Brief Fact Summary. Appellant claims she is entitled to inherit from decedent as his virtually adopted daughter, and appeals from a judgment not withstanding the verdict, that was granted on the ground that appellant’s paternal aunt had no legal authority to enter into an adoption contract with decedent.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. A legal custodian does not have the right to consent to the adoption of a child, as this right is specifically retained by a child’s parent or guardian.
The elements required to establish a virtual adoption are: Some showing of an agreement between the natural and adoptive parents, performance by the natural parents of the child in giving up custody, performance by the child by living in the home of the adoptive parents, partial performance by the foster parents in taking the child into the home and treating it as their child, and the intestacy of the foster parent.View Full Point of Law
Issue. Whether the court correctly determined that Page was without authority to contract for O’Neal’s adoption?
Held. Yes. Judgment affirmed.
Page had no authority to enter in to the adoption contract with Cook, and therefore the contract was invalid. The obligation to care and provide for appellant undertaken by Campbell, and later Page, was not a legal obligation, but rather a familial obligation resulting in a custodial relationship that is characterized as something less than that of a legal custodian. This relationship carried no authority to contract for appellant’s adoption.
Georgia Code defines “legal custodian” as a person to whom legal custody has been given by court order, and who has the right to physical custody of the child, and has the right to determine the nature of the care and treatment of the child, as well as to provide that care.
Discussion. Essential to a contract for adoption is that it be made between persons competent to contract for the disposition of the child.