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An overview of adoption in Florida

While adoption can be an exciting event for a family, there are important rights at issue. The rights of the biological parents, for example, must be respected. Additionally, the age of a prospective adoptee could impact any adoption decisions as a child of at least 12 years of age must consent to being adopted. An adult can also be adopted in Florida, a matter that typically requires minimal involvement of an adoptee's biological parents.

During adoption proceedings, the termination of rights for biological parents must be verified. They could voluntarily give up their rights. In the case of a biological father who is unmarried, appropriate notice must be given to ensure that there is an opportunity to challenge the matter if desired. Failure to register one's paternity with the state could allow the process to move forward, but the state is still required to attempt notification of a biological father. A biological mother cannot give up parental rights until at least the date of discharge from a hospital or until 48 hours have passed since the birth. The earlier of these times is applicable. There must not be coercion in getting a biological parent to renounce their rights.

In some cases, the state could intervene on behalf of a child whose parents have been neglectful or abusive. Adoption could also involve a stepparent or close relative taking legal responsibility for a child whose biological parent is no longer living. The matter must still be established through legal avenues to be valid.

An adoption lawyer could be an important source of guidance for a family seeking an opportunity to adopt. A lawyer might also provide references for agencies that could locate an eligible child for adoption.

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