Each state’s adoption laws can vary, so it is important that if you are considering adopting a child in Florida that you become familiar with Florida’s adoption laws.
Florida adoption laws are in place to protect the birth parents, the prospective adoptive parents, and the child being adopted. You will want to find an adoption agency or an adoption lawyer who is very knowledgeable in the Florida adoption laws.
We will cover some of the legal specifics for those adopting in Florida involving newborn adoptions through the domestic adoption process, as well as adopting an infant or older child through the foster care system.
Click on the following to jump to an area of interest:
- Adoption Requirements in Florida
- Adoption Consent in Florida
- Florida Subsidies for Foster Care Adoption
- Florida Adoption Advertising Laws
- Birth Parent Expenses in Florida
- Accessing Adoption Records in Florida
- Post Adoption Contact Laws in Florida
- When are Adoption Birth Certificates Issued in Florida?
With so many aspects of Florida’s adoption laws and their corresponding policies, it is impossible to cover them all in one article. We will, however, dive into many facets of the adoption laws in Florida.
You are strongly encouraged to contact a licensed adoption agency or an adoption lawyer for specific adoption laws and policies in Florida, as laws and policies do change.
Can you adopt without a lawyer? How much do adoption attorneys cost? Learn all that and more by visiting Adoption Lawyers in Florida: Do You Need an Adoption Attorney? where we also give you step-by-step instructions on how to vet an adoption lawyer.
Adoption Requirements in Florida
- May be 20 to 60 to adopt
- One may be either single or married.
- LGBT couples may adopt.
- Thorough background check.
- Florida is very vague adoption requirements.
It is common knowledge that adoption is costly, but that is not to be confused with a false expectation that a prospective parent should be well off financially. Financial security is important and expected when applying to adopt a child, yet being upper class is not one of those qualifications.
Financial security simply means that you are able to pay your bills, cover your rent or mortgage, and that you have a reliable means of income and transportation. What matters most is that a child is loved, cared for, and kept safe and comfortable.
Learn more about adoption attorneys in our article What Does an Adoption Attorney Do? We Find Out.
Adoption Consent in Florida
Below is a summary including key points of the adoption consent laws in Florida put together for your convenience and is intended to be quicker to digest. For a complete listing of all adoption consent laws in its legal format and in its entirety, visit Chapter 63: Florida Adoption, courtesy of On Sunshine, the official internet site of the Florida legislature.
Section 63-062: Florida Adoption Consent Statutes
It goes without saying that consent to adopt is a huge part of the adoption process. We may forget, however, that there is more involved than the birth mother’s consent.
Other aspect may come into play that you will want to keep in mind.
- The adoptee who is 12 years of age or older must give their consent to the adoption. An exception to this would be if the child is mentally incompetent.
- The presumed father has the right to consent to the adoption.
- The agency to which the adoptee has been relinquished or which holds permanent custody and which has placed the adoptee for adoption.
Florida Subsidies for Foster Care Adoption
Adoption assistance, otherwise know as adoption subsidies, is available for foster children in Florida who suffer from physical, mental, and developmental challenges.
These children are at a heightened risk of health problems, learning disabilities, as well as mental health issues. Subsidized adoption provides assistance to adoptive families for medical access, special equipment, therapies, tutoring, and other support services.
In the US, about 90% of the children in foster care are eligible for adoption assistance.
Special Needs Eligibility in Florida
A child with special needs may qualify for adoption assistance if the child meets one or more of the following circumstances, courtesy of NACAC.
- Noted emotional, physical, or mental issues.
- Siblings of two or more being placed for adoption in the same home at the same time.
- A child 8 years of age or older.
- African American or other racially mixed parents.
- Due to underlining issues in the past, the child is likely to suffer emotional, physical, or mental struggles in the future.
Children adopted from private adoption agencies may be eligible for an adoption subsidy as well.
Florida Adoption Advertising Laws
Adoption advertising is defined as using a public medium to express an interest in adopting a child or sharing that a child is available for adoption either by print or electronically.
