A relative adoption, or Kinship adoption, in Florida involves an adoption by a grandparent, uncle, aunt, or sibling. Florida law has created expedited and simplified procedures for adoptions by relatives. The procedure is similar to a stepparent adoption. The adoption procedure is governed by Chapter 63 of the Florida Statutes.
Sometimes, for whatever reason, a child’s biological parents are not the best parents for the child or are not available to actively be the child’s parents. Fortunately, the child’s family members can step in and adopt the child. The adoption grants the family members full legal parental rights.
For example, sometimes the child will already be attached to his or her extended family while the child’s relationship with his parents is interrupted by death or some other situation where the parents can no longer take care of the child.
How Much Does It Cost?
A relative adoption can be economical. While you will still have to pay attorneys fees, generally you will qualify for the adoption tax credit, which can reduce your income tax by the amount of your adoption expenses.
Does the current parent have to agree to the relative adoption?
Not necessarily. An adoption by grandparents or other relatives is certainly easier when the current parent agrees, but Florida law may allow such an adoption even when the current parent contests it or merely refuses to sign a consent. These exceptions are generally based on the parent emotionally or financially abandoning the child or otherwise being unfit to be a parent.
How long will the adoption process take?
If the current parent consents, just 1-2 months. Most of that time is waiting to schedule a hearing with the judge assigned to the relative adoption case. In a relative adoption, the order to terminate the current parent’s rights does not have to be done beforehand, so the entire process (the termination plus the adoption) can be done in one proceeding.
Do relative adoptions need a home study?
Generally no. In Florida, most regular adoptions require a home study. However, adoptions by grandparents and other relatives do not. This exception to the normal home study requirement is the primary way that Florida law makes it easier for people to adopt their relatives.
For whatever reason, Orlando and Florida are home to many grandparents that are raising their grandchildren. Sometimes they find themselves helping out temporarily, while sometimes what they thought was temporary has turned into a several years. Regardless of how you came to be raising your grandchildren, to secure the most permanent custody, you should complete a grandparent adoption.
Florida has expedited procedures to make it easier for grandparents to adopt their grandchildren. Nevertheless, the process will only be quick if the child’s current parents consent to the adoption. Still, the parental consent to the adoption may ultimately not required, as Florida law generally allows Courts to terminate parental rights even without consent when the parents abandon their child emotionally or financially. Keep in mind, however, that showing this kind of abandonment is difficult: Florida law generally protects a parent’s right to raise his or her child.
Finally, keep in mind that nobody is too old to adopt. In fact, grandparent adoptions are one of the most common types of adoptions in Florida. Every child deserves to have loving parents, and sometimes you need to be those parents for your grandchildren.
If you are interested in a grandparent or relative adoption, give us a call. We do not charge for the initial consultation.