Fort Lauderdale Stepparent Adoption Attorney
A stepparent adoption allows a stepparent to take the legal place of one of a child’s natural parents, giving the child two legal parents who are also married to one another. Often, families choose to pursue a stepparent adoption when the parent who has raised the child has remarried, and the child’s other birth parent has disappeared or has stopped upholding his or her parental rights or responsibilities. At the law offices of Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A. in Fort Lauderdale, we help Florida families through the process of stepparent adoption. Contact our experienced Fort Lauderdale stepparent adoptions attorneys today.
The Stepparent Adoption Process
A stepparent adoption starts with filing an adoption petition in the Circuit Court of the county where you live. Once the petition is filed, the absent parent has the opportunity to oppose the adoption. If the absent parent does not contest the adoption, the court will finalize the adoption, giving the child a new birth certificate that shows the child’s new name and parents. After the creation of a new birth certificate, a new Social Security number can be issued.
Termination of Parental Rights
If the child’s other parent has regular contact with the child (he or she is not absent), you will not be able to complete a stepparent adoption unless he or she consents. If the child’s other parent does not consent to the adoption, or cannot be found, one option is to file to terminate his or her parental rights. Under Florida family law, termination of parental rights is allowed in the following circumstances:
- The parent deserted the child without means of identification, or has abandoned the child
- A father has not registered his paternity with Florida’s Putative Father Registry prior to the filing of the petition to terminate his rights
- A parent has been declared incompetent and restoration of competency is medically improbable
Once the birth parent’s rights are terminated, the stepparent adoption can be finalized. The process is completed at a final hearing, after which the stepparent assumes the same rights and parental responsibilities as a birth parent, including financial and emotional support.
Consent from the Child
In Florida, children over the age of 12 must also agree to the adoption. To show consent, the child signs a Consent of Adoptee form, which is an affidavit confirming his or her age and agreement to the adoption. It also confirms the child’s consent to change his or her last name to that of the adopting parent, and declares that the child is aware that the adoption results in becoming the adopting parent’s legal child and heir at law. Contact our Fort Lauderdale stepparent adoption attorneys for more information.
Contact Us about Pursuing a Stepparent Adoption in Florida
Adoption gives a stepfather or stepmother the legal rights to fully meet a child’s needs. For more information, please contact Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A. to schedule a consultation. We serve clients in Fort Lauderdale, Boca Raton and Broward County.