Adoption & Family Building
Adoption is the legal procedure by which a child becomes, through court action, a legal member of a family other than that of the child’s birth parents. There are several types of adoption, the most common of which is an Entity Adoption.
Adopted children of divorcing parents require special attention and consideration. Adopted children can already feel like an outsider, especially if biological children are involved. We will make every effort to ensure that adopted children are treated fairly and respectfully.
The decisions surrounding the future and the custody of an adopted child is to be determined by the courts. Florida has four types of adoption, all of which are unique and complicated during a divorce. Our firm will address all your questions and concerns to ensure as easy a transition as possible.
Entity adoption is the most common adoption. An entity adoption is where an adoption agency or intermediary is involved. Entity adoptions may become quite complicated during a divorce because both parties will want to establish custody, or “time-sharing” plans, including where and when the child will spend his/her time.
Because of the complicated procedures, you will need to know your rights. Florida laws can be very perplexing. We want you to know your rights and will clarify the procedures to determine the best plan to represent you.
A step-parent adoption is just that – the step-parent adopts a stepchild. In many cases, one of the natural parents of the child is not involved in the child’s life and in order to become as involved a parent as possible, the step-parent will adopt the stepchild.
Generally, a step-parent will adopt a step-child for the following reasons:
- The biological parent has abandoned the child.
- The biological parent’s parental rights have been terminated by a court order.
- The biological parent has been declared judicially incompetent and restoration of competency is medically improbable. Stepparent adoptions are common when one biological parent is willing to relinquish parental rights to the stepparent.
Does a stepparent have the same rights as a biological parent?
Yes, if the stepparent legally adopts the stepchild. After adoption, the stepparent has all rights and responsibilities of the biological parent. If you are a step-parent who has adopted your spouse’s child and in the process or considering a divorce, our firm can help you during this confusion and stressful transition.
Close Relative Adoption
A close relative adoption generally involves an extended family member who wishes to adopt a minor child. This type of adoption generally occurs when a parent dies and a relative, such as an aunt or uncle, or in some cases, a grandparent — adopts the minor child. This is a permanent option and usually more preferable than foster care or guardianship.
Sometimes this occurs when a child has already been living with a family member who has acted as the guardian or parental figure, and the family decides to legally protect the child’s status through a relative adoption. In other situations, a legal parent may be unable to provide for the child and relinquishes parental rights to a family member.
For whatever reason, a child’s biological parents are neither capable nor willing to actively parent the child. Fortunately, the child’s family members can adopt the child. The adoption grants the family members full legal parental rights. When children are adopted by a relative, this relieves the child and family of guardianship by the state.
Close Relative Adoptions may require additional legal support for your case. Our firm will discuss the options and requirements regarding custody of a close relative adoptee.
An adult adoption occurs when someone wishes to adopt a child of majority, which is age 18 in Florida. When a family or individual is concerned with inheritance rights, such as a step-parent who decided to include the step-children as heirs to the estate, an adult adoption is considered.
Maybe you finally found a child you’d given up for adoption? Now he just happens to be 30. Or maybe you were reunited with your birth mother and want to make her your official, legal mom. It is both legal and possible to adopt an adult. In many cases, your new adult family member must simply be of legal adult and voluntarily agree to the adoption.
Adopting an adult can occur for both practical and emotional reasons. Some common reasons for adopting an adult in Florida include the desire to legally recognize a person for the purpose of inheritance, medical decisions and other legal and binding issues. Contact our office for more information.
Modern medicine and science have allowed opportunities for conceiving children through artificial insemination, in vitro fertilization, and embryo transplantation. These new techniques have also created legal questions and disputes regarding the child’s status and the rights and designation of the parents.
If you are considering parenthood and seek different solutions or avenues, our office can help.
For many, the path to parenthood is not always as planned or envisioned, especially after issues of infertility or in some cases, knowing from the start there will be difficulty.
An option often overlooked is surrogacy. In the process of surrogacy, the person or couple called the intended parent contracts with a surrogate or gestational carrier to carry the pregnancy. Simply defined, a surrogate is a woman who carries a pregnancy for another person or couple.
Are there different types of surrogacy arrangements?
Yes. There are two types of surrogacy arrangements: traditional and gestational. Traditional surrogacy involves a genetic tie to the child the surrogate carries. She is artificially inseminated by the male intended parent. Due to various legal reasons, traditional surrogacy is not as common or recommended as frequently as is gestational surrogacy.
Gestational surrogacy is when the surrogate or gestational carrier does not have a genetic tie to the child. The intended parents undergo in vitro fertilization (IVF), provide the egg and sperm and create an embryo to transfer to the gestational carrier. There are also other circumstances where one of the intended parents will contribute their egg or sperm but a sperm donor or egg donor or even a donated embryo is used in the process.
IVF: In Vitro Fertilization
In Vitro Fertilization (“IVF”) is another way to conceive. Much like gestational surrogacy, the intended parents undergo in vitro fertilization (IVF), and create an embryo to transfer to the gestational carrier, usually the intended mother.
There are also other circumstances where one of the intended parents will contribute their egg or sperm but a sperm donor or egg donor or even a donated embryo is used in the process. Generally speaking, where the egg is donated by another woman, the birth mother will be treated as the legitimate mother of the child in the eyes of the law. There are special concerns for couples when it comes to establishing parental rights of children born as a result of IVF.
There are numerous issues that may arise with respect to the procedure of in vitro fertilization. Before considering IVF, you may wish to consult us to find out what relevant regulations are applicable in your case.
You may have heard about frozen embryo transfers and may be confused or concerned, and if you are considering this method, you may want to learn your legal rights.
This process that instead of the female patient going through ovarian stimulation at the start of each cycle of In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF), embryos from a previous cycle are thawed ready for implant instead. This diminishes the time necessary for each cycle. IVI offers single embryo transfer during IVF, meaning that the remaining embryos can be vitrified, ready to be used in future cycles.
Because of the numerous choices, there are many processes and legal procedures you’ll need to navigate throughout this confusing journey and we are here to help you.