Articles Posted in Adoption

In 2009, a 14 year old girl was raped in Massachusetts and became pregnant.  Her attacker, Jaime Melendez, pled guilty to rape charges and was sentenced to 16 years probation.  He was also brought into family court and ordered to pay $110 per week in child support, according to a paper published by the American Bar Association.  It was bad enough that the sentence was only 16 years probation.  Later, Melendez sued the victim in order to have visitation with the victim’s child since his parental rights were still intact.  Melendez felt that if he was going to pay child support, he should be allowed to spend time with the child.

parental rightsMany states have laws that restrict the rights of a father that produces children as a result of a sexual assault.  Of these states, nearly none terminate the rights of the rapist outright without the victim making some sort of effort.  Parental Rights termination is something that should be considered carefully, but this is probably an instance where termination of parental rights should be simple and easy to accomplish.

There is a list of things under Florida law that can result in termination of parental rights.  Chapter 39 authorizes the termination of parental rights if clear and convincing evidence shows that the child was conceived as a result of a sexual battery.  See F.S. 39.806.  According to Florida law, “[i]t is presumed that termination of parental rights is in the best interest of the child if the child was conceived as a result of the unlawful sexual battery.”  A conviction, or a guilty plea being entered, is enough proof to satisfy the statute.  Having to share parental rights with a person that violated you, only serves to continue the agony of the victim.  At the Law Office of David M. Goldman, PLLC, we have experienced Jacksonville family lawyers that can help you terminate the parental rights of your attacker, and help reclaim your peace of mind.

150502_hand-in-handI live life with the blessing of being fascinated by small, simple things.  I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am about the new seedlings that have sprouted in my garden.  It’s a very warm and fuzzy feeling, but It’s not quite like bringing a new child into the world.  If you are a parent yourself or have shared in the experience of welcoming a child to life, you know that the new addition to the family brings in an avalanche of beautiful emotion.  What you may not be aware of is that Stepparents often feel a similar sense of elation when they adopt their spouse’s children.

I’ve had the pleasure to assist many families with stepparent adoptions as a Jacksonville family lawyer.  Although in every situation that I’ve been a part of, the stepmother or stepfather has been a part of the child’s life for years, when the adoption is final, the new parent is overwhelmed with joy.  Once the adoption is final, a legal parent-child relationship is created to go along with the emotional bond that already exists.  The child even gets a new birth certificate with the stepparent’s name on it.  The court records are then sealed, as all adoptions are private matters. Continue reading

hp.12.19.12.Russiachild.jpgOn December 28, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed into law Russian Federal Law No. 186614-6, which prohibits the adoption of Russian children by U.S. citizens. This law went into effect on January 1, 2013.

Prior to traveling to Russia, The United States State Department strongly encourages families, in cooperation with their adoption service providers, to confirm that Russian authorities will process their adoptions to conclusion and provide all required documents.

It remains unclear whether Russian immigration authorities will allow adoptees to depart the country and whether families in this situation will encounter legal complications with Russian authorities. Because of the Russian Christmas Holidays, which are celebrated later than in the United States, Russian Government offices will remain closed until January 8th.

adult adoption.jpgIn my role as a family law adoption attorney in Jacksonville, Florida, I find that people often think adoption in Florida is only for families seeking an infant or other small child incapable of taking care of him or herself. Adoptions are confidential in many states and as such, hard numbers are difficult to come by, but experts say the number of adult adoptions in Florida is on the rise. Many orphaned adults eventually find a sort of family, whether through coworkers or other friends, with whom they bond. Making that bond legal makes both emotional and financial sense. Not only does it provide a feeling of family and belonging, legally being able to refer to someone as family has numerous advantages in courtrooms, hospitals, and other avenues in life. While adult adoptions are restricted in some states, adult adoptions in Florida are not restricted. If you are considering an adult adoption in Florida, contact a Florida Family Law Lawyer to see how this process can work for you.

adoption.jpegAs a Jacksonville Adoption Attorney, I am often asked whether a spouse’s new husband can adopt a child from a previous marriage. The answer is yes (in most cases). It is important to note that this will alter any prior child support obligations. Florida law stipulates that upon the adoption of a child, for whom support has been previously ordered, by someone other than the father, the liability of the father for the support of the child is terminated. In other words, a father who previously paid child support is no longer required to do so.

If you are interested in adopting a child, contact a Jacksonville Adoption Attorney today to begin the process today!

gayadoption.jpgLate last year, a Florida appeals court declared unconstitutional a 33-year-old state law that prevented gay people from adopting children. Since that decision, gay couples in Florida have quietly begun adopting children.

Prior to the ruling, social workers often did not ask about the sexual orientation of an adopting parent, which meant some gay Floridians were adopting children under the radar. However, even with this option gay couples could not obtain the same legal rights as straight couples in the same situation, such as custodial rights in the event the adoptive parent died. The court’s ruling, however, means gay couples can legally adopt and have many of the same custodial rights as straight parents.

There are many things a gay couple should consider prior to adopting a child of their own. For example, the current court ruling is relatively young and will likely be challenged in other courts or the Florida legislature. Additionally, the media may be interested in your adoption and you may find yourself with unwanted attention. If you are interested in growing your family, contact a Florida LGBT Lawyer or a Jacksonville Family Law Lawyer to discuss your options.

compassion_child.jpgAs a Jacksonville, Florida adoption attorney, people often ask me how they can adopt or take legal custody in Florida of a relative such as a grandchild, niece or nephew or sibling. There are several ways you can adopt or gain legal custody in Florida of your loved one. Some, such as a guardianship, require annual accountings to the court. There are less invasive ways to take custody of your loved one. Please contact a Florida adoption lawyer or Jacksonville child custody attorney for expert information on how to adopt your loved one.

love my rainbow family.jpg
Florida same-sex couples that want to adopt, the movement is on. The Arkansas Supreme Court recently ruled that the state’s ban on adoption and foster parenting by any person cohabiting with a sexual partner outside of marriage is a violation of the Arkansas Constitution.

As in Florida, the best interest of the child criteria was the focus. The Plaintiffs in the
Arkansas case involved:• a lesbian couple adopting a special-needs child;

• a lesbian grandmother wanting to adopt a grandchild, currently in state care;

system_failure.jpgAs a Florida Adoption Lawyer, I can tell you that adoption is one of the most rewarding areas of law in which Jacksonville family law attorneys practice. It is the one area where everyone is happy and people feel as though something very good is being done. However, there are some horror stories regarding adoption in Florida. In my role as a Jacksonville adoption lawyer, I have seen some cases where the adoption agency has not fully revealed the child’s abuse background and as such, the parents are adopting children with far more issues than relayed to them. Many times, these parents are not equipped to give these children the proper psychological counseling or medical care that the children need. As such, the children can and have ended up back in the foster care system with a failed adoption in Florida. It is imperative to utilize a Florida adoption attorney when choosing the adopt a child or children in Florida.

dilema.jpgAs a Florida adoption attorney, I represent parents who are in the process of having their parental rights terminated by the Florida Department of Children and Families. Many times, these parents do not have a say in where their child ends up or with whom. Often these children are left in the foster care system. Florida now has a new adoption statute that a Jacksonville adoption lawyer can review with you if you are a parent whose parental rights are being terminated. Under the new statute, parents facing termination of their parental rights are allowed to designate that their children be adopted into a permanent home rather than being placed in State Foster Care. Contact a Jacksonville adoption lawyer or Jacksonville dependency lawyer today for immediate assistance.

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