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Adoptions in Florida

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What Is Adoption?

Adoption is a fairly common topic these days. Most of us know someone who plans to adopt a child, or has already gone through the adoption process. It all seems very straight forward from the outside, but in reality, there are many details and processes that need to be completed for an adoption to occur, and they can be done for a variety of reasons.

Adoption in Florida

Adoption is ”the legal procedure by which a child becomes, through court action, part of a family other than that of the child’s birth parents.” The new parents then become legally responsible for the child, and the biological parents’ parental rights and responsibilities are terminated. A child is considered anyone under the age of 18. An adoption can occur for many reasons; parents who cannot have biological children who adopt a baby, a foster family who adopts one of their foster children, or a stepparent adopting their step child.

In Florida, as long as an adult has the ability to care for the child, and is found to have good character, they can adopt. This can include both married couples and single people. There are four adoption types:

  1. Entity Adoption
    1. An adoption through an entity such as an adoption agency. The agency is contacted by the prospective parents and help them to find a child to adopt.
  2. Stepparent Adoption
    1. One biological parent either gives up rights to the stepparent, or is no longer alive. The stepparent then is considered the legal parent.
  3. Close relative Adoption
    1. This can occur when a family member, such as an aunt or uncle, steps in to adopt a child when their biological parents cannot take care of them legally, either due to death or inability.
  4. Adult Adoption
    1. This type of adoption is a bit different, and does not involve children. The consent of the biological parents is not needed here, it is just required that they be notified.

Before any of these adoptions can occur, however, certain permissions are needed. If the child’s biological parents are still alive, the birth mother’s permission is always required. The Father’s rights are protected as well, however, they must first establish that they are in, in-fact and law, the father of the child.  This is done by considering the following:

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 for termination of parental rights is filed;

4. He has filed an affidavit of paternity or he is listed on the child’s birth certificate before the date a petition for termination of parental rights is filed; or

5. In the case of an unmarried biological father, he has acknowledged in writing, pursuant to the rules of the Office of Vital Statistics of the Department of Health.

What happens after adoption? Legally, it is made so that the new adoptive parents are the legal guardians. New birth certificates are created, the adopted children are included in any probate proceedings and are treated as though they are biological children in every manner.

Let Us Help You Today

If you are considering looking into adoption, you may feel overwhelmed by trying to work through all the steps on your own. Contact our Port St. Lucie adoption attorneys at Baginski Brandt & Brandt for help. Our experienced adoption attorneys can help you determine how to proceed during this time.

Resources:

flcourts.org/content/download/403297/3458116/981c1.pdf

floridabar.org/public/consumer/pamphlet002/#INTRODUCTION

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