Florida adoption example

Adoption Law in Florida

What Is Adoption in Florida?

An adoption is a legal process where an individual or couple becomes the legal parent(s) of a child, permanently transferring all parental rights and responsibilities from the biological parents to the adoptive parents.

This process establishes a legal parent-child relationship, providing the child with the same rights and privileges as a biological child.

The adoption statute in Florida is Chapter 63 of the Florida Statutes, which governs all aspects of the adoption process, including the requirements for adoptive parents, the rights of birth parents, the procedures for terminating parental rights, and the legal process for finalizing an adoption.

What Is an Adoption Attorney?

An adoption attorney is a legal professional who specializes in the processes and laws related to adoption. Their primary role is to help prospective adoptive parents navigate the complex legal process to ensure the adoption is completed in compliance with state and federal laws. Their services can be essential in various types of adoptions, including:

  1. Private or Independent Adoptions: This is where the birth parents and adoptive parents come to an agreement without the involvement of an adoption agency.
  2. Agency Adoptions: This involves adopting a child through licensed adoption agencies, either private or public.
  3. International Adoptions: Adopting a child from another country has its own set of complex international and domestic laws.
  4. Stepparent or Relative Adoptions: This is where a stepparent or another relative (like a grandparent) wants to legally adopt a child.
  5. Adult Adoptions: This is less common, but it involves adopting someone who is over the age of 18.
  6. Contested Adoptions: These are situations where someone opposes the adoption, such as a birth parent or other relative.

The responsibilities of an adoption attorney can include:

  • Providing legal counsel and advice related to the adoption process.
  • Drafting and reviewing adoption agreements.
  • Representing adoptive parents in court.
  • Assisting in the termination of parental rights when necessary.
  • Ensuring all legal requirements are met, such as obtaining proper consents, following waiting period regulations, and adhering to interstate or international adoption rules.
  • Handling post-adoption legal issues, if any arise.

Our experience as adoption attorneys in Florida is centered around stepparent, relative, and adult adoptions.

We help families throughout Florida.

We take care of the entire adoption process from start to finish. Start with a free phone or Zoom consultation.

Alper Law attorneys

Benefits of Adoption in Florida

Adoption provides numerous benefits, including offering a child a stable, loving, and permanent home, and granting the adoptive parents the legal rights and responsibilities of parenthood.

It also allows for the establishment of a legal parent-child relationship, providing the child with inheritance rights and access to family medical histories.

Additionally, adoption can bring emotional fulfillment to both the child and the adoptive parents by creating a forever family.

type of adoptions in florida

Types of Adoptions in Florida

There are six types of adoption in Florida:

  1. Stepparent adoption
  2. Kinship adoption
  3. Adult adoption
  4. Private adoption
  5. Recognition of foreign adoption
  6. Agency adoption

In our experience, the type of adoption depends on the person or people adopting, the person being adopted, and the relationship among them.

Stepparent Adoption

A stepparent adoption is one where a person adopts the child of his or her spouse. As a result of the stepparent adoption, the stepparent and the spouse become equal parents of the child. It becomes as if the child was born to both of them. The parental rights of the absent parent are terminated through the stepparent adoption.

Florida law allows simplified procedures for stepparent adoptions. You do not need a home study, and no separate termination of parental rights proceeding is required.

Kinship Adoption

In Florida, kinship adoption refers to an adoption by a relative within the third degree of consanguinity to the child. Typically this means a grandparent adoption or adoption by an aunt or uncle.

Florida degrees of consanguinity

Recognition of Foreign Adoption (Readoption)

Sometimes Florida residents have previously adopted a child from another country, such as China or Russia. The issue is that the birth certificate is often in a different language and is hard to replace.

A readoption allows the family to obtain a Florida-issued Certificate of Foreign Birth, which functions like and looks very similar to a Florida birth certificate.

Private Adoption

A private adoption, also called an adoption without an agency, takes place when prospective parents have matched with a woman who is pregnant and is considering an adoption plan for her child. The private adoption attorney helps the prospective parents and the birth mother complete the adoption without the overhead and fees that an agency charges.

Adult Adoption

An adult adoption is one where one adult adopts another adult. This type of adoption is common in stepparent/stepchild relationships that were not formalized when the stepchild was a minor.

The procedures for an adult adoption are even more streamlined than the procedures for a stepparent adoption.

Adoption for Gay and Lesbian Couples

Gay and lesbian couples have special considerations regarding Florida adoptions. It is important for their adoption attorney to understand their particular needs and the current political landscape.

Under current law, married same-sex couples are both presumed to be the legal parents of a child born to one of them during the marriage. They will both go on the birth certificate.

However, national gay and lesbian rights organizations still recommend that the non-biological parent formally adopt the child of their same-sex spouse in order to solidify the parental rights of the non-biological parent.

What Does an Adoption Attorney Do?

For stepparent, relative, and adult adoptions, Florida law does not require that the adoptive parents hire an adoption attorney. However, an adoption attorney helps families by speeding up the process, making sure that all court documents are prepared correctly, and answering the family’s legal questions about adoption.

The Florida Bar offers an adoption law certification for adoption attorneys in the state. The adoption board sets out several requirements that the attorney must accomplish before becoming certified, including passing a written examination and dedicating at least 40% of their practice to adoption law.

Gideon Alper

About the Author

I’m an adoption attorney who helps clients throughout Florida with stepparent, relative, and adult adoptions. I graduated with honors from Emory University Law School and have practiced law for almost 15 years.

I focus on helping families where there is already a connection between the adoptee and the adoptive parent. Before private practice, I represented the federal government while working for the IRS Office of Chief Counsel.