Do you have a grandchild or other close relative living with you? Do you want to ensure that you have the legal ability to make healthcare, education, and other major decisions for the child? Do you want to legally establish the close relationship that already exists between you and the child?
You may be eligible to adopt your grandchild or other close relative, and fortunately, Florida has expedited procedures in place to facilitate such adoptions.
To take advantage of these procedures, you need to make sure to have the consent of the child’s parents. If the parents refuse to consent, you may still be able to go through with the adoption if the parents have neglected or abandoned the child (keep in mind that Florida has a strong policy that parents have a right to raise their children, and proving neglect or abandonment is often prohibitively difficult).
Another thing to note is that a father is not required to provide consent if he(i) was not married to the mother at the time the child was born and conceived, (ii) is not on the child’s birth certificate, and (iii) has not been declared the child’s father in a legal proceeding. However, the father is still entitled to notice of the proceedings.
In most non-relative adoptions, you are required to have a licensed professional conduct a study of you and your living environment and file the report with the Court. You are also required to have separate hearings for (i) termination of the parents’ rights (“TPR”) and (ii) adoption.
However, if you are adopting a close relative, once you have obtained the required parents’ consents and filed a petition for close relative adoption and associated paperwork, you can schedule one hearing in which the judge decides the issues of TPR and adoption. Further, the judge usually waives the requirement of the home study.
You should note that these expedited procedures also apply stepparent/stepchild adoptions and adult adoptions.
If you are interested in adopting your close relative in Florida, or you want to learn about alternatives such as temporary custody or concurrent custody, schedule a consultation with a Tampa Bay Adoption and Family Law Attorney by calling The Law Firm of Adam B. Cordover, P.A., at (813) 443-0615 or filling out our contact form.