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Adoption is a beautiful way to grow your family, but it has financial, legal, and emotional complications. Families, couples, and individuals hoping to adopt must be prepared for many ups and downs before the adoption is final.
A Boca Raton adoption lawyer could help you navigate this process. An experienced family attorney could help you manage your expectations, quell your nerves, and work through the inevitable obstacles.
Florida Statutes 563.042 describes who is eligible to adopt. Prospective adoptees must be over 18 years of age, live in the state, be of good character, and be able to nurture a child.
Adoptive parents might work through a private adoption agency or the state child services division to find a child needing adoption. Qualifying as an adoptive parent requires completing an extensive application process that includes background checks, interviews, home studies, and training.
An adoption lawyer in Boca Raton could help prospective adoptive parents complete their application and prepare for the home study. Once parents have the approval to adopt, a legal professional could assist with the documents required for open or closed adoption, represent the parents at the necessary court hearing(s), and help them adjust their estate plan as necessary to include the adopted child.
It is illegal to discriminate against same-sex couples when considering applications to be adoptive parents. LGBTQ couples who adopt children together are both the legal parents of these children.
However, sometimes one partner already has a biological or adopted child when they enter a relationship. The couple might be raising the child together, but only one partner has legal parental rights. The other partner can establish parental rights by adopting the child.
The situation could become complicated if the child has another legal parent. That parent must surrender their rights, or a court must terminate them, in order for someone else to gain parental rights. A Boca Raton adoption attorney could review a particular situation and help parents understand their rights and options.
Blended families are common, and partners often adopt each other’s children to cement their family structure. Stepparent adoptions are simpler than other adoptions because there is no application process, home study, or waiting period.
The child’s other parent, if living, must consent to the adoption. If they do not consent, the child’s custodial parent and spouse must petition the court to terminate the other parent’s rights to the child. Courts typically do this only if there is proof the other parent is unfit or if the parent has no significant relationship with the child.
A similar situation arises if the parent and the partner who wants to adopt are not married. This scenario is called second-parent adoption. The same rules apply as in stepparent adoption—the non-parent partner can adopt their partner’s child if the child’s second parent is deceased or consents. If the parent objects, the parent and partner must petition the court to terminate the objecting parent’s rights. A Boca Raton adoption attorney could provide guidance during this process.
Adoption is exciting and transformative for families. However, it is important to have a thorough understanding of the legal ins and outs of this process before attempting it on your own. The adoption process can be complicated, and even a relatively simple stepparent adoption could pose lose legal hassles.
A Boca Raton adoption attorney has extensive experience helping families expand through adoption. Call The Law Firm of Charles D. Jamieson, P.A. to get started.