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Family Law - Sonya Peterkin ESQ. - Law Office of S.A Peterkin, PLLC


Under Florida law, stepparents are permitted to adopt their stepchildren, provided that the proper procedures are followed. A stepparent adoption allows the stepparent to assume the same legal responsibilities and rights as a birth parent. The child’s birth certificate is amended to reflect the names of the stepparent and the natural parent. While stepparent adoptions are generally less complicated than private placement or agency adoptions, it is crucial to have the advice and guidance of an experienced family law attorney.

Stepparent adoptions are common when one biological parent is absent and the custodial parent remarries. To be eligible to adopt a stepchild in Florida, the prospective parent must be (1) married to legal parent of the child and (2) physically capable of caring for the child. In most circumstances the stepparent must have the consent of the biological parent whose rights are being terminated. However, the need for the consent may be waived in some situations where that person cannot be found or has abandoned the child or presents a hazard to the child.

Our dedicated team is prepared to handle stepparent adoptions for families in Central Florida. If you are considering adopting your spouse’s child, we will help you understand the legal implications and guide you through the stepparent adoption process, from filing the necessary court documents to representing you at the adoption hearing to formalizing the adoption. We will advocate for your interests every step of the way.

Starting the Process: Is the Stepparent Eligible to Adopt?

In Florida, stepparent adoption can be a beautiful way to solidify familial bonds, but certain eligibility criteria must be met before beginning the process. The first requirement is that the stepparent must be legally married to the child’s biological parent. This legal marriage establishes the stepparent's commitment and the stability of the family unit.


Next, the consent of the noncustodial biological parent is typically required. This involves the noncustodial parent voluntarily relinquishing their parental rights. If the noncustodial parent cannot be located or refuses to consent, the court may intervene. In such cases, the court will evaluate whether terminating the noncustodial parent’s rights is in the best interest of the child. Grounds for termination can include abandonment, neglect, or unfitness as a parent.


Additionally, the child’s consent is necessary if they are 12 years old or older. The court may also consider the child’s relationship with the stepparent and their overall adjustment to the home environment.


Consulting with an experienced family law attorney, like those at The Law Office of S.A. Peterkin, can help navigate these requirements and ensure a smooth adoption process. They provide the necessary legal guidance and support, ensuring that every step is in compliance with Florida law and focused on the child’s best interests.



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