As a stepparent considering adoption, you are likely already providing for your stepchild emotionally and physically. You have established a relationship with the child, and you want to take things to the next level by sealing that bond legally. There are some important factors to know before proceeding with stepparent adoption in Florida.
1. Make Sure Adoption Is Right for Your Circumstance
Adopting your stepchild is a tremendous responsibility that will impact everyone in your family. Discuss it with those involved, including your spouse, the stepchild, other children in the family, and perhaps even extended family members.
It’s easy to get swept up in the sentimental nature of adoption. However, it’s crucial to understand the legal ramifications. You and the child (if of sufficient age) should both comprehend the advantages and disadvantages of this type of legal procedure. For example, the biological parent whose role you are replacing will have his or her parental rights relinquished. This separation could be a great benefit if the parent is a negative influence or detrimental to the child in any way. But it also means that the parent no longer has financial responsibility for the child. As the child’s legal parent, you will become financially responsible for the child.
2. Having an Attorney Is Not Required, but It Is Recommended
You are not required to hire an attorney to adopt your stepchild. However, it can be a tedious and complicated process. Having an experienced Florida adoption attorney can move the process forward more quickly and smoothly. If you are confident in your ability to handle it yourself, make sure you understand all of the requirements for a stepparent adoption in Florida. Most people find it safer and easier to hire an attorney. In this case, you can contact us anytime to discuss your options. It is our privilege to work with families going through the adoption process.
3. You Need Permission From the Child’s Parents
The child’s parent whose role corresponds with yours must terminate his or her parental rights. In some cases, it may be difficult to obtain this permission. If you are in this situation, don’t give up. An attorney can prove very helpful in this type of circumstance. Every scenario is unique, so you should speak with an adoption professional if you find it challenging to obtain permission from the other parent.
4. It’s Not Free, but It’s Not Outrageously Expensive
Whether you hire an attorney or handle the process yourself, there are fees involved. It is not nearly as costly as a traditional private adoption. Furthermore, it is a much quicker process than a traditional private adoption. The exact cost varies depending on your circumstances and needs.
5. A Support System Is Valuable
Even if the legal process of adopting your stepchild is smooth and easy, it is a life-altering transition. Many people find it beneficial to have a support system in place to help navigate this change. You can reach out to close friends and family, look for community support groups in your area and find online resources for assistance. You are not alone, and you don’t need to go through this by yourself. Having a reliable support system will prove useful. Take some time to look around and locate resources that work best for you.
Choose an Experienced Adoption Attorney for Your Stepchild Adoption
Call 727-800-6681 to schedule a consultation with Tammi Driver, a Florida adoption attorney experienced in stepparent adoption.