Legalizing the parental relationship that is already in place.
Under Florida law, a stepparent adoption gives a married person full and equal parental rights and responsibilities over their stepchild. The legal effect of stepparent adoptions result in the adopting parent becoming just as much a parent as their spouse. It is 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. The child’s last name can also be changed within the stepparent adoption process.
A stepparent adoptions legalize the parental relationship that is already place. In most cases the adopting stepparent already fully acts as if they are the parent of the child being adopted. The stepparent adoption just makes it official and legally valid and solidifies the relationship between the child and the adopting parent.
Adoption for LGBTQ Couples
Stepparent adoption is commonly utilized by LGBTQ couples. Since January 2015, same-sex marriage has been legalized. This means same sex married couples must be afforded all the same rights as heterosexual married couples in Florida. As a result, same-sex married couples can now utilize Florida’s stepparent adoption process. Stepparent adoption is a particularly useful option for lesbian couples where one spouse gave birth to a child during the marriage and the other spouse wishes to legally formalize her parental relationship with that child.
Steps for Stepparent Adoptions
The first step in a stepparent adoption is to file a Petition for Adoption. After you file your petition, the child’s other biological parent will be given the chance to object. In order to adopt your spouse’s child as your own, the child’s other biological parent must relinquish their parental rights and consent to the adoption. There are some instances in which obtaining consent is not necessary, such as in cases where the child’s biological father has not legally established paternity or the child’s other biological parent is deceased.
We promise to:
- Develop a customized strategy that defines your goals and needs
- Identify and clarify all adoption options available and provide an honest assessment of the best options for you
- Keep your interests at the forefront throughout your adoption and after
- Resolve matters amicably whenever possible
- Communicate every step of the way so you know where you stand
To learn more about Stepparent Adoption, please call our office at 407-644-4040 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.