Family Law and Divorce Law Firm
Jacksonville Florida 32246

4600 Touchton Road E, Building 100 Suite #150

Law Offices Of Leanne Perez P.A.

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Jacksonville Stepparent Adoption Attorney


What happens when a divorced ex-spouse remarries and their new spouse wishes to adopt his or her stepchild? 

In Florida, there are certain procedural steps that need to be considered and followed. Once these steps are complied with, the adopting parent will share full parental rights over the child and in the eyes of the law, it will be as if the child was born to the natural parent and the stepparent. The birth certificate is amended to reflect the names of the stepparent and the natural parent as the parents of the child.


The first step of a stepparent adoption is to see whether the stepparent is eligible to adopt under Florida law. As long as the person can be an effective parent and is married to the legal parent of the child, the person should be able to legally adopt.


The second step is for the stepparent, together with the spouse, to file a Joint Petition for Stepparent Adoption with the circuit court for the county in which he or she lives.


The petitioners are the stepparent and the spouse of the stepparent. The petition for stepparent adoption must include certain information, such as:

  •                The child’s date of birth and his/her place of birth
  •               The name the child will be given if the child’s name is being changed
  •                Statement of how long the stepparent has lived with the child
  •                Reasons why the stepparent wants to adopt the child

The absent parent is then served with the Petition and is given the opportunity within a certain timeframe in which to oppose the adoption. If the absent parent does not object to the adoption or if the absent parent has consented in writing, then a hearing will take place where the court will finalize the adoption. This will give the child a new birth certificate showing the child’s new name and parents.


If the absent parent does not consent to the adoption or cannot be found, the best option is to file with the court to terminate the parental rights of the absent parent. Under Florida Statute §63.064, termination of parental rights of the absent parent is generally allowed if that parent has either:

  • ·         Deserted the child without means of identification or has abandoned the child and/or
  • ·         Has been declared incompetent and restoration of competency is medically improbable.


If the birth father or mother cannot be found to obtain their consent, then Florida law lists several steps that you must take to try and locate the birth parent before proceeding with the adoption.


Consent is generally not necessary if the parent’s rights were terminated in another proceeding. This can happen if: 

(1) the parent has executed a surrender document witnessed by two witnesses; 

(2) the parent has abandoned the child; 

(3) the parent has engaged in behavior that endangers the life, safety, well-being or health of the child; 

(4) the parent is incarcerated for a certain period of time; 

(5) a child has been an adjudicated dependent and the parent has not complied with the case plan filed with the court; or 

(6) the parent has engaged in “egregious conduct” that threatened the health and well-being of the child or a sibling of the child.


Finally, if the parent is declared to be incompetent, and there is little chance he or she will become competent, then consent is not necessary (such as when the parent is in a coma, for example, and there is little likelihood the parent will emerge from the coma).


Same Sex Step Parent Adoption

With the recent legalization of gay marriage throughout Florida in January 2015, stepparent adoption is now available to gay and lesbian couples to adopt the child of their same-sex spouse. Previously, gay and lesbian couples would have to go through a slightly different process called a second parent adoption.


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Law Office Of Leanne Perez

4600 Touchton Road E Suite #150

Building 100

Jacksonville,Fl 32246

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