An Attorney for Step-Parent Adoption in Jacksonville
After a divorce, some parents go on to re-marry with hopes of maintaining a traditional family life they had hoped for in the first place. Sometimes, a parent goes astray from their child or children for work, leisure or some other personal reason. Sometimes that parent is simply otherwise incapable of providing the love and support necessary for properly raising his or her child or children.
Research indicates that children who grew up in a healthy, stable and loving home environment grew to become more well-adjusted as compared to children who were raised in an unhealthy home environment. To provide the right support for these children, contact a Jacksonville step-parent adoption lawyer right away to fight for your rights.
Step-parents commonly assume the role of a parent. Often the step-parent and step-children will form bonds that are stronger and more beneficial for the children than the bonds the children formed with the absent parent.
Benefits of Step-Parent Adoption
Step-parent adoption is the best solution for solidifying a strong bond between a child and their step-parent, and for filling the void of the absent parent in some case.
Here are five benefits to step-parent adoption.
- Step-parent adoption grants the step-parent all the rights and responsibilities of a biological parent. The law treats biological and adopted children the same.
- Step-parent adoption results in the termination of the parental rights of the biological parent thereby substituting the absent biological parent with a loving step-parent.
- Step-parent adoption guarantees enforceable parental rights to the adoptive parent for parenting and time-sharing in the event of subsequent dissolution of marriage.
- By granting legal recognition to the bond between the step-parent and step-child, step-parent adoption eases inheritance and other legal issues that may later arise regarding the relationship between the step-parent and the step-child.
- Step-parent adoption brings unity to the family by offering the ability to apply a common surname to all children in the household.
Request a free consultation with the Jacksonville Step-Parent Adoption Attorney at our firm to find out more.
When compared to many other states, Florida has a more simplified step-parent adoption process. But there is still a quagmire of procedures to follow and potential issues that may arise regarding eligibility. Contacting a Jacksonville step-parent adoption attorney can facilitate navigating the complicated adoption procedure and eligibility requirements. If you have any questions regarding step-parent adoption, call Sam Jubran today at (904) 360-6100.
Once the determination is made that the step-parent is eligible for step-parent adoption, a lengthy, detail-oriented procedure must be followed to complete the process. A final hearing will be required. To start the process it is best to obtain the consent of the biological parent. Once the consent is obtained, then a formal petition must be filed with the circuit court. The petition must be filed together with the supporting affidavits required under state and Federal law. The petition for step-parent adoption lists relevant information regarding:
- the step-child,
- the relationship between the step-child and step-parent, and
- justifications for permitting such an adoption.
Biological Parents and Consent to the Adoption
The court will not assign custody to a stepparent if there is another biological parent in the picture. In other words, in order for the step-parent to gain custody of the child, the biological parent must lose custody of the child. Legally, this avoids tricky situations in which there may be more than two parents battling over custody. For this reason, a step-parent’s custody of a child begins when a biological parent’s custody ends.
The question of eligibility remains important. Generally speaking, the biological parent must give consent for the adoption to take place. There is, however, precedent for waiving consent. The court may waive the consent of the biological parent under the following conditions:
- Parent has abandoned the child;
- Court has terminated the parent’s parental rights; or
- Court has declared the parent incompetent.
In addition, if the court decides that a lawful guardian or custodian of a child seems to be unreasonably withholding consent, then the court may waive the consent requirement.
The Process of Applying for Custody in Florida
Filing a Petition
Assuming that the step-parent passes all eligibility metrics and the court has not deemed the biological parent unfit or absent, the process of applying for custody is not entirely complex. The step-parent will file a petition with the county’s circuit court in the county in which they live. The “petitioner” (i.e., the step-parent) will be required to provide the following information to the court:
- Child’s name, date of birth, and place of birth;
- Child’s new name if they are changing their name;
- Duration of time in which the child has had a relationship with the step-parent;
- Name, age, and current residence of the stepparent;
- How long the step-parent has lived at their current residence; and
- A statement attesting to the fact that the step-parent is physically able to care for the child.
In addition, the step-parent must provide a case number in which the biological parent’s parental rights were terminated. Or, they must provide the name and address of any parties that must give consent to the adoption. If the party with custody or guardianship of the child refuses or has not given consent, then the step-parent must be able to provide reasons why their consent should be waived.
Explaining to the Court Why You Wish to Adopt
In addition to these, the step-parent is expected to explain to the court the reasons why they wish to adopt the child. The court expects that there will be supporting documents filed at the time the step-parent wants to take custody of their step-child. These include:
- Copies of judgments in which the biological parent’s rights were terminated; and
- In cases where the child is 12 or older, an interview with the step-child to determine the child’s feelings on the adoption.
If the child is 12 or older, then the court will consider their wishes. This is especially true when a biological parent refuses to give consent to an adoption. Any decision that the court will make on the adoption will be in the best interests of the child.
How a Step-Parent Adoption Attorney Can Help
The step-parent adoption process is really a petition to the court to assert a stepparent’s custody over a child. In cases where the consent of the biological parent is in question or the biological parent refuses consent, the process can become quite complicated. The step-parent and the biological parent cannot simultaneously have custody over the child. The court must make a determination as to which situation is better for the child.
The attorneys at the Law Office of A. Sam Jubran, P.A. can help you prepare your petition and argue the elements of your case. It is not only a case on your own behalf, it is a case largely against the biological parent. For this reason, custody suits involving stepparents can get ugly, personal, and emotional.
The Consequences of Step-Parent Adoption
If the court approves the stepparent adoption, then the biological parent will have their parental rights terminated. They will not have rights to make decisions for the child, nor will they have a right to visit the child.
On the other hand, they will no longer be financially responsible for the child either. Child support payments that have been ordered by the court will stop.
Let Jacksonville Step-Parent Adoption Lawyer Sam Jubran Help You
It is best to consult an experienced Jacksonville step-parent adoption lawyer if you are considering petitioning the court for step-parent adoption. When you need help with family law, choose an experienced attorney who cares about you and your family. Contact us today.