Adoption Attorney Serving Tampa, Florida
At Mindi Lasley, P.A., we represent clients in adoption proceedings and ensure that the adoption process runs smoothly, including terminating the rights of biological parents and obtaining consent of the biological parents when necessary.
We handle both contested and uncontested adoptions and represent clients who are adopting a child as well as parents attempting to maintain parental rights of their child.
There are many requirements that must be met to adopt a child and they differ based upon the relationship between the child and the Petitioner.
First, A Notice of Intended Adoption Plan must be served upon any known and locatable unmarried biological father who is identified by the mother, or by a diligent search of the Florida Putative Father Registry.
A father’s failure to timely and properly respond to a Notice of Intended Adoption Plan authorizes the court to enter a default, thus terminating the father’s (or mother’s) parental rights.
Types of Adoptions
There are several types of adoptions:
- Adoptions by family members: An adoption by a family member occurs when a biological family member is no longer in the child’s life, usually due to abandonment. Children may be adopted by a:
- other close family member
This is often uncontested, and the court treats family member adoptions differently than non-family member adoptions. Family adoptions to not need a completed home study to proceed. However, these cases may become contested when one party has to show abandonment by the other party.
- Out of State Adoptions: We handle out of state adoptions, which are more complicated than most people believe, and we ensure that the strict provisions of the Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children (ICPC) are adhered to.
- Foreign Adoption: We work with domestic families seeking foreign adoptions.
- Independent Adoption: We work with adoptive parents and identified birth parents in independent adoptions.
- Termination of Parental Rights: We terminate parental rights, which is necessary in an adoption proceeding.
Our firm is experienced in handling both sides of the adoption process.
It’s important to note that once a child is adopted, that child will legally be the equivalent of a biological child, and he/she will be entitled to inherit from the adoptive parent’s estate.
In a stepparent adoption, if the couple divorces, the non-custodial parent will also have the obligation to pay child support for that child.
Most adoptions become contested, or an adoption becomes required, because one or both of the parties has abandoned one or more of the children. In such cases, Child Protective Services may get involved, and an adoption can be achieved.
Pursuant to Florida Statute, an abandonment is interpreted as:
- a situation in which the parent (or person having legal custody of a child) makes little or no provision for the child’s support
- the parent makes little or no effort to communicate with the child
When these situations are found, it is seen as a rejection of parental responsibility. If, in the opinion of the court, the efforts of such parent to support and communicate with the child are only marginal, the court may declare the child to be abandoned.
In making this decision, the court may consider the conduct of a father toward the child’s mother during her pregnancy.
It’s important to talk to an experienced Tampa adoption attorney for more information about the definition of abandonment and the legal impact it may have on your case.
Tampa Adoption Lawyer
Our firm will guide you through the maze of legal requirements throughout the entire adoption process to ensure that the adoption is done properly, and the best interests of the child are satisfied. For more information, contact Tampa Adoption Lawyer Mindi Lasley.