Charlotte H. Danciu, P.A. Attorney at Law.

The legal procedure of adoption provides the unique opportunity to change a child’s life and enrich the family that welcomes them into their home. The state of Florida has some of the best adoption laws in the country for both newborns and older children, and adoptions can be finalized in just 90 days. While Florida law is favorable to adoptive parents, it’s important to note that the biological parent’s rights to the child are protected until they voluntarily surrender those rights or fail to protect them (perhaps by abusing, abandoning, or neglecting the child).

In most adoptions, the birth parents execute a consent for adoption and relinquish their parental rights to the child forever, including their right to see the child or state preferences on their care. In open adoptions, however, the birth parents retain the right to communicate to or visit with the child, though they are relieved of their responsibilities for the child’s care or financial needs. The adoptive parents assume the same rights and responsibilities as they would have had the child been naturally born to them.

Adoption law is complicated and requires the dedication of an experienced and trusted adoption lawyer.

Who Can Adopt In Florida?

Adults who have the ability to nurture and provide for a child and who live in the state may adopt. Single adults, married couples, and same-sex couples may adopt in Florida. Additionally, stepparents can adopt a spouse’s children. It’s important for any individual considering adoption to work with an experienced family law attorney for adoption to protect their rights and prevent any complications during the legal process.

What Types Of Adoption Exist In Florida?

There are four types of adoption in Florida, each with a unique procedure. The first is an entity adoption, which is facilitated by an agency or intermediary. The adoptive parents are not eligible to finalize the adoption until 30 days after the judgment terminating parental rights or 90 days after the child has been placed in their home, whichever comes later.

A stepparent adoption involves someone adopting the biological child of their spouse. Then, there is a close relative adoption. Finally, adult adoptions are legal in the state of Florida. These three types of adoption allow for immediate finalization of the adoption. In stepparent and close relative adoptions, the adopting parent has the option to simultaneously terminate the parental rights of a biological parent. If you’re a stepparent, it’s wise to work with a knowledgeable stepparent adoption attorney to ensure you receive parental rights to your stepchildren.

Children 12 years of age or older must consent to any type of adoption. They will be interviewed before signing consent to the adoption, and the court must ensure the adoption is in the child’s best interest.

Whichever type of adoption works best for your family, you should consider consulting with an adoption law certified lawyer to safeguard your rights and prevent complications during the legal process.

What Rights Does A Biological Father Have In Florida?

An unmarried biological father must have registered his paternity with Florida’s father registry in order to have his consent to complete an adoption plan be required. This registry is required either before the filing of the petition to terminate his rights or within 30 days of receiving a Notice of Intended Adoption Plan. If the biological father is registered and locatable, he must be advised of the steps he should take to waive his legal rights to the child.

Birth fathers can sign consent for an adoption at any time after the child’s birth until the child has reached six months of age (after that age, their consent is subject to a three-day revocation period). They could also sign an irrevocable affidavit of non-paternity at any time, which would surrender their parental rights.

How Do You Finalize An Adoption?

After a child is placed with their adoptive family, the family must file a petition for adoption with the court, typically in the county where the termination of parental rights took place, within 60 days of the judgment to terminate parental rights. There will then be a hearing.

A dedicated adoption attorney here in Delray Beach, Florida, can prepare and file your petition for adoption to ensure accuracy and efficiency. At the hearing, your attorney will present the necessary testimony and evidence to the court. If all requirements of the court have been met, the judge will sign a final judgment of adoption, which awards full parental rights to the adoptive parents.

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