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What are parents' rights during adoption?

Adoption is a wonderful process -- a person or couple opens their home and heart to a new child who needs a family. The process can be complex in Florida, and an attorney is often a quintessential aide in navigating adoption.

Who can adopt a child?

In Florida, adults of legal age who demonstrate good character and the abilities to nurture and provide for a child may adopt a child. Single adults and married couples are eligible to be adoptive parents.

It is illegal to deny adoption to a person or couple based on financial status alone. This is also true in the case of physical disability, unless that disability makes it impossible to properly care for a child.

What are an adoptive parent's rights?

A finalized adoption gives adoptive parents the exact same rights as a biological parent relationship, including legal responsibilities and approval for medical procedures. Florida law contains no exception to the premise.

Biological parents and adoptive parents rights and responsibilities are both considered by Florida courts, although biological parents rights are primary until they are voluntarily surrendered or have failed to act on them or protect them.

How can an attorney help with an adoption?

An attorney may act as an intermediary for a parent and state services. In several types of adoptions, a home study is required, and an attorney can arrange this with an agency or licensed social worker.

Once the adoptive parent's home has been assessed, the attorney must get the written permission of all parties involved and inform them of any legal risks involved. The responsible agency monitors a placement for at least 90 days.

The right attorney can help adoptive parents negotiate these state requirements and maintain a healthy, happy home for an adopted child.

Source: Florida Bar Association, "Adoption in Florida," accessed July 14, 2017

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