When you have a relationship with a stepchild in Florida, you may decide to try to make your parent-child relationship official through stepparent adoption. However, the process involved in adopting a child in Florida varies quite a bit based on whether you are adopting someone outside of your family or someone with whom you already share a familial bond.
According to the Florida Legislature, prospective adoptive parents who plan to adopt a child from outside of their own families must participate in something called a home study. The home study gives adoption agents a chance to make sure your home environment is appropriate for a new child.
While having a home study is a key part of adopting a child outside the family, you typically do not have to do one if you are adopting your husband or wife’s child. However, in rare cases, you may have to participate in a home study if the court feels that doing so would be in the adopted stepchild’s best interests.
While a home study is generally not a prerequisite for adopting your husband or wife’s child, other circumstances must exist for you to move forward with the stepparent adoption. If both of the child’s biological parents are in favor of you adopting the child, then you are good to go. Similarly, if the child’s other parent abandoned the child, you should be able to move forward with adoption.
In situations where a biological parent fails to agree to a stepparent adoption, that parent’s rights must undergo termination before the stepparent adoption may move forward.