Family Law Attorneys Counseling Prospective Parents in the Jacksonville Area
The Jacksonville adoption lawyers at Ellis and Bryant represent people throughout Northeast Florida in a wide range of family law matters. Adopting a child is a significant life decision that can also raise a number of legal issues. As a result, it is important to have an experienced attorney in your corner. We are seasoned family law and child custody attorneys who understand how to navigate the adoption process. Our lawyers know how much bonding with a child means to you, and we can guide you through each step with proficiency and personal attention.
Who Can Adopt?
Adoption establishes a legal parent-child relationship between the adoptive parent(s) and the child. That relationship is the same under the law as between biological parents and their children. Florida law allows people who live and work in the Sunshine State to adopt children. That includes married couples and single people, as well as a stepparent adopting a spouse’s child. Moreover, Florida law no longer bans lesbian and gay couples or individuals from adopting a child in the state. Nor does the law stop a physically disabled person from adopting a child, as long as he or she is capable of being a parent. No matter your situation, the adoption attorneys at our Jacksonville firm are ready to assist you with asserting your right to adopt a child.
Legal Requirements for Adoption
For an adoption to be effective, it must be approved by a Florida judge. Children who are at least 12 years old must be interviewed and consent to the adoption.
The person seeking the adoption needs to show that the child’s biological parents have terminated the legal relationship. In the event of a step-parent adoption, only the child’s other biological parent must give up parental rights. That can be accomplished by having the biological parent sign a consent form. There are a number of rules about who needs to sign the consent form and when that person can do it. If the other biological parent does not wish to surrender their parental rights, however, the process can become fiercely contested and may need to be litigated in court. It then becomes a matter of proving that the other biological parent is unfit. The person seeking an adoption can present evidence to prove that the biological parent abandoned, neglected, or abused the child in a way that severed the relationship. Our Jacksonville adoption attorneys can build this type of case on your behalf.
Stepparents and close relatives are eligible for a streamlined process in which the adoption is made final at the same time that the biological parent’s rights are terminated. For everyone else, there is a waiting period following the termination of parental rights that varies based on the type of adoption process.
Occasionally, a person decides after they have become an adult that they want to be adopted by an older adult who has played a key role in their life. Consent or proof of severance is not required in adult adoption situations, as long as the person being adopted agrees to the adoption. This process is typically efficient and uneventful, although the appropriate paperwork still needs to be filed to make the adoption valid.
Contact a Knowledgeable Adoption Lawyer in Jacksonville or Surrounding Communities
At Ellis and Bryant, we have significant experience representing clients in adoption and the full range of other family law matters, such as child support and custody. We work tirelessly to resolve these matters smoothly and efficiently while ensuring that our clients’ rights are protected and advanced at every step of the way. Our attorneys are committed to standing by the people whom we represent during this important time in their lives. We are proud to assist our neighbors in Jacksonville, Jacksonville Beach, Orange Park, Middleburg, and other communities in Duval, St. Johns, Nassau, and Clay Counties during their times of need. Call us at (904) 551-4120 or contact us online to set up a free consultation with a lawyer.