Can a Stepparent Adopt a Child Without Consent from a Birth Parent?

Stepparent adoption is a common form of adoption that occurs when one spouse adopts the other’s biological child. The process for stepparent adoption is usually a lot easier than most other forms of adoption.

Parental Consent

Generally, a stepparent adoption occurs when one biological parent remarries and/or the other biological parent is no longer involved. The other biological parent ends up marrying someone who steps into the role the absent parent left behind. A stepparent adoption allows for the new spouse to step up and take on the role and responsibilities of a biological parent.

If a stepparent is looking to adopt a child, they must gain consent from:

  1. the biological mother;
  2. the biological father; and
  3. the child, if they are old enough to understand the situation.

An estranged biological parent will usually be comfortable signing away their parental rights, but what happens if they refuse; or if their whereabouts are unknown so they can’t provide consent?

Adopting Without Consent of One Parent

The state of Florida takes the parental rights of biological parents very seriously. If the non-consenting parent isn’t present in the child’s life and refuses to give up their rights, the court may deny the adoption request.

A court will only allow adoption without the consent of the birth parent if:

  1. one birth parent is unfit: a parent is found to be unfit if they are neglectful, abusive, reckless, addicted to a substance, or incarcerated. The other parent can request a hearing to prove how unfit the non-consenting parent is in order to strip them of parental rights;
  2. one birth parent has abandoned the child: to prove abandonment, the non-consenting parent must not have paid child support or attempted to contact the child for at least 1 year; and
  3. one birth parent is challenging paternity: if the non-consenting parent (the biological father) is proven to not actually be the biological father of the child.

Contact the Law Office of Ada M. Barreto, P.A.

Stepparent adoption without consent of a biological parent can be extremely difficult. Our attorney has extensive experience dealing with stepparent adoptions and will do everything she can to help persuade a judge to approve the adoption.

Call our firm today at (305) 709-5725 or contact us online for a case evaluation.