Full Custody in Florida

by Danielle from Land O Lakes, Florida, Pasco County

Can I get full custody of my son in Florida after 4 years of father out of picture? I have full sole custody of my son until father fulfills court order to take parenting class and other items.

He has not fulfilled these items and it has been a little over 4 years.

My husband of the past 4 years would like to adopt him. Can I get full custody and at what point in Florida can I take action?

Answer to Florida Child Custody Question

Dear Danielle,

From what you wrote it sounds like you already have full custody - "until father fulfills court order to take parenting class and other items."

Florida has a procedure for step-parent adoptions which can be done pro se (without an attorney).

The forms can be found on the Florida Supreme Court's website at www.flcourts.org

Have a look at our web-powered instructions page for Florida Stepparent Adoption. The Florida Supreme Court approved form that is central to the process is Joint Petition for Adoption by Step-Parent, Form 12.981(b)(1). The instructions for that form state in part:

This form should be used when a stepparent is adopting his or her spouse’s child. Both the stepparent and his or her spouse must sign this petition. You must attach all necessary consents or acknowledgments that apply to your case, as listed under the Special Notes section below. Florida Statutes require that consent to adoption be obtained from:

• the
mother of the minor.

• 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 established by a court proceeding to be his child;

  4. he has filed an affidavit of paternity pursuant to section 382.013(2)(c) Florida Statutes; 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 section 63.062(2).

Determining whether someone’s consent is required, or when consent may not be required is a complicated issue and you may wish to consult an attorney. For more information about consenting to adoption, you should refer to Chapter 63, Florida Statutes, and sections 63.062 - 63.082 in particular.

Notice: We provide these answers to the general public and our website visitors as a means to further their online legal research. These answers are merely suggestions and should not be regarded as legal advice.

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Comments for Full Custody in Florida

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Unwed Moving Out of State
by: Aly from Lehigh Acres, Florida

I have a 2 year old daughter and was never married to her father, we do not have a custody agreement in place and he willingly pays child support, the courts have never been envolved in our lives. Me and my daughter are living with my mother and plan on moving to west Virginia to be with my father and work in the family business, her father only visits her about once a month.

I have not brought up the move to him yet because I believe he is going to try and prevent me from moving. I want to know what my legal rights are seeing as we have never filed for custody, am I allowed to just leave or will I have to file for custody? Does it make a difference if he is on the birth certificate or not?

--As far as I know, you are under no obligation to request to relocate if the father's rights have not been established by the courts. Just because he is on the birth certificate, does not necessarily mean he has parental rights. --Staff

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