A stepparent may legally adopt a stepchild so long as he or she meets the requirements and completes the proper legal proceedings. When a stepparent legally adopts a stepchild, it is type of "relative adoption" in which the child is adopted by someone who is related to them by marriage. Once the adoption process is complete, the adopted child will be legally treated as a biological child of the stepparent and will be treated as such in regard to custody, child support, inheritance and properly laws, and criminal laws.
The family law attorneys at Draper Law Office concentrate solely on uncontested stepparent adoptions. Under Florida law, the biological parents must give consent for the stepparent to adopt the stepchild, or the parental rights must first be terminated before the stepparent will be able to adopt the stepchild. In an uncontested stepparent adoption, consent must be obtained from:
- The biological mother of the minor.
- The biological father of the minor if:
- The minor was conceived or born while the father was married to the mother;
- The minor is his child by adoption;
- The minor has been established by a court proceeding to be his child;
- He has filed an affidavit of paternity pursuant to section 382.013(2)(c) Florida Statutes; or
- In the case of an unmarried biological father, he has acknowledged in writing, signed in the presence of a competent witness, that he is the father of the minor, has filed such acknowledgment with the Office of Vital Statistics of the Department of Health within the required timeframes, and has complied with the requirements of section 63.062(2), Florida Statutes.
The parental rights of the biological parent who is not married to the stepparent will be terminated. That parent will no longer be responsible for providing child support payments, or have any legal rights to the child, including visitation rights.
A stepparent may wish to adopt their stepchild for a number of reasons. After adoption the once-stepchild will be treated just as a biological child would, with all the same legal rights. A stepparent may need to complete the adoption process for guardianship reasons. For example, if the biological parent dies the stepparent would have no legal guardianship with the stepchild, which could lead to the loss of visitation rights. So long as the adoption process is completed, there would not be a question of guardianship rights. Adoption also shows commitment to the child, which may provide him or her with emotional security.
If you are considering a stepparent adoption, contact us today at (866) 767-4711 or via our online contact form. It would be an honor to help you legally adopt your stepchild. We proudly serve the greater Central Florida area with offices located in Kissimmee, Orlando, and St. Cloud.