Thursday, September 13, 2012

Step- Parent Adoption: What About The Other Natural Parent

A step-parent adoption always requires one natural parent to lose parental rights. The natural parent losing rights must consent to the termination of rights to the child. If the natural parent does not consent, one of the following must have occurred to proceed with the adoption:

Natural parent has abandoned the child financially or emotionally
Natural parent has been incarcerated for the majority of the child’s life
Natural parent is deceased (Must provide Death Certificate)
Natural parent is prohibited from having a relationship with the child

In circumstances where the natural parent is unlocatable, a diligent search must be executed. After the search, if the whereabouts of the natural parent are not discovered, Florida law requires one to serve constructively by advertising for the individual.  A newspaper ad must appear in the area where the natural parent was last seen, once a week for four weeks.

Upon completion of the search, if the natural parent has been located, he/she must be served with notice of the adoption. Receiving legal notice allows the natural parent to respond to the proceeding. If he/she does not respond within the designated time allotted and appear at the proceeding, he/she waives their legal rights. 

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Florida Adoption Home Study
An adoption home study is completed to assess your ability to provide a safe and stable environment in which to raise a child. A home study begins with a social worker. The social worker will come into the home and conduct an interview with the prospective parent(s). The social worker can be a privately hired social worker or a government social worker with the Department of Children and Families depending on the type of adoption.
While there, he/she will ask questions in regards to your parenting philosophy, criminal history, financial circumstance, and other relevant information. A tour of the home is also required to assess the environment and child safety.  In addition, the prospective adoptive parents will need to provide fingerprints and criminal background checks. The social worker will then assemble the evaluation notes and requested documentation into a written report, which will be submitted to the adoption agency and/or attorney assigned to the adoption case. A child cannot legally be placed in the home without a completed home study.
A Home Study will include:
·         Home Visit with Personal Interview
·         Criminal Background Check
·         Documentation: Finances, Employment, Marital Status, and Personal References
This list may not be inclusive based on circumstance.
            In the state of Florida, the type of adoption and your familial relationship to the potential adoptee will determine if a home study is required by law. Florida State statute requires all non- related prospective parents to undergo a home study evaluation. A home study is not required in cases of relative adoption within three degrees of relation and step-parent adoption.
A Home Study IS required if:
·         You are privately adopting from a licensed adoption agency (non-relative)
·         You are publicly adopting from The Department of Children and Families (unless waived)
·         You are adopting internationally (relative and non-relative)
Home Study is NOT required if:
·         You are adopting a step-child or a relative within three degrees of relationship
·         You are a foster parent adopting your foster child (a home study has already been completed to become a foster parent)