Navigating a Stepparent Adoption
Get a Panama City Family Lawyer to Guide You Through
Florida has set up adoption laws in order to protect the child, the birth parents, and the adoptive parents throughout the proceedings. Adoption is an extremely delicate matter, as the child's future and well-being are on the line. The state of Florida recognizes numerous types, including: close relatives adoptions, private adoptions, and stepparent adoptions.
Even cases were a stepparent wants to adopt, the process can be challenging. As a stepparent, when you adopt your spouse's child, it will make you their new legal parent. This essentially requires their other birth parent to give up, or have their rights stripped from them.
Have questions? Schedule a case review with an adoption lawyer in Panama City by calling us at (800) 822-5170!
When Can a Stepparent Adopt?
The state of Florida wants to be sure that the child will be well looked after, which is why they follow a strict approval process. You will need to have strong moral standing, a clean or respectable record, and financial, emotional, and physical capacity to care for the child.
Typically, stepparent adoptions will occur because one of the following reasons:
- Birth parent has passed away
- Parent's location is unknown
- The child has been abandoned
- The parent agrees to give up their rights
However, stepparents must be aware that if the biological parent is paying support, and has an established relationship with the child, stepparents will not be able to adopt without the consent of the biological parent. Often it can be very emotional for a biological parent to give up their rights, making it important that they are either willing or the court sees a reason to take away their parental rights.
Ending Parental Rights
Florida will not recognize an adoption until the stepparent can prove that is in the child's best interest to end the relationship with the other biological parent. The biological parent can consent to give up the child for adoption, or the court may see a need to place the child in the custody of another adult.
If the court finalizes the judgement terminating the biological parent's rights to the child, the stepparents are then capable of proceeding with the adoption. The stepparent can also take action by getting legal aid that could simultaneously end the biological parent's rights and finalize an adoption. If the child is 12 or older, then the court may require their consent for the adoption to take place as well.
Call for Help with Your Adoption
The adoption process can be exhausting and confusing. As Panama City family lawyers, we strongly recommend that you reach out to our office and let us help you sort through the adoption proceedings. When a child's future is on the line you cannot afford take any chances.
Contact us today and we will get started with an initial case evaluation.