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.