A Florida readoption, otherwise known as Florida recognition of foreign adoption, allows you to have a Florida court recognize your adoption abroad. It is usually the last legal step on your adoption journey when adopting internationally. The readoption process is governed by Chapter 63, Fla. Stat. As a result of the readoption, your child will receive a Certificate of Foreign Birth (which functions like a domestic birth certificate).
Reasons to Do a Florida Readoption
There are three main reasons to do a readoption in Florida:
1. A readoption solidifies the parent-child relationship under Florida law. Even if the adoption laws of the country of birth change, your adoption will be unaffected once the domestication of foreign adoption is complete. For example, orphanages can be shut down, relationships between the U.S. and other countries can change. A readoption in Florida prevents those events from affecting your status with your child.
2. A readoption gives you a Florida certificate of foreign birth. An official document from Florida is more easily presentable and accepted by various organizations and institutions, such as schools and government offices. Plus, if you lose the Florida certificate, you can quickly and easily get another.
3. If your child has an IH-4 or IR-4 visa, a Florida readoption may be required to ensure your child will be a U.S. citizen.
As part of the Florida readoption process, you’ll be able to change your child’s name so that their English name is on the birth certificate.
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Is a Florida Readoption Required?
Sometimes yes, sometimes no. If your child has a IR-3 or IH-3 visa, then you do not have to readopt. However, there are still good reasons for completing a readoption, as outlined above. On the other hand, if your child has a IR4 or IH-4 visa, you must do a readoption to complete the citizenship process. Most children adopted in a foreign country have a IR-3 or IH-3 visa.
How Long does a Florida Readoption Take?
A readoption will take about one to two months from start to finish for the Court hearing. We file readoptions for our clients in Central Florida in Seminole County. However, we represent clients throughout the state. The readoption does require an in-person appearance in Seminole County for the court hearing, but everything else can be done remotely.
After the readoption hearing is complete, our office will send the required paperwork to have the state of Florida issue a Certificate of Foreign Birth.
Do you Need an Attorney for a Readoption?
No. However, keep in mind that the judge is not going to bend the rules or overlook the legal requirements for a readoption just because you are trying to do it yourself. We know that our clients have already spent a substantial amount of money in completing the foreign adoption, so we strive to make our fees affordable.
About the Author
Gideon Alper specializes in stepparent and relative adoptions for families throughout Florida.