A couple speaking with an adoption agent

Can Unmarried Couples Adopt?

Adoption is a growing method in America for beginning or growing your family. However, there can be many legal hoops you have to jump through before you are considered to be a viable adoptive parent and before your adoption becomes final. It is important to have an experienced attorney walk you through this process and answer any questions that you may have during this important time.

The first step in any adoption process is noting your eligibility to adopt. Florida Statute 63.042 provides that “a husband and wife jointly; an unmarried adult; or a married person without the other spouse” may petition to adopt a child. However, there is no specific mention of unmarried couples jointly adopting. Therefore, if you and your partner are not involved in a legally recognized marriage you may find your adoption process more difficult. With no state law specifically addressing unmarried couples discrimination may be found in both private adoption agencies and the Department of Children and Families.

As an unmarried couple wishing to adopt, you may receive a great deal of questions regarding your personal relationship and why you have chosen not to engage in marriage, the stability of your relationship, along with the regular in depth investigations that are held prior to adoptions such as home studies and interviews. Therefore, the process can become longer and more invasive than those done by married individuals.

If an agency does not wish to have an unmarried couple adopt a child, some couples decide to pursue adoption through a single partner. The single individual will proceed with the adoption process as usual and the partner will only be involved in the home visits if they live within the home. Although it may still be more difficult for a single individual to adopt, as they must overcome certain biases, it has been seen to be more likely to come to fruition than an unmarried couple jointly adopting. However, there are other methods for the second partner to become a legal parent to the child.

After the completion of an adoption by a single individual, the unmarried couple may then seek to establish parental rights for the second partner. In the case of married individuals, they would seek a step parent adoption, however, the main factor for such an adoption is the marriage aspect of the relationship. Therefore, the unmarried couple may instead pursue a second parent adoption. However, there are issues that may arise with second parent adoptions as well. They tend to be more involved, require a second home study, significant social worker involvement, and essentially a whole new adoption process. However, the successful completion would result in the legal classification of a parent to a child, and the emotional benefits for both parent and child.

It is common to be discriminated against in an adoption process if going through it as an unmarried couple. Even further, the process for unmarried couples becomes more complex, expensive, and significant legal counsel will be invaluable during this time. Therefore, employ an experienced Orlando Adoption Attorney to discuss your choice to adopt and build a family with your partner.

Speaking to an attorney at our Orlando office is free of charge, and we accept calls 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Contact us at 407-512-0887 or complete an online contact form to get in touch with a member of our team today.

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