Fort Lauderdale is home to more than 150,000 households, of which more than half consist of families and about a quarter include children. Over 50,000 residents of the city are separated or divorced. Filing for a stepparent adoption after divorce can be both an exciting and a daunting time in your life. Taking this step can be extremely important for a child, who may benefit from a more secure and unified family as a result. If you are considering stepparent adoption, you should consult Fort Lauderdale stepparent adoption lawyer Carmen G. Soto. She has 15 years of experience in family law and can use her skills to further your interests.Pursuing a Stepparent Adoption in Florida
A Florida stepparent adoption permits a married stepparent to adopt his or her spouse’s child, thus becoming that child’s legal father or mother. When a stepparent adoption is successfully completed, the adoptive parent shares full parental rights to the child. From a legal standpoint, it is as if the child were born to the natural parent and the stepparent.
A stepparent adoption begins with filing an adoption petition in the Circuit Court of the county in which you live. After the petition is filed, the absent parent has the option to contest the adoption. If the absent parent fails to contest the adoption, the court proceeds to confirm the adoption in favor of the stepparent. In fact, even the child’s birth certificate is amended to reflect the names of the natural parent and the stepparent.
If the child’s other parent continues to have rights over a minor child, that parent will need to consent to the stepparent adoption, or the court must determine that consent is not required. If the other parent contests the adoption or is unable to be located, you may be able to terminate that person’s parental rights. Under Florida law, the termination of parental rights may be appropriate if the parent has either:
- Deserted the child without means of identification or has abandoned the child; or
- Has been rendered incompetent, and restoration of competency is medically unlikely.
Pursuant to Florida law, children over 12 years of age must consent to the adoption. To demonstrate consent, a child must sign a Consent of Adoptee form. This document is an affidavit confirming his or her age and approval of the adoption. The document further verifies, through other information, that the child understands the consequences of the adoption.
It is important to be aware that since same-sex marriage is now legal, the right to stepparent adoption is also available to same-sex couples. Prior to same-sex marriage being legal, this was not possible because stepparent adoptions are limited to people who are married.Consult a Fort Lauderdale Lawyer for a Stepparent Adoption
At the Law Offices of Carmen G. Soto, we can help you navigate the process of stepparent adoption. We offer flexible payment plans to accommodate the financial circumstances of our clients. Our office is located across the street from the new Broward County courthouse, so we do not need to charge any travel costs or parking fees to our clients. Fort Lauderdale stepparent adoption attorney Carmen G. Soto also represents people in Pembroke Pines, Hollywood, Miramar, Coral Springs, Pompano Beach, Davie, Plantation, Sunrise, Lauderhill, Weston, Tamarac, Margate, Hallandale Beach, Lauderdale Lakes, and other cities in Broward County. To set up a free consultation with a family law attorney, call us at 954-523-0703 or contact us online. Se habla Español.