Can we help you with an adoption proceeding? Adoption proceedings are governed by Florida law. The kinds of cases we handle involving adoptions primarily involve situations involving a step-parent adoption.
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Can we help you with an adoption proceeding? Adoption proceedings are governed by Florida law, and the kinds of cases we handle involving adoptions primarily involve situations involving a stepparent adoption. I'll give you an example. That is a situation where mom has been granted primary parent. As the primary parent, she's got the children living with her, and father has not been on the scene. He's disappeared. He comes in and out of the picture. He's not really maintained any kind of contact with the child for many years, and mom remarries. In that situation, mom's new husband could file a petition for stepparent adoption.
Stepparent adoptions are governed by very strict rules and regulations in Florida. There's an intensive procedure that has to be followed. A lot of forms and records need to be filed with the court before the court will say that you're eligible to have a stepparent adoption granted. So in these kinds of cases, I would suggest that you meet with someone who's a lawyer that's been doing this for a very long time, as have I, to discuss whether you qualify.
It is always a ground for stepparent adoption if there's been abandonment by the biological parent of parenting time and contact with the child. If that exceeds one year in time, those are grounds to raise that would qualify you for a stepparent adoption. There's actually two kinds of grounds. One is, most common, one is the abandonment, and the other is lack of child support. So you could have a child support order entered in a divorce case, and the biological parent doesn't pay child support for a very long time, that could also be ground for a stepparent adoption.
The court in a stepparent adoption is going to determine, one, whether or not there's legal grounds. Are they sufficient to terminate the parental rights of a biological parent, thereby relinquishing that parent's rights to parent a child or children? And the second is to whether or not a stepparent should be granted the adoption of a child not of his or her own.
When a stepparent adoption is granted, the biological parent has no more rights than that of a stranger. That means parenting time, Christmas holiday vacations, all of that goes out of the window because a court has found that it's in the best interest of a child that a stepparent step into the shoes or replace a biological parent and that that's in the best interest of the child.
You want to call us, and we'll be happy to schedule a free consultation with you to discuss the process and the legal proceeding and how much we believe it's going to cost to go through a stepparent adoption.