Stepparent Adoption Unknown Biological Father
by Stephanie from Riverview, Florida, Hillsborough County
I have been a resident of Florida for almost two (2) years. My daughter was born in Texas.
My husband has been her "father" since she was 2 years old.
I do not know who her biological father is and no one is listed on her birth certificate.
#1- Can a stepparent adoption be done not knowing who her biological father is?
#2- Given the circumstances, can I file the petition myself without hiring an attorney? Thank you in advance for your help!
Answer to Florida Adoption Question
Yes, it is possible to complete a stepparent adoption without knowing the identity of the child's biological father. And it is also possible to prepare the paperwork yourself. It is possible, but it may not be simple.
Your biggest hurdle is that you must convince the judge that you honestly do not know the identity of the biological father. If you have any information about the biological father, the best thing to do is to search for him.
There is a process/form called an Affidavit of Diligent Search
which is available on the Florida Supreme Court's website. It is a list of places for you to search for him.
And then if you cannot locate him through this search, you may be able to serve him through constructive service. Constructive service is serving someone through publication – advertising a legal intent. In this case the legal intent is for your husband to adopt your child.
However, if you don't have any information at all about the biological father, state that fact on your Joint Petition for Stepparent Adoption form. Since the biological father has never had contact or a relationship with your child, the judge may decide that the biological father has abandoned the child, and no notice to him or service of process is necessary. Notice:
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