Stepparent Adoption in Florida

Stepparent adoption can be a very happy time for a family. In many instances, it is about bringing a family together. The process for executing a stepparent adoption, however, can be difficult and a lot harder than one would anticipate.

Despite the old adage that "it takes a village to raise a child," a child cannot have more than one set of parents under Florida law. Thus, stepparent adoption involves not only the new stepparent acknowledging a child as his or her own, but it also involves the child's biological parent terminating his or her parental rights to the child.

Lawyer for Stepparent Adoption in Fort Lauderdale, FL

Considering that adoption is such an important and permanent process, having an experienced family law attorney will be invaluable. If you or someone you know is attempting to adopt their stepchild but is unsure about how to complete or begin the process, then speak with the experienced family law attorneys at Bacchus & Navarro Law Group.

We are compassionate but diligent legal counselors who are dedicated to providing valuable and individualized legal services for their clients. 

Our office is conveniently located at 401 E. Las Olas Blvd. in Ft. Lauderdale, just minutes from Broward County Central Courthouse and we have taken cases in Miami, West Palm Beach, LaBelle, and East Naples, Florida.

Contact our office at (954) 500-5555 for a free no-obligations consultation.


Overview of Stepparent Adoption in Broward County


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The Process for Stepparent Adoption in Florida

All adoptions in Florida are governed by Chapter 63 of the Florida Statutes. When a stepparent wants to adopt their spouse's child, then they both need to sign the petition for adoption. The Petition for Stepparent Adoption is a formal request to the court to adopt a child. Included with the petition, the adopting parents must include the following:

  • Consent forms executed by the birth parent;
  • If any person whose consent is required is deceased, then a certified copy of the death certificate;
  • Consent form executed by the minor child or children if the child is over twelve (12) years old;
  • A certified copy of the child's birth certificate;
  • Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) Affidavit; and
  • If applicable, a Motion for Search of the Putative Father Registry.

Once the forms are filed and completed, then the court will set a hearing. If the adoption is granted, then new birth certificates need to be finalized. 


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Consent to Adoption

Consent is the first step in a stepparent adoption or any other adoption in Florida. The biological parent must consent to the adoption.

Consent would accompany a termination of that biological parent's parental rights. Such a decision means that the once the biological parent relinquishes his or her parental rights, then they no longer have a voice in any affairs regarding the minor child.

If the biological parent objects, then it will be best to speak with an experienced family law attorney to discuss the options for challenging the biological parent's objection unless the court waives the consent requirement.

Under Florida Statute § 63.064, consent can sometimes be waived. Consent can be waived under the following circumstances:

  • A parent's parental rights have been terminated by a court order;
  • A parent has abandoned a child without means of identification;
  • A parent has been judicially declared incompetent and for whom restoration of competency is medically improbable;
  • A legal guardian or lawful custodian of the person to be adopted, other than a parent, who has failed to respond in writing to a request for consent for a sixty (60) days or who, after examination of his or her written reasons for withholding consent, is found by the court to be withholding his other consent unreasonably;
  • The spouse of the person to be adopted, if the failure of the spouse to consent to the adoption is excused because of prolonged and unexplained absence, unavailability, incapacity, or circumstances that are found by the court to constitute an unreasonable withholding of consent.

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Additional Resources

Chapter 63 of the Florida Statutes – Visit Online Sunshine, the official website of the Florida Legislature for the full statutory chapter on adoption in Florida. The Statute is dense but includes all the information about terminating parental rights, who may adopt, and objecting adoption in Florida.

Florida Courts Step Parent Adoption Form –Visit the official website of the Florida Courts for the necessary forms and instructions regarding filing for adoption in Florida. Form 12.981(b)(1) is the form used for stepparent adoption, and it includes the required affidavits and instructions for pro se litigants.


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Lawyer for Stepparent Adoption in Broward County, FL

Adoption, while considered a happy time for both the adoptive parents and the child, can be stressful if not all of the parties consent or if the process for determining whether the stepparent is fit becomes lengthy.

Speaking with the experienced family law attorneys at Bacchus & Navarro Law Group can help. Our lawyers are experienced family law professionals dedicated to getting families the closure that they need during emotional family matters.

Having provided counsel to numerous clients throughout the Greater Miami-metropolitan area, we take cases in Miami-Dade County, Broward County, Collier County, and Palm Beach County, Florida.

Our office is conveniently located at 401 E. Las Olas Blvd. in Ft. Lauderdale, just minutes from Broward County Central Courthouse and we have taken cases in Fort Lauderdale, Miami, West Palm Beach, LaBelle, and East Naples, Florida.

Contact our office at (954) 500-5555 for a free no-obligations consultation.

This Article Was Last Updated on Thursday, June 1, 2017.

 


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