Contested Stepparent Adoption

by Brandi from Palatka, Florida, Putnam County

My 12 year old son is done with his biological dad. It has been years of hell for everyone involoved and my son has asked that my husband of 9 years adopt him.

He asked his bio dad and he agreed, then when I sent the consent form he backed out.

He texted my child that he was backing out "because I can" and "because I want to make your mom's life hell". I have at least 1000 text and several emails with the bio dad telling my son not to call him again, stating that he is not his father, and is not sure he ever way, calling him a "little f__cker".

When is the childs thoughts and wishes taken into account? What can we do when a parent is being spiteful and mean. Does a child have to put up with this?

Answer to Florida Adoption Question

Dear Brandi,

I'm so sorry to hear that. Your son is the one caught in between and undoubtedly suffering immensely from this situation.

If I understand you correctly, your husband has not yet filed the petition for stepparent adoption because you are awaiting the biological dad's consent, which he now refuses to give.

You may be able to proceed with the adoption proceeding without the biological father's consent, but I caution you, that this may be very difficult to pursue pro se. You will be asking the court to involuntarily terminate the biological father's parental rights. We highly recommend you get the advice and counsel of an attorney.

As you know, Florida Statutes Chapter 63 covers adoption. Section 63.062, titled: Persons required to consent to adoption; affidavit of nonpaternity; waiver of venue sub-section (1) states:

(1)Unless supported by one or more of the grounds enumerated under s. 63.089(3), a petition to terminate parental rights pending adoption may be granted only if written consent has been executed as provided in s. 63.082 after the birth of the minor or notice has been served under s. 63.088 to:

(a) The mother of the minor.

(b) The father of
the minor, if:

1. The minor was conceived or born while the father was married to the mother;

2. The minor is his child by adoption;

3. The minor has been adjudicated by the court to be his child by the date a petition is filed for termination of parental rights;

4. He has filed an affidavit of paternity pursuant to s. 382.013(2)(c) by the date a petition is filed for termination of parental rights; or

5. In the case of an unmarried biological father, he has acknowledged in writing, signed in the presence of a competent witness, that he is the father of the minor, has filed such acknowledgment with the Office of Vital Statistics of the Department of Health within the required timeframes, and has complied with the requirements of subsection (2).

(c) The minor, if 12 years of age or older, unless the court in the best interest of the minor dispenses with the minor’s consent.

(d) Any person lawfully entitled to custody of the minor if required by the court.

(e) The court having jurisdiction to determine custody of the minor, if the person having physical custody of the minor does not have authority to consent to the adoption.

Also have a look at section 63.089, titled: Proceeding to terminate parental rights pending adoption; hearing; grounds; dismissal of petition; judgment, and especially sub-section (3) GROUNDS FOR TERMINATING PARENTAL RIGHTS PENDING ADOPTION.

Have a look at our Florida Adoption Forms page for more information and resources. You can also try our recommended resources below to seek legal advice. Good luck!

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