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Stepparent/Grandparent Adoptions

At Meador Johnson & Bushnell, P.A., our experienced family law attorneys help individuals, couples and families facilitate all types of adoption, including:

  • Stepparent adoptions
  • Relative and grandparent adoptions
  • Domestic adoptions
  • Adoptions by same-sex couples
  • Surrogacy

Stepparent Adoption

Often, a stepparent wishes to adopt a stepchild to enhance their bond. This decision requires careful consideration of family circumstances and legal requirements. The first step is to file a petition for adoption with a Florida circuit court.

After the U.S. Supreme Court decided the Windsor and Obergefell cases, same-sex marriage was legalized across the United States. Many long-term partners have now legally married and confirmed their previous commitments to each other. A great many of these couples have also had children together during their relationships.

Our lawyers can assist same-sex couples with the legal adoption of their children by the nonbiological parent and with amending birth certificates to reflect both parents as their children's legal parents.

If a child's other parent is in regular contact and active in the child's life, a stepparent must obtain consent from that parent before a stepparent adoption can be completed. If the biological parent refuses to consent, the stepparent and his or her spouse may attempt to terminate the parental rights of the other parent. This may also be an option if the biological parent cannot be found or when an absent parent opposes an adoption.

Legal termination of parental rights is a serious matter that is likely to be approved only if one of these circumstances exists:

  • The biological parent agrees to terminate his or her parental rights.
  • The biological parent has abandoned or deserted the child.
  • A biological father who was not married to the mother of the child at the time of birth has not registered his paternity with Florida's Putative Father Registry prior to action to terminate his rights.
  • The biological parent has been declared incompetent and restoration of competency is medically unlikely.

If a child is at least 12 years old, he or she must also consent to the adoption.

Stepparent adoption is not a process that should be taken lightly. If a stepparent is successful in his or her petition to adopt a stepchild, he or she becomes a full legal guardian of the child before the court, with all the rights and responsibilities that it entails. Adoptive stepparents are required to provide the same financial and emotional support to the child as the birth parent.

We also assist individuals in adoption of a minor child by a blood relative such as a sibling, grandparent, uncle or aunt. Many of the same steps apply, and it is always best to consult with a knowledgeable adoption lawyer to ensure that all legal requirements are met.

Our lawyers provide aggressive, intelligent advocacy to clients throughout northwest Florida. Call 800-785-4969 or use our online contact form to schedule a consultation.