A woman in South Florida called the other day. She wanted to file relative adoption forms in order to adopt her nephew, who she has raised since birth.
As a pro se party (no attorney representation), she was having difficulty finding the proper Florida relative adoption forms necessary to bring her case to conclusion. She went to her local law library for help. Once there, she found only stepparent adoption forms, and the clerk told her to just, “use those”. She filled out the stepparent adoption forms as best she could. had the birth mother sign a consent for adoption form, and filed her case with the Court. Sound familiar?
WHERE CAN I FIND FLORIDA RELATIVE ADOPTION FORMS ONLINE?
The short answer is that a complete set of forms for a Florida relative adoption (including grandparent adoption forms) are not available online. The few adoption forms that are available for pro se parties to download deal with stepparent and adult adoptions and not with adoptions by close relatives. If you are an aunt or uncle raising a niece or nephew, or grandparents raising grandchildren in Florida, you will be hard pressed to find the proper relative adoption documents to file your case as a pro se party.
PERILS AND PITFALLS EVERYWHERE!
There are so many pitfalls that pro se parties are exposed to when preparing their own relative adoption paperwork in Florida, but so much more when you are trying to find the right document package to file for your Florida relative adoption . For those than can afford a Florida adoption attorney, they don’t have to worry about getting help with relative adoption paperwork preparation, but for a pro se party, the paperwork you file with the Court on your relative adoption case is key to achieving your goal.
Regretfully, the general assistance usually available to self-represented parties in family law matters such as paternity, divorce or custody does not extend to Florida relative, step parent or adult adoptions.
SO, WHAT HAPPENED TO THE WOMAN WHO CALLED?
Sadly, the so-called “relative adoption forms” she got from the law library were outdated and had been out of circulation since before 2003. She was told at a recent hearing that her relative adoption petition and the consent for adoption form used were defective. She was also missing other documents that are still not available online, but required to complete the Florida relative adoption process.
It has been over 18 months, and the birth mother has changed her mind. She retained an adoption attorney to revoke her consent. It is unlikely that this relative adoption will be able to be finalized.
THE GOOD NEWS
There is good news, I promise.
While stepparent, relative and adult adoptions can be filed by a pro se party and processed by the Court, thee adoption document “packets” available are incomplete. However, there is a solution to make Relative Adoption, and even Grandparent Adoption in Florida complete, accurate and efficient.
Florida Family Adoptions believes that just because you want to do it yourself doesn’t mean you have to do it alone. We are committed to preparing Florida relative adoption forms that are current and accurate, based upon the information you provide. Call us at 386-256-5540 for information.