Consent to Adoption - Florida

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Who Must Consent to an Adoption

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 63.062

A petition to terminate parental rights pending adoption may be granted only if written consent has been executed by the following:

  • The mother of the minor
  • The father of the minor if any of the following apply:
    • The minor was conceived or born while the father was married to the mother.
    • The minor is his child by adoption.
    • The minor has been established by court proceeding to be his child.
    • He has filed an affidavit of paternity.
    • 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 and has filed such acknowledgment with the Office of Vital Statistics of the Department of Health within the required timeframes.
  • Any person lawfully entitled to custody of the minor, if required by the court
  • 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

If parental rights to the minor have previously been terminated, the adoption entity with which the minor has been placed for subsequent adoption may provide consent to the adoption. In that case, no other consent is required.

A petition to adopt an adult may be granted if written consent to adoption has been executed by the adult and the adult's spouse, if any.

Consent of Child Being Adopted

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 63.062(1)(c)

A child age 12 or older must consent unless the court determines it is in the child's best interests to dispense with consent.

When Parental Consent is not Needed

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 63.064

The court may waive the consent of the following individuals to an adoption:

  • A parent who has deserted a child without means of identification or who has abandoned a child
  • A parent whose parental rights have been terminated by order of a court of competent jurisdiction
  • A parent who has been judicially declared incompetent and for whom restoration of competency is medically improbable
  • A legal guardian or lawful custodian of the person to be adopted, other than a parent, who has failed to respond in writing to a request for consent for a period of 60 days or who, after examination of his or her written reasons for withholding consent, is found by the court to be withholding his or her consent unreasonably
  • The spouse of the adopted person if the failure of the spouse to consent to the adoption is excused by reason of prolonged and unexplained absence, unavailability, incapacity, or circumstances that are found by the court to constitute unreasonable withholding of consent

When Consent Can Be Executed

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 63.082

An affidavit of nonpaternity may be executed before the birth of the minor; however, the consent to an adoption shall not be executed before the birth of the minor except in a preplanned adoption pursuant to § 63.213.

A consent to the adoption of a minor shall not be executed by the birth mother sooner than 48 hours after the minor's birth or the day the birth mother has been notified in writing that she is fit to be released from the hospital or birth center, whichever is earlier.

A consent by a birth father or legal father may be executed at any time after the birth of the child.

How Consent Must Be Executed

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 63.082

Consent to an adoption or an affidavit of nonpaternity shall be executed as follows:

  • If by the adopted person, by oral or written statement in the presence of the court or by being acknowledged before a notary public and in the presence of two witnesses
  • If by an agency, by affidavit from its authorized representative
  • If by any other person, in the presence of the court or by affidavit acknowledged before a notary public and in the presence of two witnesses
  • If by a court, by an appropriate order or certificate of the court

A minor parent has the power to consent to the adoption of his or her child and has the power to relinquish his or her control or custody of the child to an adoption entity. Such consent or relinquishment is valid and has the same force and effect as a consent or relinquishment executed by an adult parent. A minor parent, having executed a consent or relinquishment, may not revoke that consent upon reaching the age of majority or otherwise becoming emancipated.

A consent or an affidavit of nonpaternity executed by a minor parent who is age 14 or younger must be witnessed by a parent, legal guardian, or court-appointed guardian ad litem.

The consent to adoption or the affidavit of nonpaternity must be signed in the presence of two witnesses and be acknowledged before a notary public who is not signing as one of the witnesses.

Revocation of Consent

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 63.082

A consent to adoption executed by the mother within 48 hours of the child's birth is valid upon execution and may be withdrawn only if the court finds that it was obtained by fraud or duress.

When the minor to be adopted is older than age 6 months at the time of the execution of the consent, the consent to adoption is valid upon execution; however, it is subject to a 3-day revocation period.

If a person seeking to withdraw consent claims to be the father of the minor but has not been established to be the father by marriage, court order, or scientific testing, the court may order scientific paternity testing and reserve ruling on removal of the minor until the results of such testing have been filed with the court.

Following the revocation period for withdrawal of consent or the placement of the child with the prospective adoptive parents, whichever occurs later, consent may be withdrawn only when the court finds that the consent was obtained by fraud or duress.

An affidavit of nonpaternity may be withdrawn only if the court finds that the affidavit was obtained by fraud or duress.