passionate about providing each client with the individualized attention and service they need and deserve. He draws on the full range of his experience to guide the client through every issue with meticulous care, providing sound advice and counsel throughout the entire process.
With remarriages increasingly common, today’s families often include children from a previous marriage of one or both spouses. Sometimes, a step-parent wishes to adopt a spouse’s child, to strengthen the relationship and the bond between the parent and child, as well as obtain full legal parental rights. A specific detailed Georgia statute governs step-parent adoptions in the state.
Generally, a step-parent may petition or apply to adopt a child if the non-spouse biological parent’s rights have been legally terminated and the custodial parent consents. A termination of parental rights can be voluntary or involuntary. If the child’s non-custodial parent does not want to relinquish their rights, the court can decide whether termination would be in the child’s best interests.
The step-parent adoption process depends substantially on the individual facts in the case. Under Georgia laws, some step-parent adoptions can be less complicated than other adoptions, but complex legal issues often do arise in a step-parent adoption. Some cases require collecting and presenting specific evidence to the court in order to support the adoption request. Getting assistance from an experienced step-parent adoption lawyer is advisable before you decide to move forward.
Under Georgia child guardianship laws, a person who has physical custody of a child may file for temporary guardianship of the child. Only a court order can vest guardianship of a child. A parent’s consent, even if written, is not sufficient to transfer responsibility of a child to another person.
If the court grants a guardianship request, the guardian has the same authority over the child as a parent. The guardian makes decisions on education, medical needs, residence, and other important decisions relating to the child. Georgia laws impose extensive responsibilities on the guardian of a minor child. A temporary guardianship remains in effect until it terminates naturally (such as the child reaching the age of 18) or the court issues an order terminating the guardianship.
Biological parents have the right to object to appointment of a temporary guardian for a child, or ask the court to dissolve the guardianship. If that happens, the court will make appropriate determinations, holding a hearing if necessary, regarding appointment or dismissal of the guardian.
Due to the complexity of the laws that apply, getting help from a knowledgeable attorney is strongly recommended, if you wish to apply for guardianship of a child or are a parent facing a guardianship petition from another person.
In 2019, Georgia put a law in place called the Equitable Care Act. Under the law, a person who has taken care of a child in a competent and consistent manner can apply for custody of the child. The new statute may provide an option for a non-parent — and even an unrelated person — to obtain legal custody of a child if they are the caregiver.
The law establishes strict criteria that must be met for a person to qualify as the caregiver of a child. If those requirements are met, the caregiver must demonstrate that they meet specific additional criteria and that the child would suffer physically or psychologically if the caregiver no longer took care of them. As in custody cases involving a child’s parents, the court’s primary concern will be the best interests of the child.
The judge is not required to approve a petition from an equitable caregiver. Courts are still often inclined to favor a child’s biological parents, especially if a parent opposes a petition of another person under the Equitable Caregiver Act. In addition, a child’s biological parents retain their legal rights even if the court recognizes an equitable caregiver.
The newness and complexity of the caregiver law make it extremely important to talk with a knowledgeable lawyer before you decide to pursue a petition under the Equitable Caregiver Act.
To talk with Nishit Patel about a step-parent adoption, child guardianship, or a matter relating to the Equitable Caregiver Act, please call (404) 333-8682 or use the online contact form. NVP Family Law provides legal services throughout the Atlanta region.