The adoption of a child in need of a permanent home can be a wonderful way to grow a family. However, before a family can reach this final step, they must navigate the lengthy legal process of adoption.
There are several important factors that a family in Palm Beach County must understand to successfully finalize an adoption. West Palm Beach adoption lawyer Charles D. Jamieson could help prospective parents navigate the legal system and ensure that they complete all of the necessary requirements. To discuss adoption with a knowledgeable family law attorney, reach out today.
Termination of Biological Parent Rights
Adoptive parents do not have the right to adopt a child until a court terminates the biological parents’ rights. In many adoptions, the biological parents are willing to give up those rights for their own reasons, often because they feel that it is the best option for the child. In other cases, the biological parents might involuntarily lose their parental rights.
Courts provide protections for unmarried fathers, who are entitled to notice of the birth and adoption of their biological children. If the biological father complies with relevant laws, including the Florida Putative Father Registry, the court must involuntarily terminate those rights or the father must consent. Florida Statutes 39.806 states the reasons why a court can terminate a parent’s rights.
In West Palm Beach, a skilled attorney can explain the steps needed to terminate biological parents’ rights to complete an adoption. In most cases, the termination will take place at the same hearing as the adoption.
Who Can Adopt in Palm Beach County
Florida permits married couples, including same-sex couples, to adopt children, as well as single adults. Step-parents may qualify for an expedited adoption process in some cases and might be able to adopt even without the non-custodial biological parent’s consent.
In many cases, adoptive parents are family members other than the birth parents. Grandparents and other blood relatives serving as caregivers may want to gain legal rights as a parent. Such cases frequently occur when the biological parents are incapable of providing a stable or safe environment.
By gaining parental rights, the grandparent or other family member can provide health benefits for the children and enroll them in school. A Palm Beach County attorney could help families with this process and explain the possibility of an expedited adoption for family members.
Open and Closed Adoptions
Open adoptions allow biological parents to be involved in the child’s life and share information with the adoptive family. Some families choose this format because they feel it is beneficial for the child.
Closed adoptions are those in which contact with the biological parents ends after the adoption process. Deciding the right form of adoption depends on specific facts and family dynamics.
Parents seeking to adopt a child should consider the type of arrangement that will work best for their particular situation. A West Palm Beach lawyer can provide more information about the benefits and disadvantages of open and closed adoptions.
Finalizing an Adoption
The finalization of the adoption in Palm Beach County occurs at the adoption hearing. The Judge or the clerk of Court typically swears in the adoptive parent or parents, and the judge asks some questions regarding how they will provide for the child. At the end of that process, the judge will sign the decree, and the adoptive parents will have all legal rights as the parents of the child.
Adoptive parents will then be able to obtain an amended birth certificate for the child, as well as a social security card.
Let a Palm Beach County Adoption Attorney Guide You Through the Legal Process
Completing an adoption is one of the most exciting events for a family, but the process can be stressful. A West Palm Beach adoption attorney could be your experienced advocate and address any issues or concerns as they arise. Call The Law Firm of Charles D. Jamieson, P.A. to set up an initial consultation and learn more about your next steps in this important process.