St. Petersburg Area Adoption Lawyer Brings Experience to Bear on Your Behalf
Personalized legal support to help smooth your adoption journey
A family preparing to adopt a child is about to embark on an emotional journey. At the Law Office of Christina L. Sandvoss, P.A. in St. Petersburg, Florida, our job is to ensure that your journey goes smoothly.
Adoption, in contrast to many divorce matters, is one of the rare family law cases in which everyone leaves the courthouse happy. At our law office, we represent stepparents who want to adopt a child who is already living with them. Our attorney also represents families in several types of domestic adoptions, including:
- Open adoption — Open adoption is a special arrangement between you and the biological parent or parents in which you allow the birth family to have contact with the child. This contact can range from sharing photos to prearranged, in-person meetings.
- Private or independent adoption — You organize the adoption directly with the birth mother or parents, without an intermediary agency.
- Agency adoption — You employ an adoption agency to locate an adoptee, and have little — if any — contact with the birth family.
Whichever type of adoption you are considering, an experienced adoption attorney can ensure that your rights and those of the child are protected, and that the adoption meets the appropriate legal requirements. An attorney’s advice and representation at the start of the process can prevent unexpected legal difficulties down the road.
For clients seeking adoption, we:
- Prepare you for your home visit and other steps in the legal process
- Ensure that you receive a final termination of the biological parent’s rights
What is involved in a stepparent adoption?
Stepparent adoptions are sometimes called adoption-terminations, because you must terminate the biological parent’s rights before legally adopting the child. If the biological parent is reluctant or cannot be located, a lawyer’s help is needed to help ensure that no one will have a legal basis for making a claim in the future for the custody of your child.
A stepparent adoption, generally, is appropriate only under certain circumstances or when the consent of the biological father is obtained. Adopting a stepchild brings a legal reality to a parent-child relationship that already exists. It also makes it easier for the stepparent to deal with school and healthcare issues.
What are the adoption requirements in Florida?
The Law Office of Christina L. Sandvoss, P.A. has the experience with adoption law to help you navigate the adoption requirements in Florida efficiently so that you can finalize the legal document without undue delays. The main Florida adoption requirements include:
- You (the adopting parent) must be an adult. However, the adoption law does not specify a minimum (or maximum) age that qualifies an adoptive parent as an adult.
- An adoptee can be any age, from newborn through adult. When the adoptee is a minor, the birth parents must consent to the adoption, unless a court has terminated their rights. A child over the age of 12 must consent to becoming adopted.
- You must take the Model Approach to Partnerships in Parenting (MAPP) course, be interviewed by a state caseworker and pass a background check. If you have one or more felony convictions, Florida law disqualifies you from adopting.
- You must pass a physical exam and provide your medical records from the past two years. However, a disability or handicap alone will not disqualify you.
- You must provide character references.
- You should have enough financial resources to support the child. A low income alone will not disqualify you.
Call now to schedule a free consultation to discuss adoption
With more than 18 years of experience in family law, our lawyer can help you with your adoption. We offer a free 30-minute consultation to discuss your questions and concerns. Serving Pinellas, Hillsborough and Manatee counties, including St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Tampa and Bradenton, the Law Office of Christina L. Sandvoss, P.A. is easy to get to in Largo, Florida and offers ample parking. Call us now at 727-497-7823 or contact us to schedule a convenient time for you to meet.