Our Guide to Relative or Grandparent Adoption in Florida

Our Guide to Relative or Grandparent Adoption in Florida

Pursuing relative or kinship adoption in Florida means that a grandparent, uncle, aunt, or sibling will do the adopting. Florida legislation has paved the way to facilitate adoptions by relatives, making it easier for people to be safe with their families. Chapter 63 of the Florida Statutes covers the adoption procedure, similar to a stepparent adoption.

Thanks to Florida law, more children will be accounted for by their relatives and grandparents, giving them safe options to escape abusive situations if their current or biological parents are unfit to care for them. Here is what you need to know about relative or grandparent adoption in Florida:  

The Steps to a Florida Relative or Grandparent Adoption

The first step a relative or grandparent must do is file a petition in the Circuit County of the Court where the grandchild lives. They may also file it where the attorney is located to assist in the process.

The next step is to include the necessary consent, including express permission from the biological parents. Without it, grandparent adoption will be challenging.

The third step is to attach the required documents to the petition, including the Indian Child Welfare Act Affidavit, the birth certificate, and copies of other court orders concerning the grandchild’s custody or support. An attorney will help you gather all the documents you need.

Then, the case will be assigned to a judge, in which you must contact the judicial office to arrange a hearing. The judge will review the case at the hearing and decide to grant the adoption if everything is in proper order. 

Depending on the circumstances, a child’s biological parents may not be the best guardians to raise and support a child. The family members, relatives, and grandparents can then step up to help. Through relative or grandparent adoption, the family members have full legal parental rights over the child.

The Cost of Relative or Grandparent Adoption

This kind of adoption tends to be more affordable than other similar legal processes, although you will have to pay attorney fees. However, you will likely qualify for the adoption tax credit, which can help you save money as it reduces your income tax by the adoption expenses. However, stepparent adoption does not qualify for this benefit.

Seeking Consent for Relative or Grandparent Adoption

Florida law has made it easier for relatives to adopt a child because they can allow such adoptions to occur even when the current parent contests or refuses to sign it. While consent is generally required, some exceptions can be made, especially when factoring in the child’s treatment by their parents. If the parent has emotionally or financially abandoned the child or demonstrated inappropriate, abusive behavior, then adoptions can be granted without consent. 

Adoption Process Length

If the current or biological parents consent to an adoption, then it will take only one to two months for the process to complete. A bulk of that period is spent waiting to arrange a hearing with the judge assigned to the case. In this type of adoption, involved parties do not have to terminate the current parents’ rights before the hearing, allowing the process to be completed in one proceeding.

Conclusion

Family adoptions’ laws greatly vary per state, but they’re more streamlined in Florida. In fact, grandparent adoptions are widespread in the Sunshine State. If you or a loved one are exploring relative or grandparent adoption to provide the best care and support for a child, be sure to speak with an attorney to enjoy a smooth process. 

Parra Harris Law is a local family law litigation firm specializing in Florida divorce issues, child support, grandparent adoption, alimony, domestic violence injunctions, and many more. We are fully bilingual and capable of supporting clients in English and Spanish. Contact us today to find out how we can assist you.

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Paola Parra Harris