Legislative Update: Summary of Changes to Florida’s Adoption Laws

Logo of Florida House of RepresentativesMany bills relating to family law were proposed this past legislative session.  Many, if not most, of the bills died, while some, including House Bill 1163, passed both houses and were signed into law by Governor Scott.  House Bill 1163 (now Chapter 2012-81 of the Laws of Florida) made the following changes to Florida’s adoption laws (as summarized by the Florida Senate Committee on Children, Family, and Elder Affairs):

  • Requires that a petition for termination of parental rights contain facts supporting the allegation that the parents of the child is informed of the availability of private placement of the child with an adoption entity;
  • Removes legislative intent that all placements of minors for adoption be reported to the Department of Children and Family Services (DCF or department);
  • Amends certain definitions in ch. 63, F.S.;
  • Exempts adoption proceedings which were initiated under ch. 39, F.S., from the requirement to search the Florida Putative Father Registry if the search was previously completed;
  • Requires the use of an adoption entity for all adoptions of minor children, unless the adoption is by a relative or stepparent;
  • Requires that a newborn who tests positive for illicit or prescription drugs or alcohol, but who shows no other signs of child abuse or neglect, be placed in the custody of a licensed child placing agency;
  • Prohibits DCF from being involved with a properly surrendered newborn who tests positive for illicit or prescription drugs or alcohol, except when reasonable efforts to contact an adoption entity to take custody of the child fail;
  • Prohibits a court from ordering scientific testing until the court determines that a previously entered judgment terminating parental rights is voidable;
  • Prohibits a court from increasing contact between an adopted child and siblings, birth parents, or other relatives without the consent of the adoptive parents;
  • Prohibits an attorney from removing a child, who was voluntarily surrendered to the attorney, from a prospective adoptive home without a court order unless the child is in danger of imminent harm;
  • Revises the obligations and responsibilities of an unmarried biological father seeking to assert his parental rights with regard to his child;
  • Requires a court to permit an adoption entity to intervene in a dependency case and outlines the responsibilities of the adoption entity throughout the proceedings;
  • Authorizes the prospective adoptive parents to waive receipt of certain medical records;
  • Outlines the duties of the court when considering a petition for termination of parental rights and, when the petition has been denied, providing for placement of the child;
  • Places restrictions on advertisements offering a minor for adoption or seeking a minor for adoption and establishes criminal penalties for violations of the advertising restrictions;
  • Creates the crime “adoption deception”;
  • Clarifies the rights and obligations of a volunteer mother involved in a preplanned adoption agreement; and
  • Makes technical and conforming changes.

[Related:  In Which County Should I File My Florida Adoption Case?]

If you are looking to adopt a child in Florida and you wish to speak with a Tampa Bay Adoption Attorney, contact The Law Firm of Adam B. Cordover, P.A., at 813-443-0615 or by filling out our consultation form.


About Adam B. Cordover, Attorney-at-Law

Family Diplomacy is dedicated to helping clients restructure their families privately and respectfully. We practice exclusively in out-of-court dispute resolution, with a focus on collaborative divorce and family law, mediation, direct negotiations, and unbundled legal services. We maintain this out-of-court practice because we strongly believe that family disputes should be resolved in a private conference room, not in a hostile and public courtroom environment. This unique perspective on family law stems back to Adam B. Cordover’s experience studying International Affairs in Washington, D.C., and abroad. Adam had the rare opportunity to work closely with ambassadors and diplomats from war-torn regions around the world. He traveled around the globe, learning from diplomatic leaders as they applied dispute resolution techniques to tackle seemingly impossible conflicts. It dawned on him: If these techniques can work in the complex world of International Relations, why not Domestic Relations and Family Law? This realization lead Adam to create an exclusively out-of-court practice and to bring a more peacemaking approach to family law. In his previous role as a litigation attorney, Adam witnessed parties experience the negative emotional and financial effects that long, drawn out divorce battles can have on families. As a result, Adam has become a strong proponent of the Collaborative Process, where a structure is put in place so that life’s hardest moments do not have to be any more difficult than necessary. A thought leader in the international collaborative law community, Adam successfully spearheaded an effort of the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit to draft an administrative order safeguarding the principles of collaborative family law (just the fourth such administrative order in Florida). Adam has been featured in or interviewed about collaborative practice by the Tampa Bay Times, Tampa Tribune, Orlando Sentinel, Miami Herald, Tampa Bay Business Journal, Florida Bar News, NBC, Fox 13, Bay News 9, ABC Action News, The World of Collaborative Practice Magazine, and Spirit FM 90.5. Adam regularly speaks at professional and civic organizations locally and internationally regarding the collaborative process. Adam B. Cordover is president of Next Generation Divorce, a 501(c)(3) and Florida’s largest interdisciplinary collaborative practice group with member attorneys, mental health professionals, and financial professionals throughout Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, Sarasota, and Manatee Counties. Adam is also on the Executive Board and co-chair of the Research Committee of the Collaborative Family Law Council of Florida. Further, Adam is a graduate of the inaugural class of the Leadership Academy of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals. You can learn more about us and our services at www.FamilyDiplomacy.com. Attorney Adam B. Cordover is admitted to the Florida Bar and the United States District Court, Middle District of Florida. His office is located at 412 East Madison Street, Suite 824, Tampa, Florida 33602.
This entry was posted in Adoption, Family Law Explanation, Florida Statutes, Legislative Update and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Legislative Update: Summary of Changes to Florida’s Adoption Laws

  1. cmichaelkellypa says:

    Nice post. Important information.

  2. Pingback: Legislative Update: Changes to Florida Statute Section 63.062 – Persons required to consent to adoption; affidavit of nonpaternity; waiver of venue | ABC Family Law Blog

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