Families come together in many different ways. Sometimes, stepparents want to adopt a child in order to legalize a parent/child relationship that already exists. Our firm specializes provides private adoption services, all across the state of Florida, and are happy to help you pursue a stepparent adoption.
In order to begin a step-parent adoption, the mother of the child must consent to the adoption. You’ll also need the consent of the father if one of the following is true:
- The couple was married when the baby was born or conceived
- The father has already adopted the child
- The father has been determined to be the father by the ruling of the court
- The father has filed an affidavit of paternity
- If unmarried, the father has acknowledged his paternity in writing and filed the acknowledgment with the Office of Vital Statistics.
In addition to the parent’s consent, if the child is over the age of 12, then you’ll need their consent too.
Situations without Consent:
There are certain times when a birth parent’s consent is not needed. The court can waive a birth parent’s consent if the parent has abandoned or deserted the child. They can also waive consent if the parents have had their parental rights terminated and/or have been declared incompetent with restoration being medically unlikely. Other situations where consent is not needed include:
- If the parent unreasonably withholds consent
- If the parent has abandoned the child
- If the parent has been served with a petition to terminate his or her parental rights but does not appear at the court proceeding
- If the parent has voluntarily terminated their parental rights by surrender
- If the parent has engaged in conduct that endangers the child safety, life, or well being.
How does step-parent adoption work?
A stepparent adoption begins with the petition for stepparent adoption. The court will then need to terminate the rights of the child’s biological parent that is not married to the stepparent seeking to adopt. The court will do this either voluntarily, if the other biological parent signed a consent, or involuntarily by waiving the consent based on the factors above.
Once the other biological parent’s rights are terminated, the court can then finalize the adoption. The time it takes to finalize a stepparent adoption is largely dependent on whether the case is contested or uncontested. If the other biological parent signs a consent, the case can finalize more quickly. If the case becomes contested, or a biological parent needs to be located, it will take longer to reach finalization.
There are many adoption agencies in Florida that can assist you with a step-parent adoption. Madonna Finney specializes in adoption law and has worked with hundreds of families just like yours. We would be happy to help you with your step-parent adoption needs. We can be reached at (850) 577-3077.