Many people, both couples and individuals, choose to expand their families by adopting a child. This is a very joyous and exciting moment in those people’s lives, however, before being able to adopt there is an extensive legal process to undergo. The process of adoption can be quite complex, both for the mother choosing to place her child under adoption as well as for the individuals looking to adopt. A family law attorney Gainesville, FL, residents trust can help guide you through adoption legalities to prevent complications and ensure the best for the child and your family.
Adoption Attorneys in Gainesville, FL
Adoption is the legal process that establishes a legal parent-child relationship between an adoptee and the adoptive parents. Under Florida law, once the adoption process is complete the relationship is seen the same as a legal biological parent-child relationship. Adoption laws balance the interests of the biological parents, the adopted child, and the adoptive parents. Until the biological parent voluntarily surrenders the rights to the child, or fails to act to protect his/her own rights, under Florida law, the parent’s rights are primary to that of the adoptive parents.
Who Can Adopt in Florida?
In the State of Florida, a person qualifies for adoption if he or she is an adult, lives and works in the state, is deemed of good character, and has the ability to provide for the adoptive child. Both single adults and married couples are eligible to adopt. A Gainesville family law attorney at the Law Office of Silverman, Mack & Associates can help you determine whether you qualify to adopt.
The Florida Adoption Process
While the adoption process in Gainesville, FL may be slightly different for each woman and adoptive parents, the process begins only after a confirmed pregnancy. In order to place a child up for adoption, the biological mother must determine which type of adoption she would like for the child and choose how to place the child for adoption.
In Florida, there are three ways that a mother can place a child up for adoption:
- Through a licensed private adoption agency,
- Through the Department of Children and Families, or
- Through an attorney.
There are many fees involved with the adoption process, however, when using a Gainesville adoption lawyer all fees and expenses are paid for by the adoptive parents. The birth mother can also receive assistance for medical and living expenses throughout the pregnancy.
In Florida, the birth mother has the right to dictate the characteristics of the family she would prefer to raise the child. She may then interview various families or individuals until she finds one that she deems acceptable. Consent for adoption cannot be signed by the birth mother until 48 hours after the child has been born. This will consist of legal papers that will surrender parental rights, and once signed, they are generally irrevocable.
Once the court receives proof that the birth mother has understood and accepted that she is surrendering her rights to her child, the adoption can take place. Depending on the type of adoption, the process could be finalized almost immediately after or require more steps. A Gainesville family law firm can help you understand exactly what your form of adoption will require for finalization. Generally, after the child is placed in the adoptive home, the adoptive parents will need to file a petition of adoption. The petition needs to be filed within 60 days of the termination of parental rights judgment. After the child has been with the adoptive family for a minimum of 90 days, a final hearing will be needed. After the final hearing, the judge will be able to finalize the adoption and grant the adoptive parents full paternal rights.
Types of Adoptions
- Relative Adoptions: Relative adoptions are when a member of a child’s family, such as a grandparent or aunt, takes the necessary steps in order to adopt. This usually occurs if the parents of a child die while he or she is a minor, or the parents are unable to care for the child.
- Stepparent Adoptions: Stepparent adoptions are when a parent’s new spouse chooses to adopt a child that the parent had with a previous partner. If the birth parent consents to the adoption, the process can be quite simple.
- Private Adoptions: Private adoptions are adoptions arranged without any government or state involved. They are arranged by a privately-funded, licensed adoption agency.
- Interstate Adoption Placements: Interstate adoption placements are adoptions governed by the Interstate Compact of the Placement of Children.
- Adult Adoptions: Adult adoptions are the adoption of a person who is of age to be legally considered an adult. In most states, adult adoptions are allowed as long as there is at least a 10-year age difference and there is proof that the adoption is in the interest of both parties involved and the public good. The most common reason for these type of adoptions is inheritance.
- Foreign Adoption "Finalizations": Foreign adoption “finalizations” are for the adoption of children who are citizens of one country by parents who are citizens of another country (in this case the United States).
Gainesville Adoption Attorneys
At the Law Office of Silverman, Mack & Associates, our adoption and family law attorneys in Gainesville, FL will work with you every step of the way during the adoption process to help ensure the best possible outcome for you and the child. We have the necessary legal knowledge and experience to guide you through any complications and make sure that all paperwork is filed on-time. Contact us today for attorneys of family law Gainesville, FL, residents looking to adopt can count on.