For many grandparents and stepparents in Florida, adoptions make the family whole.
Florida courts recognize several different types of adoptions. Some involve the Department of Children and Families. These cases involve children who have been taken away from the parents. These parents are given a case plan, which is a set of tasks to improve their parenting skills. If the parents do not comply, then the Department seeks a different permanent placement. This often involves terminating the parental rights and placing the child with some other family.
However, private individuals can also seek an adoption. This may either be through an adoption agency, or adoptions which involve stepparents and grandparents.
We handle two types of adoptions.
These include stepparent adoptions, and grandparent adoptions.
In both, one or both of the parents are not involved with the children. Often, we see cases in which the child (or children) have been living with the stepparent — or grandparent — for years.
In order to succeed, someone seeking a child adoption in Florida must prove two things:
First, there must be proof that the parent has abandoned the child. This involves showing that the parent has not supported the child, or has made little effort to communicate with the child. In other words, there must be evidence that the parent has not fully assumed his or her parental responsibilities.
Second, there must be proof that the adoption is in the best interests of the child. The age and health of the Petitioner is important. And the ability of the prospective parent to financially support the child is considered. As part of this, the court will likely look at the length of time the child has lived with the prospective parent. A hearing must be held after proper notice. If the child is 12 years or older, then his or her his consent is also needed. In uncontested cases, many new parents bring the children to the hearing. And it’s great to see the children with their new parents. It truly brings the family together.