A stepparent adoption in Florida allows a stepparent to obtain parental rights over their stepchild. When a stepparent adoption is granted, the adopting stepparent becomes the legal parent of the adoptee and has all the rights and obligations of a biological parent, including providing a stable home, paying child support in the event of a divorce and raising that child with the love and attention they deserve. In addition, in most cases the adoptee's last name will be changed, and the birth certificate will be amended to reflect the stepparent as the adoptee's nature parent.
In order to adopt a stepchild in Florida the stepparent will need the consent of the biological parents or termination of the parental rights of the biological parent that is no longer in the adoptees life. Once consent is obtained the stepparent and their spouse (the other biological parent) may file a joint petition for stepparent adoption along with all of the required documentation.
In most cases, the Court will require that a criminal and abuse background check be conducted of the adopting stepparent by Department of Children and Families. There will also need to be a diligent search done of the Punitive Father Registry with the State of Florida.
Once all the documentation is submitted to the Court, a final hearing will be requested.
A stepparent adoption legalizes the parental relationship of the stepparent and the adoptee, and the adopted child enjoys all of the rights as if the child were born as the biological child of the adopting stepparent.
Stepparent adoptions are the most enjoyable part of being family law attorney for me. It's a beautiful thing.