– Florida Adoption –
The Eric Boles Law Firm in Tampa represents birth parents and adoptive parents in adoption and guardianship proceedings
Are you considering building your family through adoption? Are you pregnant and considering an adoption plan.
The Eric Boles Law Firm in Tampa, Florida has represented birth parents and adoptive parents in all types of adoption and guardianship proceedings including infant adoptions, stepparent adoptions, legal custodian adoptions, grandparent adoptions, and interstate adoptions. Before an Adoption can be validated, a court must determine that the adoption is in the best interests of the kid.
An adoption establishes a legal parent-child relationship between the adoptee and the adoptive parents. This legal relationship is identical to the legal biological parent-child relationship. Florida law authorizes adoptions for all persons, minors and adults.
Adoption is a serious matter for all concerned. It determines the entire future of the child because it permanently severs ties with birth parents and relatives and transfers the child into a new family where he or she will remain permanently
To the birth parents, adoption usually means relinquishing the child forever without the privilege of seeing the child or being otherwise involved in the child’s life. However, in some types of adoptions, called open adoption, birth parents retain the right to communicate or visit the child. Additionally, the birth parents are permanently relieved of all responsibilities of the child’s care and financial needs. To the adoptive parents, adoption means providing for and undertaking the care of a child to whom they will have the same obligations to as a child naturally born to them
Any minor (a person under 18 years) present within the state when the petition for adoption is filed may be adopted. Sibling groups may also be adopted together
A successful adoption is a joyful moment for all the parties involved. Any individual or couple considering adoption should be aware that some adoptions develop complications and they should fully educate themselves on the potential problems and pitfalls. Florida’s current adoption law balances the interests of all parties, the biological parents, the adoptee and the adoptive parents. However, the biological parent’s rights are primary until that parent voluntarily surrenders their rights or fails to act to protect their rights under Florida Law.
Adoption Matters in Florida
A court presiding over any Florida Adoption must receive proof that facts exist to terminate the biological relationship forever. An unmarried biological father must register his paternity prior to the filing of a petition to terminate his rights or within 30 days of service of a Notice of Intended Adoption Plan. The adoption entity involved with the placement is required to serve a known and locatable unmarried biological father with a Notice of Intended Adoption plan that advises him of Florida’s Putative Father Registry and the steps he must take to avoid a default and waiver of any claim of rights to the child.
Consent for adoption is only valid and binding when executed pursuant to the specific requirements of Florida Law. When a child under the age of six months is placed for adoption, the biological mother may not sign her consent for adoption until forty-eight hours after the child’s birth or on her date of discharge from the hospital or birth center which ever time is earlier. In these circumstances, a birth father may sign consent for adoption at any time after the child’s birth. Additionally, a legal or biological father may sign an irrevocable Affidavit of Non-paternity at any time, before or after the child’s birth, relinquishing parental rights.
When a child is six months of age or older, the mother and father may sign the consent at any time and their consent is subject to a revocation period of 3 business days. In either case, once the consents are signed with witnesses and notary, and the revocation period has passed if the child is six months or older, only the court presiding over the adoption can overturn the consents upon a finding that the consents were taken by fraud or duress.
After a court issues a judgment terminating the biological parent-child relationship, the time frame for completing the adoption differs. In the case of an entity adoption, the adoptive parents are not eligible to finalize their adoption until 30 days after the judgment terminating parental rights or 90 days after placement of the child in their home, which ever event occurs later.
Types of adoptions in Florida
Four types of adoptions exist in Florida and each type of adoption has unique procedure:
- Entity adoption (an agency or intermediary facilitated adoption) – When pursuing the entity adoption, prospective adoptive parents must decide whether to pursue their adoption through an agency or an attorney (“intermediary”). Prospective Adoptive Parents should only choose an adoption entity that instills in them a significant level of trust. They should fully research the entity’s credentials, obtain references and recommendations and fully understand the procedures and costs. The same law applies to both the agency and the attorney/intermediary adoption.
- Step-parent, close relative and adult adoption – In the step-parent, close relative and adult adoption, the adoptive parents are eligible to immediately finalize their adoption. Additionally, in stepparent and close relative adoptions, the adopting parent(s) have the option of proceeding in a unified legal process in which the order finalizing the adoption also simultaneously terminates parental rights. A unified proceeding is typical for adult adoptions. Step-parent adoptions are common when one biological parent is willing to give up their parental rights to that step-parent. After adoption, the step-parent has all rights and responsibilities of the biological parent. In step-parent adoptions, as with all other adoptions, if the child is twelve years of age or older, he or she must give his/her consent to the adoption and must be interviewed prior to signing the consent.
The adoption process is complicated; thus it is very important to consult an attorney when contemplating any type of adoption.
Contact a Florida Adoption Lawyer experienced in Private Adoptions
It does not matter how ready you believe you are for your adoption process; you should always have a knowledgeable Adoption Attorney to aid you in the adoption process. The Eric Boles Law Firm in Tampa, Florida are very acquainted with this adoption court proceeding and can help your adoption move through it fluidly. For a free consultation with a Family Lawyer knowledgeable on adoptions, contact the Eric Boles Law Firm by completing the contact form (click here) or do not hesitate to call (813) 933-7700.