If your spouse is not your child’s parent, he or she may decide to adopt your child. Florida has specific guidelines for stepparent adoption if you make this choice for your family.
Review the factors that affect the process of having a stepparent become your child’s legal parent in Florida.
Parental consent for adoption
You and your spouse must obtain consent for the adoption from your child’s other biological parent, which requires him or her to surrender parental rights. You can also petition the court to terminate the other parent’s rights in cases involving neglect, abandonment or abuse. If you were single at the time your child was born, the biological father may not have legal paternity rights but must receive at least 30 days notice to contest the adoption.
As with any type of Florida adoption, children ages 12 and older must give legal consent to a stepparent adoption. The judge will interview your child about his or her preferences. However, the court can waive this requirement if the judge finds that adoption by your spouse serves your child’s best interests.
Unlike other types of Florida adoptions, a stepparent adoption does not require a home study. After your spouse adopts your child, he or she has all the same rights and responsibilities as a biological parent, even if your marriage eventually ends in divorce. Your family may wish to take this step if your spouse has a close relationship with your children and they do not have an existing relationship with the other biological parent.