Brandon Stepparent Adoption Attorney
When a man or woman marries someone who already has kids, and the other parent is not involved in their lives, the new spouse may wish to adopt the children and raise them as their own. This is called stepparent adoption and it legalizes the relationship the person has with the child. Through the adoption process, A stepparent is given all the rights and responsibilities of a biological parent. An adoption makes the relationship valid.
The Adoption Process
In Florida, to adopt a child as a stepparent, it must first be determined if the stepparent is eligible to adopt. The two main criteria are:
- The stepparent can be an effective parent.
- The stepparent is married to a legal parent of the child.
The next steps include the following:
- Consent. If the child’s other biological parent is still alive, they will need to give consent to the stepparent adoption. If the parent objects, you will need to work with an attorney. Under Florida law, consent can be waived if the parent has abandoned the child, has had their rights terminated, or has been deemed incompetent. It may also be necessary for the child to consent as well, especially if they are at least 12 years old.
- Filing of the adoption petition. In Florida, a Petition for Stepparent Adoption serves as the formal request for the court to grant parental rights to the stepparent. Filing this document opens the case.
- Schedule a hearing. After you file the petition, you’ll find out which judge is assigned to your case. Schedule a hearing with the judge.
- Attend the hearing. The hearing is usually very short, taking no longer than 10 minutes. The judge will ensure that proper procedures were followed and that everyone wants the adoption. The adoption will then be finalized and the stepparent will have full legal rights to the child.
- Get a new birth certificate. The new birth certificate will show the stepparent as the child’s legal parent.
What Else to Know
The stepparent adoption process takes a few months if there are no issues. If someone contests the adoption, then it could take longer to resolve the issues.
If the absent parent does not consent to the stepparent adoption, then it may be possible to terminate their parental rights. Under Florida law, termination of parental rights is allowed if the parent:
- Has been declared incompetent.
- Abandoned the child.
If the parent cannot be located, you will need to take the steps to try to locate them. Typically, this means publishing a legal notice in a local newspaper. Your lawyer can guide you through this process.
Contact a Brandon Adoption Attorney Today
Adopting a stepchild can be an exciting process, but there are some procedures that must be followed.
If you just got married and want to adopt your spouse’s child, Brandon stepparent adoption attorney Stephanie Koether from Koether Law, P.A. can help. We can guide you through the process for stepparent adoption and ensure everything goes smoothly. Schedule a consultation with our office today.