florida adoption laws

If you want to adopt a child in Florida, you’ve come to the right place. To be eligible to adopt a child in Florida, interested parents must pass a rigorous screening process and meet specific legal and financial requirements. Adoption laws vary from state to state, so it’s essential to know your state’s laws. At Florida Adoption Lawyers, we have years of experience guiding you through the process. 

Age Matters

We encourage you to consider the age of the child you’d like to adopt. Many adoptive parents prefer to adopt newborns, but some families adopt toddlers or young children. 

Because birth mothers often choose the adoptive family for their baby, you may have to wait a while for the right match once you’ve decided to adopt. We recommend sharing a heartfelt statement about why you want to adopt, which is an opportunity to make a positive first impression and can help connect you with the child meant for you. If a birth mother is interested in meeting with you and your spouse (if you are married), we will set up a time to talk. 

types of adoption

The Types Of Adoption In Florida

There are three kinds of adoption in Florida: an open adoption, a semi-open adoption, and closed adoption. An experienced adoption attorney can guide you through each style to help you decide which one is best for you, keeping in mind that the birth mother has the final say over which kind of adoption she would like. Once a child is placed with you, the birth mother must consent to the adoption and legally terminate her legal rights as a parent following the birth. This process must follow Florida state law for the consent to adopt to be legally binding. In some cases, the birth father must also consent or be notified of the adoption. The birth mother has up to 48 hours to change her mind or consent to adopt after giving birth. 

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Florida Adoption Lawyers

Bringing Families Together Through Adoption

Consent And Petitioning

Once the birth mother has consented to the adoption, the adoption must be finalized. Your attorney can file a petition for adoption with the court on your behalf. There is usually a waiting period of 30-90 days once the birth mother’s parental rights have been terminated before the adoption can be finalized. There may be follow-up visits at your home during this waiting period to see how the child is adjusting. Once the court has approved the adoption, the adoptive parents legally assume all parental rights and responsibilities over their child. 

What Are Adoption Laws In Florida?

Florida adoption laws permit single or married individuals, including LGBTQ couples, to adopt. Individuals of any age may be adopted in the state of Florida, but children over the age of 12 must give their consent to be adopted unless the court rules that adoption is in the child’s best interest. 

background checks for adoption

Interviews, Inspections, & Background Checks

The adoptive parents must be residents of Florida and must pass a home study, which is a screening process that ensures that they can provide a safe and loving home. A home study involves in-person interviews, home inspections, background checks, and more. A married individual can adopt without their spouse if the court approves, which is more common in the case of a stepmother or stepfather adopting their spouse’s child. While you may have a disability as a prospective adoptive parent, that disability must not prevent you from being an effective and capable parent. 

Fees & Costs To Consider

Florida adoption laws regulate adoption costs and provide guidelines for the kinds of expenses adoptive parents and agencies are allowed to pay. This protects adoptive parents and agencies from being taken advantage of, as court fees and medical expenses require approval. Prospective adoptive parents will have to sign an affidavit listing all adoption expenses.

Adoptive parents can pay for medical bills relating to the pregnancy up to six weeks postpartum, living expenses for the birth mother, fees for the birth certificate, legal fees, and other costs incurred during the adoption process. Prospective adoptive parents are responsible for paying any adoption professional involved in the process, such as an agency or an adoption attorney. 

A reputable law firm or adoption agency will be upfront with you about the adoption costs before beginning the process. It may also have certain policies in place to help protect you financially. 

Families Eligible To Adopt A Child In Florida

Many kinds of Florida families are eligible to adopt. LGBTQ couples may adopt, single parents and step-parents may adopt as long as they can provide a safe and loving home. Adoption agencies have certain rules that you need to meet as well. For example, many agencies require married couples to have been married for at least two years. 

Although adoptions by gay individuals used to be illegal in Florida, the courts ruled that decision as unconditional in 2010. That ruling has made the adoption process accessible to gay individuals and couples as to heterosexual individuals and couples. 

Legal Issues That Stand In The Way

Certain felonies can prevent parents from adopting, as can living with someone who has been convicted of certain crimes, even if you do not have a criminal record. Criminal records are taken very seriously during the adoption process, and dishonesty of any sort on this account will disqualify any prospective parent as Florida adoption law is concerned first and foremost with the wellbeing and safety of adopted children. 

Financial Stability Is Important

While you do not need to be wealthy to qualify for adoption, you need to be financially stable. Private adoption can cost anywhere from $50,000 – $65,000, so being able to pay for the expenses involved in addition to being able to provide a financially secure home and lifestyle are critical deciding factors. 

You may be eligible for funds or grants, so be sure to ask your adoption lawyer or agency if these options are available to you. Although private adoptions are more expensive than adopting from foster care, they are also more popular. If you wish to pursue a private adoption, consider that many birth mothers are eligible for state financial assistance, which can help reduce costs. 

Our Expertise Can Make It Easier

We understand that the international adoption process may seem overwhelming, but an experienced attorney or adoption agency can help simplify the process and assist you every step of the way. We will support you no matter which style of adoption you choose and have the expertise to help make that process as stress-free as possible. 

Sources: 

https://www.americanadoptions.com/florida-adoption/florida-adoption-laws

https://www.findlaw.com/state/florida-law/florida-adoption-laws.html