Tallahassee Stepparent Adoption Lawyers
Helping Stepparents and Stepchildren Cement Bonds
For many stepparents, adopting a stepchild is a monumental moment, signifying the bond they have with their child. However, adoptions are legally complex. If you're a stepparent, it can be difficult to know where to start if you want to adopt a stepchild in Florida.
At The Virga Law Firm, P.A., our Tallahassee adoption attorneys can help you understand stepparent adoption laws more thoroughly and identify the best way to adopt a stepchild in Tallahassee.
To schedule a consultation with our team, contact us online or via phone at (850) 307-5211.
How Does Stepparent Adoption Work in Tallahassee?
The stepparent adoption process in Florida is relatively simple. Stepparent adoptions in Florida involve several steps:
- The petition for adoption. First, the stepparent and biological parent who wish to finalize the adoption must file a petition for stepparent adoption with the court. The petition includes information relevant to the case, like the child's birth date and age, their name, how long the stepparent has been involved in their life, and why the parents agree the adoption should be legalized.
- After filing the petition, a third party (like a law enforcement officer) will serve the child's other biological parent with a notice of the petition. At this point, the other parent has the opportunity to oppose the adoption.
- If the other parent opposes the adoption, both parties must appear in court, either self-represented or with an attorney. They then present their cases to the court for why the adoption should or should not occur, and the judge presiding over the case decides to accept or reject the adoption.
- If the other parent agrees to the adoption, the court will finalize it. Even if the other parent consents to the adoption, the court will hold a short hearing with all the parties (including the child) to verify the legitimacy of the adoption.
Once the adoption is finalized, the court will issue a new birth certificate for the child. If the child's name was changed, the certificate will show the new name. Otherwise, it will simply contain the stepparent's name on the certificate, making them a legal parent.
Why Would I want to Adopt my Stepchild?
Adopting a stepchild has several benefits for stepparents:
- It makes it easier to deal with a problem parent. If your stepchild's other biological parent regularly presents issues for the family, adopting your stepchild can help you minimize their influence.
- You'll have more rights. Being a legal parent gives you the right to make decisions for your stepchild, such as what kind of medical care or education they receive. If you want to be a more active participant in your stepchild's life, adoption is a great way to achieve that goal.
- It strengthens the bond with your stepchild. Many stepparents find that formally adopting their stepchild strengthens their bond. It shows your child that you care about them and see yourself, for all intents and purposes, as being their biological parent. That can be tremendously reaffirming for a child.
At The Virga Law Firm, P.A., our Tallahassee stepparent adoption lawyers help clients finalize their adoptions.
To schedule a consultation with our team or learn more about how a stepparent adoption could benefit you, contact us online or via phone at (850) 307-5211.