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Florida Stepparent Adoptions

Brevard County Adoption Attorneys – (321) 348-4520

Looking to become the legal parent or guardian of your stepchild? Our team at Henderson & Futchko, P.A. can guide you through the stepparent adoption process, so you can start your parenting journey sooner than you might expect. We have been serving Brevard County and surrounding areas of Florida for a combined 75+ years with a deliberate focus on adoption and stepparent adoption cases. We would be happy to use our experience to help you adopt your spouse's children.

To begin your stepparent adoption process, you will need to file an official petition to adopt your stepchild. There must also be provided an order from a family law court that ends the stepchild’s original parents’ rights to parentage. Or, you can use written consent from the original parents or from the stepchild if they are aged 12 or older. All of these details, though, can be explained and handled by our attorneys when you choose our law firm for legal counsel.

Working with our Florida stepparent adoption attorneys provides the following and more:

  • One-on-one attention from your lawyer
  • Step-by-step instructions for the adoption process in Florida
  • Personalized setting larger law firms cannot provide
  • Peace of mind

Schedule a FREE consultation with our firm to learn more today.

How Can You Adopt a Stepchild in Florida?

Your family may feel more complete if you, a stepparent, adopt your stepchild. Upon the process’s completion, the law will view you as the legal parent of that child as if they were originally born to you. It is even possible to have your stepchild’s birth certificate officially changed to include you instead of the original biological parent or parents, depending on the details of your stepchild adoption process.

The first step of the stepparent adoption process is the adoption petition, which requires:

  • Stepchild’s date and location of birth
  • Stepchild’s updated name, if necessary
  • Information showing how long you have lived with your stepchild
  • Statements discussing why you want to adopt your stepchild

After our attorneys help you file the petition, the biological parent of your stepchild who stands to lose parentage rights will have an opportunity to oppose the adoption. If no challenge is given to your proposed stepchild adoption, then the court will review the case and either approve or disapprove of the adoption. Once approved, you will be given an adoption certificate, officially installing you as the child’s new parent or guardian.

What Happens If an Original Parent Objects?

In Florida, an original parent can object to a stepchild adoption within one year of the adoption petition first being filed. If an objection or challenge arises, then the case will likely be moved to a local Florida court a review hearing. You cannot adopt your stepchild if the hearing does not end favorably for you, so you must take this hearing seriously. Call (321) 348-4520 to let our Florida stepparent adoption lawyers from Henderson & Futchko, P.A. to help you prepare for this hearing. We can even offer counsel and representation during the hearing. Although, it will be beneficial to your argument if the court sees you fighting for your stepchild as well.

When Parental Consent is Not Required

There are situations in which the consent of the original parent may be waived by the court, including:

  • Stepchild has been abandoned by that parent
  • Court has previously ended that parent’s rights to parentage
  • Court has declared that parent as “judicially incompetent” or unable to safely raise a child
  • Objecting parent unreasonably refuses to consent to adoption or intentionally delays the process

Who Else Needs to Know About Stepchild Adoption?

In some circumstances, you may be required to notify your stepchild’s grandparents that you are adopting them. A Florida family law court or the Florida Department of Children and Families may set this requirement if your stepchild has lived with their grandparent for at least half a year within the last two years prior to your adoption petition. However, it is unlikely that a grandparent will have legal grounds to object to your adoption, so this step should not become a complication.

Can Same-Sex Couples Adopt Stepchildren in Florida?

Ever since same-sex marriage was legalized in 2015 by the Supreme Court, family law rules have been applied to same-sex couples in a variety of ways, including stepparent adoption. As a spouse in a same-sex marriage, you have the right to adopt your stepchild. Our law firm proudly supports the LGBTQ+ communities of Florida and would be happy to help you discover and use your rights to pursue a stepparent-stepchild adoption.

What Parental Rights Does Stepchild Adoption Grant You?

As the adoptive parent of your stepchild, you will be able to legally:

  • Live with your child
  • Make important decisions about your child’s upbringing, like religious, medical care, education, etc.
  • Visit your child after a divorce or separation
  • Collect or be required to pay child support following a divorce

How Long Does Adoption Usually Take?

In some situations, the stepparent-stepchild adoption process can be as quick as two, three, or four months. However, if the other biological parent of the child is absent, unable to be reached, or uncooperative, the process can be drawn out for many more months or longer. No matter if the process is quick or delayed, you should rely on the dedicated services of our stepchild adoption attorneys in Brevard County, Melbourne, and beyond. Using our extensive experience with complex family law cases, we are confident we can help you grow your family through adoption and without stress.

Call (321) 348-4520 today. Your first consultation with an attorney from our firm is cost-free and requires no obligation.

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