If both biological parents consent to the adoption of their children by a stepparent, then it’s likely the adoption process can go smoothly. However, if one parent refuses consent to a stepparent adoption, the other parent can bring a lawsuit to terminate his or her biological rights. Additionally, it is possible that the whereabouts of one parent are unknown, and therefore he or she cannot give consent.

Florida law provides that any adult that lives and works in Florida, is of good character and has the ability to nurture and financially and emotionally support a child may adopt.

A court presiding over any Florida adoption case must receive proof that facts exist to terminate the biological relationship forever. A biological parent may properly execute a Consent for adoption and surrender his/her rights to their child. If one parent refuses to consent to the stepparent adoption, the other parent must be able to prove that the non-consenting parent is unfit. A court must hear proof that the parent has abandoned, abused or neglected the child or otherwise failed to protect their parental rights under Florida law in order for the parental rights of the biological parent to be terminated.

In the state of Florida, if a child is 12 years or older, he or she must also consent to the adoption as well as complete an interview before signing the consent.

After a court issues a judgment terminating the biological parent-child relationship, the adoptive parents are able to immediately finalize the adoption. In a Florida stepparent adoption, the adoptive parents have the option of completing the process in a single court date where both the termination of the biological parent’s rights occurs as well as the adoption by the stepparent.

For all legal purposes, the child will be considered the natural child of the adoptive family. The child can inherit equally to any children biologically born into the family. Even if the stepparent and biological parent separate or divorce, the stepparent will retain the legal obligations of child support, custody, time sharing, etc.

Step-parent adoptions can offer a child many legal benefits such as insurance coverage or inheritance. Whether you’re working with a contested or uncontested stepparent adoption process, experienced family lawyer Serena Carroll can help. Ms. Carroll can assist you in filing the proper paperwork, setting up your hearing, or representing you in court if you need to terminate the parental rights of the other biological parent.

For more information about the stepparent adoption process, contact Fort Lauderdale stepparent adoption lawyer Serena Carroll at 954-525-2050.