It’s only natural that when a step parent has been a major father or mother figure in a child’s life that the subject of adoption comes up. It makes official what has already been a reality for quite awhile. How complicated is step parent adoption in Florida?
The step parent must consent to the adoption and the process is started by the step parent filing a sworn petition to adopt. A copy of any judgment terminating parental rights or consents to the adoption from the parents must be attached. If the child is over 12 years of age, a consent to the adoption may be attached.
Under Chapter 63, Florida Statutes, consent of the parent is required but the court may waive the consent of:
- A parent who has abandoned a child.
- A parent whose parental rights have been terminated by order of a court.
- A parent who has been declared judicially incompetent and for whom restoration of competency is medically improbable.
- A legal guardian or lawful custodian (not a parent) who has failed to respond in writing to a request for consent for a period of 60 days or who, after examination of his or her written reasons, is found by the court to be unreasonably withholding consent.
- The spouse of the person to be adopted if the failure to consent is excused by reason of prolonged and unexplained absence, unavailability, incapacity, or are found by the court to be unreasonably withholding consent.
After notice is provided if it is necessary, then the court will have a hearing to terminate parental rights and finalize the adoption.
Once the adoption is finalized, any child support orders will be terminated and the former parent is no longer legally entitled to make any decisions about the child or to visitation. Also remember, that the step parent would now be held responsible for child support if there was a future divorce. Keep in mind that gay spouses may adopt through a step parent adoption as well.
You need an experienced Jacksonville family lawyer to assist you with a step parent adoption to make sure all of the requirements under Florida law are met. Contact the Law Office of David M. Goldman, PLLC for a consultation.