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An Overview: The Basics of Adoption in the State of Florida

Family

There are many reasons why someone may decide to adopt a child. Some individuals may not be married and could be looking for a way to have the experience of raising a child. For others, it could be due to the inability to conceive and they feel like this could be the only way to have children. While others may wish to adopt so that a child would have the opportunity to be raised by a family permanently, when they otherwise would not have had that chance. Regardless, the process of adopting a child in the state of Florida can be a unique and legally complex issue. The laws can vary from state to state and for those who are unfamiliar with this process, it can be overwhelming. What follows is an overview of this complex topic.

This is not to be taken as legal advice. If you need legal assistance please contact an attorney directly.

The Laws of the State

There are numerous rules and regulations that govern who can adopt children. While they are similar from state to state, there are also many differences and there are some important points to keep in mind.

As of 2014, the law in the state of Florida requires that children who are aged 12 or older consent to the adoption of the person filing the application.

This means that the child must approve of the person who is looking to care for them. If the child does not consent to the adoption, the intended parents are not able to move forward with the adoption. This can be a controversial and complicated issue, so it can be helpful to speak with an experienced attorney to learn more.

Residency Requirements

Prior to the adoption, home residency in the State of Florida must be established for 90 days prior to the adoption. Those who are seeking to adopt prior to having home residency for 90 days may find that they will hit a roadblock. An adoption agency wants to be certain that a family wishing to adopt a child has established some consistency and will permanently reside in the State of Florida, at least for the near future.

The Statute of Limitations

Because of the complex nature of the adoption process, there can be challenges made to the adoption of a child by a separate party. In Florida, the statute of limitations is one year. This means that someone has an entire year from the date of adoption to challenge the adoption. Issues that could be challenged include that the child has a blood relative who wishes to care for them or that the person who adopted them may not be physically or mentally fit to care for an adopted child. Since the adoptive parents are likely not to consent to the third party adopting the child instead of them, the process is likely to lead to significantly contested litigation. While this may not be in the child or children’s best interest, it may be the only likely result since both sides have competing beliefs as they both think they are the superior option to care for the child. Anyone who may expect contested litigation should certainly consult with an experienced attorney so that they can be as prepared as possible for their court case.

The process to adopt a newborn baby while the biological mother is still pregnant can also be lengthy and complex. Most states permit the biological mother a certain amount of time within which she can change her mind on the adoption following the birth of the child. This can leave the adoptive parents Clearly, there are multiple, complicated legal issues at play. Therefore, it is prudent to speak with an experienced attorney to learn more about this complex process. There are several family law attorneys that specialize in this complex area of the law.

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