Many families in Florida include two-parent households in which one parent is not the biological mother or father of a child in the home. These stepparents are an important part of a child’s life and play an integral role in their mental, physical, and emotional development. It is not uncommon for parents in this situation to decide they want to adopt a stepchild.
Adoption is a big step and means the adopting parent agrees to become legally responsible for the child being adopted. It is important to make sure that every member of the family is prepared to deal with the emotions that are involved.
In most cases, the process cannot begin before reaching out to the biological parent of the child. It is possible he or she will need to waive their rights before the adoption process can move forward. If the biological parent is not present or is unable to sign the waiver, the process will become a bit more complicated. However, this does not mean the adoption cannot take place. The parent wishing to adopt can turn to the family court system for help.
A petition must be filed that informs the court of an intent to adopt. It is normal for basic information pertaining to the adopting parent and their spouse to be included with the petition.
The adopting parent will next appear in court along with the rest of the family. The judge will hear the petitioner’s request, speak to other parties concerned, and converse with the child in question if he or she is old enough to express thoughts and feelings.
The process to adopt a child is a complex one that can cost additional time and money if things are not done correctly the first time around. Stepparents who wish to take legal custody of a stepchild might find the road to adoption easier if they speak first with a family law attorney.