Facts About Grandparent Adoptions in Florida
It is increasingly common for children across the U.S. to be raised by relatives other than their biological parents. In Florida alone, it is estimated that 170,000 children—roughly 4% of all children in the state—live with a relative with no parent present. In many cases, when a parent is unable or unwilling to care for a child, it is the grandparents who step in to fill that role.
Even in cases where the grandparents act as caregivers to a child, they may not have the same legal status as biological parents. Thus, they may not have all the rights of parenthood even though, for all intents and purposes, they are acting as parents. Grandparent adoptions can help alleviate these problems, and working with the right adoption attorney can make the process of adopting a grandchild much easier.
Reasons for Grandparent Adoptions
Grandparents may adopt a grandchild for a variety of reasons. In many cases, the biological parent may recognize that they are unable or unwilling to fully care and provide for a child, leading them to reach out to their own parents for assistance. In other cases, it may be the grandparents who come to realize that their grandchildren are not being properly cared for, and take the initiative themselves.
Common Questions About Grandparent Adoptions in Florida
Family law in Florida allows for simplified and expedited procedures for adoption by relatives, including grandparents. Relative adoption, also known as kinship adoption, is governed by Section 63 of the Florida Statutes. It is recommended that you work with an adoption attorney to go through the process in detail, but the following overview will help with some of the more common questions you may have about grandparent adoptions:
- Is parental consent required?
The grandparent adoptions process will move much more quickly and easily with the consent of the biological parents. It is always better to obtain consent if possible. However, under Florida law, grandparents can file a petition to adopt a child even if the parents refuse consent, provided that there is evidence that the parents have physically or emotionally abused, abandoned, or neglected the child.
- How long does it take?
The length of the grandparent adoptions process varies depending on any number of factors, but if the current parents provide consent, then adoption by grandparents typically takes an average of two months.
- Is a home study required?
Generally, no. In most cases, Florida’s usual requirement for a home inspection prior to the finalization of adoption is not required in the case of a grandparent or other close relative. This is one of the main ways in which Florida law makes kinship adoption more streamlined than other forms of adoption.
- Is there an age requirement for grandparent adoptions?
No, there are no age restrictions or limits on grandparent adoptions in Florida.
When a grandparent adopts a grandchild, their legal relationship changes to that of parent and child. This has a range of legal ramifications, not the least of which is that the biological parents’ legal rights are terminated because a child cannot legally have more than one set of parents. In addition, adoption gives the grandparents all the legal rights of a parent, including child support and succession of property upon the grandparent’s death.
Learn More About Grandparent Adoptions in Florida by Calling Julie Beth Jouben, P.A.
While the State of Florida does provide a path for grandparents to adopt their grandchildren, understanding the process can be difficult, and at times overwhelming. That’s why we’re here to help. Contact Julie Beth Jouben, P.A. today at our office to learn more about grandparent adoptions in Florida and schedule a free legal consultation.