Four types of adoptions exist in Florida: The entity adoption (an agency or intermediary-facilitated adoption), the stepparent adoption, the close relative adoption, and the adult adoption.
Stepparent adoptions remove the rights of one of the biological parents and give those rights to the stepparent. After adoption, the stepparent has all rights and responsibilities of the biological parent. If the child is 12 years of age or older, the child must consent to the adoption and must be interviewed before signing the consent. A stepparent adoption typically happens by the biological parent is signing over his or her rights to the child and giving them to the willing stepparent. On occasion, parental rights can be terminated due to abandonment, and those rights are given to the willing stepparent. It is important to note the stepparent adoption does not require a heterosexual marriage. For example, the parent losing their rights may be a male and the stepparent taking the rights may be a female. Homosexual couples are able to adopt in the state of Florida, as long as a legal marriage exists.
Who Must Consent an Adoption?
Unless the consent is excused by the court:
a. The birth mother.
b. The birth father, if:
1) The minor was conceived or born while the father was married to the mother;
2) The minor is his child by adoption;
3) The minor has been adjudicated by the court to be his child before the date a petition is filed for termination of parental rights;
4) He has filed an affidavit of paternity pursuant to s. 382.013(2)(c) or he is listed on the child’s birth certificate before the date a petition is filed for termination of parental rights; or
5) In the case of an unmarried biological father, he has acknowledged in writing, signed in the presence of a competent witness, that he is the father of the minor, has filed such acknowledgment with the Office of Vital Statistics of the Department of Health within the required timeframes, and has complied with the requirements of s. 63.062 (2).
c. The minor, if 12 years of age or older, unless, in the best interests of the minor, the court dispenses with the minor’s consent.
d. Any person lawfully entitled to custody of the minor if required by the court.
e. The court having jurisdiction to determine custody of the minor, if the person having physical custody of the minor does not have authority to consent to the adoption.
Once the Adoption is complete, the adoptive parent(s) have a full legal relationship with the child as they would have if they were the blood parent of the child.
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