The decision to adopt a child is a momentous and joyous occasion for any family. Whether seeking to adopt from a licensed adoption agency or becoming the legal parents of an existing family member, making the decision to adopt is only the first step in a potentially complicated legal process that severs the child’s relationship with their birth family and transfers the responsibility for their care to a new family.

There are four different paths to adoption in Florida, each one requiring a different legal procedure:

Entity Adoption

The prospective parents work through an intermediary “entity” to find and adopt a child (FL Statute 63.049, 085).

Stepparent Adoption

A stepparent seeks to obtain full parental rights from one of the child’s biological parents.

Close Relative Adoption

When a child’s parents are unable or unwilling to provide care for their child, a close relative may seek to secure full parental rights for the wellbeing of the child.

Adult Adoption

The adoptive parent establishes a legal parental relationship with another adult, usually a stepchild or foster child.

Once the adoption is finalized, the legal relationship between the child and the adopted parents is identical to the legal relationship between a child and their birth parents. While the State of Florida permits any adult of good character and the ability to provide and care for a child to seek adoption, the process itself can be long and difficult, involving the consent of the biological parents, legal custodians, the court, or possibly even the child.

Experienced Family Lawyers Can Help Make Adoptions Smoother

No matter what form of adoption you’re pursuing, the best first step is to contact an experienced family law attorney. The lawyers at Mulligan and Associates can provide the knowledge, experience, and support you need to navigate the adoption process as quickly as possible so you can welcome a new member to your family. With services in Hernando, Citrus, and Sumter County, we’re committed to meeting the legal needs of residents throughout the Nature Coast of Florida. Contact us today for an initial consultation.

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