Can Biological Parents Change Their Minds in Stepparent Adoptions?
Stepparent adoptions represent an exciting milestone for a family. The legal complexities of stepparent adoptions typically require the assistance of a Florida adoption attorney who is well versed in family law. This is particularly true for any stepparent who now faces a biological parent who signed a Consent but then changed his or her mind and is now seeking to block the adoption. If this describes your situation, read further to learn how biological parents can revoke their consent in stepparent adoptions.
Stepparent Adoptions in Florida
Stepparents often play an active role in a child’s life. The step-parent may pay the majority of the child’s living expenses, coach the child’s soccer team and help with homework on a daily basis. However, step-parent adoptions are not based upon who is the best parent. The biological parent’s rights are protected. If the biological parent does not either consent to the adoption or the Court does not find that the biological parent abused, abandoned or neglected the child, then a step-parent adoption will not go forward.
Can Stepparent Adoptions be Revoked in Florida?
Can the Birth Parent Sign a Consent and Then Change his Mind in Florida?
The Court must have grounds to terminate the birth mother or birth father’s parental rights before a stepparent adoption can be granted. If the biological parent signs a Consent to the adoption, the adoption may proceed smoothly. There are many reasons why a birth parent may sign a consent. Sometimes, the birth mother or birth father has not played an active role in the child’s life and wants to give the child the opportunity to be adopted by the person actually caring for the child. Other times, the biological parent wants to stop paying child support. Whatever the reason, a correctly executed Consent to adoption will give the Court sufficient grounds to terminate the biological parent’s rights so that the stepparent adoption can be granted. It is imperative to have an adoption attorney supervise the taking of the birth parent’s consent to ensure that all legal requirements have been met.
What happens if the birth parent changes his or her mind after signing the Consent? If the child is over six months of age, then the biological parent has a statutory grace period during which he or she may revoke the consent to adoption. This statutory grace period is only three days long. This short period benefits the stepparent as it minimizes the chances that the birth parent will change his or her mind. The process for revocation of a Consent is specifically laid out in the Consent document itself. If the Consent is not revoked within the statutory grace period, the birth parent will have to go to Court to contest the adoption. In Court, the biological parent will need to convince the court that fraud or duress played a role in the adoption process.
Proving fraud or duress can be very difficult. Duress involves violence, threats, or other actions that force another individual to act against their will. Fraud involves deception that results in personal gain. Only the most extreme circumstances tend to support findings of duress or fraud in the takings of Consent for adoptions. Your adoption attorney will take precautions when dealing with the biological parent so that there are no grounds for a fraud or duress claim.
How Adoption Attorneys Assist with Stepparent Adoptions
Florida family law attorneys may serve a variety of roles through the adoption process. They may act as a representative for the adopting stepparent or as an adoption entity. An adoption attorney will ensure that all procedural requirements are met when taking the birth parent’s consent to minimize the potential for later claims of impropriety. If you are fighting a birth parent attempting to revoke his or her consent to your stepparent adoption, a family law attorney can guide you through the complex legal system and advise you of your legal rights.
For assistance with stepparent adoptions, contact Julie Beth Jouben, P.A. for skilled, knowledgeable legal representation. The adoption process in the state of Florida can be complicated. Ensure your rights are protected by retaining an experienced family law attorney. Contact us today at 727-449-9929 for a complimentary consultation.