An adoption can be uncontested or it can be a contested adoption.
There are several types of adoptions. The most common form of adoption is a step-parent adoption. The Florida statute allows a step-parent to adopt a parent’s child(ren) which would give the step-parent all the rights and obligations of a legal parent. Once the step-parent adoption is finalized the legal parent no longer has any rights or obligations to the child(ren). However, if the legal parent still owes the other parent child support prior to the adoption being finalized then that parent still has to fulfill that ongoing child support obligation as well as any child support arrears until the adoption becomes finalized.
An adoption can become uncontested after the Petition for Adoption is filed with the Clerk of the Court and the legal parent signs a written consent to allow the step-parent to adopt the child(ren). This consent by the legal parent is also filed with the Clerk of the Court. Another way to obtain an uncontested adoption is through service of process by publication. This procedure is utilized when a parent does not know the whereabouts of the other legal parent after due diligence. The courts frown upon this procedure however, adoption by publication may be the only viable option. An example of an adoption by publication is if the child(ren) have been abandoned by the other legal parent and you do not know the whereabouts of the legal parent. Under that example there may be no other alternative but to give the legal parent notice by publication.
A contested adoption is after the Petition for Adoption has been filed with the Clerk of Courts and served on the other legal parent. The will then file an answer to the Petition for Adoption legal parent is contesting or disagreeing with the party seeking adoption of the child(ren). The Judge will ultimately hear the evidence and the testimony at trial to determine what is in the child(ren)’s best interest. For example, if a legal parent, had no contact with the child(ren) for many years and the requesting adoptive parent was not at fault for the other parent abandoning the child(ren) than that will be a very important factor in the Judge’s final decision.
It is important to note that if an adoption is contested the parent and step-parent have a high burden to convince the Judge that the step parent adoption should be granted.
For further information or questions you can contact our office at 305-557-1750, 24/7 for a free consultation. Office hours are from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 pm, Monday to Friday and Saturdays from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm.