The act of adopting a child is about a new beginning for everyone involved. While the process can be exciting, it is also not without stress. The requirements and legal hurdles can be confusing, especially without the guidance of a knowledgeable family attorney.
If you are considering adoption, it is crucial that you seek out the help of experienced legal counsel who can assist with all of the important questions. Should you adopt through an agency or through the foster care system? Will you be adopting a non-U.S. citizen? Are you a same-sex couple looking to adopt? A Florida adoption lawyer in Coral Gables can provide the legal support to see you through this important process.
Who Can Adopt in Coral Gables?
For the most part, any adult that is considered a “fit parent” according to Florida law is qualified to adopt a child. As long as the person seeking to adopt has reached the age of 18, their age will likely not prevent them from moving forward with the adoption. However, certain private agencies might prefer that a prospective parent falls within a set age range.
This does not mean that anyone can adopt a child whenever they choose. There is a thorough process that applicants go through to determine if they are suitable. Some of the aspects that are taken into consideration for eligibility include:
- Mental and emotional health;
- Physical health and mobility;
- Financial stability;
- Criminal background; and
- Relationship status.
A Coral Gables attorney can further advise on what to expect when pursuing adoption.
The Adoption Process
While the adoption process is not always exactly the same each time, a series of events must occur in each case. The process can take time, but a Coral Gables adoption attorney could help avoid some of the most common delays and pitfalls. There are also four types of adoptions, each with their own procedures: entity adoption (adoption through an agency), stepparent adoption, close relative adoption, and adult adoption.
Consent of the Birth Parents
A critical aspect of the adoption process is securing the birth parents’ consent. Sometimes this is unnecessary, specifically in cases where parental rights have already been terminated. This process is not always easy. Even if a decision is reached regarding adopting a child when they are in the womb, these agreements are not legally binding once the child is born. The right attorney could help reduce the chances of a last-minute change of heart.
Before most adoptions can take place, Florida courts require an independent social study to be carried out by a social worker. This process involves the social worker interviewing the potential parents and their family members to determine if they are fit to raise a child. This step usually involves looking into their criminal records, professional history, health, and financial stability.
An adoption will not become final until the hearing occurs. Formal notice must be provided to all interested parties. During the hearing, the court will work to ensure that both biological parents willfully give up their parental rights if they have not done so already. Although they are not binding, Florida courts will also consider the results of the social study. If the Judge signs off, the adoption will proceed.
Reach Out to a Florida Adoption Attorney in Coral Gables Today
Adoption can represent a significant turning point in your life and the lives of your loved ones. The adoptive parents are required to care for the child as if the child were a child naturally born to them. However, the process of adding a new member to your family is not always simple and requires careful legal planning. A Coral Gables adoption lawyer can be at your side as you navigate this process and welcome a new member into your family. Reach out today to schedule a free consultation.