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Can An Adoptive Step-Parent Fight For Custody In A Florida Divorce?

When you have children from a prior marriage and then remarry, you naturally want your current spouse to have a close relationship with the children. Whether your prior spouse is deceased or, in the rare case, the biological parent is willing to sever all ties to the children, a Florida adoption by a step-parent creates a new legal bond. Adoptive parents have the same rights as biological parents, including the right to pursue custody in the event of divorce.

As you might imagine, step-parents who want to adopt their spouses’ children must jump through numerous legal hoops, like these examples from the Florida Bar Association:

  • Living biological parents outside the marriage must relinquish all rights to the children unless their rights are subject to specific agreements determined as part of the adoption process.
  • The biological parent within the new marriage must be willing to give up child support payments required as part of a prior divorce.
  • The adoptive step-parent must be willing to take on all the legal and financial responsibilities required of a full parent.

In fact, once an adoption is finalized in Florida, the step-parent officially becomes the parent, with all the rights and responsibilities of their spouse, typically without exception. As a result, both parents must undergo the legal requirements established by Florida law in the event of a divorce. Before you decide to adopt, consider discussing your situation with an experienced Boca Raton child custody attorney.

Developing a tight family bond within a blended family involves dedication and emotional guidance from both parents, regardless of their legal relationship with the children. However, if the marriage fails to work, you and your children remain together as long as you retain the legal rights of your biological parenthood. Before you arrange for a new spouse to adopt your children, consult the law firm of Feldman & Schneiderman, P.L. We take the time to go over the details of your situation to help ensure you make the right decision for your future and the futures of your children.