WHY DO WE LOVE ADOPTIONS?
It is through our work in expanding families that we find pure joy in the practice of law. Adoption has touched Christie’s life personally, which brings her an uncommon understanding of what it is to go through the adoption process. She is intimately familiar with both the hardship of contested litigation and the indescribable jubilation and comfort that a final judgment of adoption brings. Whether you are a birth parent seeking representation or an adoptive parent seeking assistance with an infant adoption, adult adoption, private adoption, relative, step-parent, foster child, or grandparent adoption, the lawyers at Sasso and Guerrero are well qualified to assist you in your journey.
WHO CAN ADOPT IN FLORIDA?
The requirements for adoption vary, depending on the type of adoption that is taking place. However, generally speaking, if you are over the age of eighteen, can pass a criminal background check, are financially able to support a child, and you obtain a positive home-study, you will likely qualify to adopt a child in Florida.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A STEP-PARENT ADOPTION AND SECOND-PARENT ADOPTION?
A step-parent adoption was traditionally the process by which one legal parent’s parental rights were terminated and a simultaneous adoption of the child by the remaining legal parent’s current spouse occurred. To qualify to adopt a child via a step-parent adoption, the adopting party must be legally married to the remaining legal parent of the child. While this type of step-parent adoption is still very common, with the legalization of same-sex marriage, this concept now also encompasses adoption of a child by a married, same sex spouse. There are many reasons why same-sex spouses choose to pursue a step-parent adoption, even if they were married at the time of the child’s birth, namely, to unequivocally protect the parental rights of the non-birth parent in a legal landscape newly evolving for the LGBTQ+ community. Our attorneys can assist you with determining if a step-parent adoption is right for your family.
As the law continues to evolve and works to catch up with society, second-parent adoptions are becoming less common. Prior to the legalization of same-sex marriage, the law governing step-parent adoptions precluded members of same sex couples from adopting their partner’s child, because they were not legally married. Because the law had not caught up with the social reality, many families availed themselves of a second-parent adoption instead. The end result of a second parent adoption is the establishment of parental rights for a non-birth parent. Today, second-parent adoptions are still utilized for an unmarried same-sex couple, where one party desires to adopt the biological or legal child of their partner.
It is important to know your rights when it comes to parentage in Florida. If you and your partner are unmarried and either have a child together or plan to conceive a child together, let the lawyers of Sasso and Guerrero ensure that your parental rights are properly established and your relationship with your child protected.
CAN I ADOPT MY ADULT STEP-CHILD?
Yes! Adult adoptions are common amongst families who did not wish to fight the battle to terminate the parental rights of the other parent while the adoptee was still a minor child. Unlike adoptions of minor children, the parent whose parental rights will be terminated does not have to consent to the adoption of their adult child. That means an adult adoption can be granted even if the parent whose rights will be terminated does not agree to the adoption.
WHAT ABOUT ADOPTING A CHILD FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF CHILDREN AND FAMILIES?
Another very common form of adoption is to adopt a child in the custody of the Department of Children and Families. You may be a foster parent, a relative, a grandparent, or a friend of the biological family that seeks to adopt a child in care. There are many benefits afforded to the adoptive parents of children in care. Those benefits include a college tuition waiver, monthly adoption subsidy, and Medicaid coverage until 18, just to name a few. One of the best parts of adopting through the dependency system is that the costs of the legal services for the adoption are provided FREE OF CHARGE to the adoptive parents. That means you will never receive a bill for our legal services if your adoption through the dependency system is uncontested.
Adoptions in the dependency system can take the form of interventions, adoptions by consent, or contested adoptions between foster parents and other family members. Whether you need assistance in completing the ICPC process for an out of state adoption, have a contested dependency adoption, or are seeking general advice on how to navigate the dependency system, our office is here to help.
WHAT IF MY ADOPTION IS CONTESTED?
We have been in your shoes and we have handled many contested adoption cases. While many adoption attorneys in our area do not handle contested adoption cases, our office routinely agrees to take on these types of cases, and our track record of success is excellent. Experience is key in this area of law. Let our knowledge and personal experiences work for you.