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Your Complete Guide to Florida Adoption Laws

Every state has its own set of adoption laws, but understanding those laws and how they might impact your adoption can be confusing. But, doing so is important — that last thing you want to do is pursue an illegal and unethical adoption process.

Fortunately, you will have help navigating Florida adoption laws during your adoption journey. You won’t have to learn about these laws all on your own.

When you work with American Adoptions, you will be provided an adoption attorney and adoption specialist. Both of these professionals will be well-versed in the ins and outs of Florida adoption law. With their help, you can proceed with a safe and legal adoption journey. Remember: If you ever have questions about adoption in Florida with our agency, you can call us at 1-800-ADOPTION for free information any time.

Still, it’s helpful if you understand the basic laws about adoption before getting started. This will give you a sense of direction and understanding. To help you start your research, we’ve addressed some of the biggest subjects of Florida adoption laws below. However, please keep in mind that this information is not intended to be and should not be taken as legal advice.

Who Can Adopt in Florida?

According to Florida adoption laws, single adults or married couples may jointly adopt in the Sunshine State. 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. Know that 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. As a fully-licensed adoption agency, American Adoptions can provide all the services you need to complete your home study.

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.

Who Can Be Adopted in Florida?

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.

Florida Adoption Laws for Advertising

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.

Florida Adoption Laws for Prospective Birth Parent Expenses

The state of Florida maintains restrictions on allowable expenses that are permitted to prospective 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:

  • Prospective 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 are used in an 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. Prospective birth parent expenses are established on an individual basis, determined by the financial needs of the expectant mother. Reasonable payment of living expenses help ease the financial burden of pregnancy and birth for expectant mothers who must take time away from work.

Again, which Florida adoption laws will be applicable in your situation will depend upon your circumstances. Your specialist will always be there to answer your questions and refer you to a trusted attorney when you work with our agency.

In the meantime, you can call 1-800-ADOPTION or request free adoption information online to learn more about the adoption process in Florida and what you can expect moving forward.

Disclaimer
Information available through these links is the sole property of the companies and organizations listed therein. America Adoptions, Inc. provides this information as a courtesy and is in no way responsible for its content or accuracy.