Common means of advertising include:
- Printed Flyers
According to Citation: Ann. Stat. §§ 63.212(1)(g); 63.032, courtesy of ChildWelfare.gov, it is unlawful for anyone to advertise a child who is available for adoption. It is also illegal for anyone to advertise the desire to adopt.
Adoption entities are the exception and are allowed to advertise.
Adoption entities include such agencies as the Department of Children and Families, a licensed child-placing agency, an intermediary or registered child-caring agency.
Adoption entities must include their Florida license number. If an adoption attorney is representing the case, they must provide their Florida State Bar number on any and all advertisements.
Birth Parent Expenses in Florida
In all states, no person or agency is allowed to accept payment for assisting, placing, or organizing the placement of a child, as this is illegal.
There are some things, however, that adoptive parents may be allowed to pay for in Florida. These things include:
- Legal fees
- Adoption agency fees
- Prenatal visits
- Living expenses that the birth mother cannot afford (rent, utilities, phone, food, incidentals)
- Maternity clothing
- Hospital costs
The expenses paid by the adoptive parents must be deemed necessary and reasonable by the courts, and may be paid no longer than 6 weeks past the birth of the baby.
Your licensed adoption liaison will help to ensure that all financial aspects of the adoption process run smoothly and legally.
What do you do, though, if said expenses are paid and the birth mother changes her mind in the end? Adoption Disruption insurance is available for adoptive parents to protect them from such a misfortune for those adopting domestically.
To read more about the adoption laws in Florida, visit Section 63-097, courtesy of Online Sunshine.
Accessing Adoption Records in Florida
In the state of Florida, the following parties are allowed to request adoption records:
- The adoptee who is 18 years of age or older
- The adoptive parents
- The birth parents
- Siblings of the adoptee
- Maternal and paternal birth grandparents
The Department of Children and Families keeps a registry of the last known addresses and names of the adoptee, the birth parents, and the adoptive parents, as well as any other information that each party deems permissible to include in the registry.
Citation: Ann. Stat. § 63.162: Access to Nonidentifying Information
Nonidentifying information will be provided to the the adoptee, the birth parents, or the adoptive parents who are requesting the records, such as social and medical histories. This type of information must be made available, providing the information is known.
Citation: Ann. Stat. §§ 63.162; 63.165: Mutual Access to Identifying Information
Identifying information about the birth parents, the adoptive parents, or the adoptee may not be provided to the requestor unless there has been permission granted by the respective party.
If the adoptee is younger than age 18, they must obtain their adoptive parent’s permission in writing to make the request for information.
Courtesy of ChildWelfare.gov.
Post Adoption Contact Laws in Florida
Adoptive parents have a right to decide who has contact with their adopted child and when. Many times in an open adoption, the adoptive parents and the birth family have a mutual and informal agreement regarding contact with the adopted child.
Citation: Ann. Stat. § 63.0427 Postadoption Contact Agreement
The courts in Florida may be asked to consider the postadoption communication or contact, such as in-person visits, written communication, or by phone.
Florida states that the child shall have the right to have contact with his or her siblings, or, upon agreement of the adoptive parents, the child shall have the right to have contact with the parents who have had their parental rights terminated or other specified biological relatives.
If the court determines that the child’s best interests will be served by postadoption communication or contact, the court shall so order, stating the nature and frequency of the communication or contact. This order shall be made a part of the final adoption order.
Information courtesy of ChildWelfare.gov.
When are Adoption Birth Certificates Issued in Florida?
When your adoption is finalized, court proceedings should immediately include beginning the process of obtaining a new birth certificate for the adopted child that reflects the child’s new last name and adoptive parents.
Do not hesitate to ask your adoption attorney or adoption agency if you need to initiate that process, or if the courts will do that on your behalf.
DISCLAIMER: The above state law information is provided to our readers as a courtesy and is meant to be helpful in offering some insight as to what to expect during your adoption journey. This information is not meant to be viewed as legal advice. In addition, possible changes to state laws may have taken place since the publishing of this article in July 2021.