Every state has its own set of adoption laws, but understanding those laws and how they might impact your adoption can be confusing. Remember that if you have any questions about Florida adoption laws, you can contact 1-800-ADOPTION for free information any time.
While the following information can help you learn more about local adoption laws, it should not be viewed as legal advice. Please consult your attorney if you have legal questions about your adoption. In the meantime, this basic guide to the domestic adoption laws in Florida will help you understand how these Florida adoption laws may impact your adoption:
Single adults or married couples may jointly adopt in Florida. A married person may adopt individually without their spouse with the court’s approval — typically if it’s considered to be in the best interest of the child or if the spouse is already the legal parent of the adoptee (meaning it’s a stepparent adoption).
Florida adoption law previously prohibited LGBT individuals from adopting. But in 2010, this law was ruled unconstitutional. Same-sex couples are always welcome at American Adoptions.
All potential adoptive parents must be approved by a Florida adoption home study, which includes background checks, interviews, home inspections and more. Prospective adoptive parents must also meet the individual requirements to adopt established by their adoption professional, as well as the requirements necessary for the type of adoption they wish to pursue.
Anyone may be adopted in Florida. Children aged 12 or older must give their consent to the adoption unless the court decides that waiving the child’s consent is in their best interest.
Only licensed Florida adoption agencies may advertise for adoption within the state. It’s illegal for anyone other than professional adoption agencies or adoption attorneys to advertise in any way that a child is available to be adopted or to advertise that someone is seeking a child to adopt.
The state of Florida maintains restrictions on allowable expenses that are permitted to birth parents in adoption. Adoption laws in Florida regulate what types of funds and what amount adoptive parents and/or adoption agencies are allowed to assist with. Allowable adoption expenses in Florida include:
Birth parent expenses incurred during pregnancy and up to six weeks postpartum, such as reasonable living expenses and necessary medical expenses
Court filing fees, court costs and any other court administrative fees
Advertising costs incurred by the adoption professional
The cost of the birth certificate and medical records
Reasonable fees for professional services involved in the pregnancy or adoption process, such as legal representation, counseling services, or home study fees
If an adoption professional or the Florida Department of Children and Family Service is used in your adoption, the adoptive family is responsible for paying that party for any services rendered. All prospective parents must file a signed affidavit with an itemized list of services of value that have been exchanged. The affidavit should include all payments involved throughout the adoption.
According to adoption laws in Florida, court approval is need for expenses deemed excessive, such as:
Court costs of $800 or more
Legal costs of $5,000 or more
Medical costs or living expenses of $5,000 or more
The following costs are prohibited by Florida adoption laws:
Expenses that are not itemized within an affidavit filed by the adoptive parents with the court
Expenses listed in the affidavit that don’t specify the type of service provided, the date it was provided on, who provided the service, the hourly fee charged, or the time required to provide the service
Expenses that constitute as payment for locating a child for adoption
American Adoptions has a Risk-Sharing Program that financially protects adoptive families in case of disrupted adoptions. Birth parent expenses are established on an individual basis, determined by the financial needs of the expectant mother. Reasonable living expenses help ease the financial burden of pregnancy and birth for expectant mothers who must take time away from work.
Call 1-800-ADOPTION to learn more about adoption laws in Florida and how these laws can affect your individual adoption.
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