Florida Adoption: Frequently Asked Questions
At the Law Offices of Tinley M. Rudd, Esq., we have extensive experience in intra-family adoptions involving grandparents, stepparents, aunts, uncles and other extended family members who wish to care for and protect the best interests of minor children. We understand that nontraditional families often have many questions that relate to multiple areas of family law, including adoption.
To discuss your concerns with an experienced adoption attorney, please call us at 941-870-3977 or complete our contact form. We advise and represent clients throughout Sarasota and the surrounding communities.
How do I start the adoption process?
The first step is to file an adoption petition. This is done in the circuit court of the county where you reside. The absent parent then has the opportunity to contest the adoption. If the absent parent does not contest, the court can finalize the adoption. Before initiating the adoption process, it is important to speak with an experienced adoption attorney to ensure that the process goes as quickly and smoothly as possible.
Can I adopt if the child’s other parent is not absent and still has regular contact with the child?
Generally, no — not unless the other parent consents to the adoption. However, if the other parent does not consent or cannot be located, you have the option of filing to terminate the other parent’s parental rights. Grounds for terminating someone’s parental rights include:
- The parent abandoned the child
- The parent has been declared incompetent and is not likely to become competent
- The assumed father’s paternity has not been registered with the Florida Putative Father Registry before the petition to terminate his rights has been filed
Again, before seeking to terminate someone’s parental rights, it is important to consult with an experienced family law and adoption attorney.
Does the child need to consent to the adoption?
In Florida, if the child is over the age of 12, the child must consent to the adoption before it can be finalized. To consent, the child signs a form called Consent of Adoptee.
Do I need to adopt if I plan to have only temporary custody of a child?
If an extended family member wishes to have only temporary custody of a child, we can advise as to whether a 751 action is the best option. Through the 751 process, a family member may gain custody of a child even if the family member does not want to adopt or if the family member does not qualify to adopt.
Contact The Law Offices of Tinley M. Rudd, Esq.
For help navigating the adoption process, please call us at 941-870-3977 or complete our contact form to arrange a consultation. Our firm offers sound legal counsel and compassionate advocacy to clients in Sarasota and the surrounding areas.