Adoption

BESIDES WEDDINGS, ADOPTIONS ARE ONE OF THE FEW JOYFUL THINGS THAT HAPPEN AT THE COURTHOUSE.

It is said that an adoption is like grafting a new branch onto a family tree. Every adoption changes history by creating new family relationships. Integrity Law assists with several varieties of adoption in Florida.

Private Adoptions are usually done by consent of one or both birth parents. In this type of adoption, the birth parent(s) selects the person or couple to adopt the child. The selected adoptive parent(s) will need to have a home study conducted to determine their fitness and ability to care for the child. Private adoptions are a two-step process. First the birth parents’ rights to the child are extinguished in one judicial proceeding. Next, the adoptive parent(s) petitions the court to adopt the child. Financial assistance is sometimes provided by the adoptive parent(s) to the birth parent(s).

Stepparent and Relative adoptions follow a different procedure. These adoptions are an expedited process whereby a stepparent or relative within the third degree of relation to the child petitions the court to adopt. It is a one-step process. The birth parents’ rights are extinguished and the adoption is granted in a single judicial proceeding. Also, the requirement for a home study is usually waived. Sometimes the adoption is contested by one or both birth parents and the adoptive parent must prove to the court that the child should be freed for adoption.

Some children become available to adopt after the State of Florida has stepped in to protect the child from abuse, abandonment or neglect. After the child is freed for adoption by the State, anyone may apply to adopt the child. Besides providing a forever home to a child, there are additional benefits that come with adoption through the dependency and foster care system. These benefits may include health insurance for the child, free public college tuition and monthly stipends. The State also covers the cost of filing and attorney’s fees for the adoptive parents.

Families come in all varieties and we pride ourselves in helping families secure permanent and legal relationships. Adoptions can be by consent or contested. There are all kinds of adoptions—single parent, second parent (same sex), step-parent, relative, post-dependency TPR, entity adoptions and even adult adoptions. Whatever your family looks like, we would be honored to help you finalize your adoption and reshape your family tree. Call us for a consultation today.

Types of Adoptions:

There are two categories of adoption covered by Florida law. One category is called open adoption, which occurs when the adoptive parents get the opportunity to know the birth mother or father. Both sets of parents may even commit to an agreement that defines the possibilities for interaction and visitation after the adoption takes place.

Closed adoption occurs when the birth and adoptive parents choose not to meet or contact each other once the child or children have been adopted.

Within these two main categories of adoption are a variety of subtypes:

 

1. Private or Direct Placement

Private or Direct Placement occurs when an adoption attorney acts as an intermediary between the birth parents and adoptive parents in order to place the child in a family with his or her best interests in mind. Private Adoptions are usually done by consent of one or both birth parents. In this type of adoption, the birth parent(s) selects the person or couple to adopt the child. The selected adoptive parent(s) will need to have a home study conducted to determine their fitness and ability to care for the child. Private adoptions are a two-step process. First the birth parents’ rights to the child are extinguished in one judicial proceeding. Next, the adoptive parent(s) petitions the court to adopt the child. Financial assistance is sometimes provided by the adoptive parent(s) to the birth parent(s).

2. Agency Adoption

Agency adoption also occurs through an intermediary who serves between a Florida agency and the adoptive parents. Some children become available to adopt after the State of Florida has stepped in to protect the child from abuse, abandonment or neglect. After the child is freed for adoption by the state, anyone may apply to adopt the child. Besides providing a forever home to a child, there are additional benefits that come with adoption through the dependency and foster care system. These benefits may include health insurance for the child, free public college tuition and monthly stipends. The state also covers the cost of filing and attorney’s fees for the adoptive parents.

3. Stepparent or Close Relative Adoption

Stepparent or Close Relative Adoption occurs when a stepparent or relative takes the proper steps to become the child’s legal parent, which means the parent assumes all legal responsibility for the child’s welfare. Stepparent and Relative adoptions follow a different procedure. These adoptions are an expedited process whereby a stepparent or relative within the third degree of relation to the child petitions the court to adopt. It is a one-step process. The birth parents’ rights are extinguished and the adoption is granted in a single judicial proceeding. Also, the requirement for a home study is usually waived. Sometimes the adoption is contested by one or both birth parents and the adoptive parent must prove to the court that the child should be freed for adoption.

It is important to remember that an adoption does not take place until after the birth of the child. An Integrity Law, our attorney will prepare you for the outcome of the adoption and help you every step of the way, including after official finalization.

Qualifications Considered when Adopting a Child in Florida

In Florida, prospective adoptive parents must undergo an extensive screening process before they are approved to adopt a child. Some elements of the screening process include:

    • Criminal background investigation
    • Interviews by one or more adoption officials
    • Home visits by one or more adoption officials
    • Reference checks
    • Medical and financial reviews
    • Counseling

At Integrity Law, we are the adoption attorneys you can trust. Our team has experience helping families at every juncture of the adoption process. Our attorneys know what it takes to efficiently bring your new family together with minimal delay. To schedule a free, introductory adoption consultation, contact Integrity Law today here or call us at 904-224-2100.

Surrogacy Agreements

Surrogacy law is not uniform across the country—it varies from state to state. A surrogacy agreement is the legal process by which a party reaches an agreement with another party to carry a child for them. This is one of the most selfless things an individual can do and requires expert legal advice to navigate. Integrity Law has legal minds who are experienced and well-versed in Florida’s surrogacy laws.

We will be with you every step of the way to provide our best legal advice, from start to finish. f you have any further questions about the process or would like a consultation, please contact us at (904)-224-2100.

Pregnancy Planning

Becoming a parent is exciting and daunting. Your life as you know it is going to change forever for the better. Here at Integrity Law, we have a knowledgeable staff that can sit down with you and help plan for your child’s future. We can guide you through the legal process of establishing a trust for your child and assigning a legal guardian in the case of an unforeseen circumstance. If you have any further questions about the pregnancy planning process or the services we provide, please contact us at (904)-224-2100.

Know Your Options for Adoption

When it comes to adoption, it is vital to have an expert attorney guide you through all that is available for you in order to make the best choices for your family. At Integrity Law, we understand all families have different necessities, and we will work until you have the best options to make this process stress-free for your family.

Florida’s ban on gay and lesbian adoption was ruled unconstitutional in 2010, making Florida the last state in the U.S. to take this crucial step towards equality. And on June 5, 2015, Governor Rick Scott signed the official repeal of the ban into law!

Since 2010, hundreds of parents have finally been able to adopt the children they have been raising, and they now have the ability to legally protect and care for their families. Others have stepped forward to adopt children stuck in foster care who want desperately to have a loving forever home.

Now that the ban has been removed from Florida statute, just five months after the arrival of marriage equality in Florida, we celebrate with the countless families whose lives have been made safer by legal adoption and legal marriage.

Jacksonville Adoption Attorney

Integrity Law has experience helping families at every juncture of the adoption process. Our attorneys know what it takes to efficiently bring your new family together with minimal delay. To schedule a free, introductory adoption consultation with Integrity Law, call us today at (904) 224-2100 or fill out a form here.