Nonlawyer Options for Adopting Grandchildren, Relatives, Stepchildren, and Adults

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Adoption is our passion.  Here is our promise from our family to yours:

No matter where you live in Florida, we will work with you and your family to properly prepare all of the documents and forms necessary for your grandchild adoption, relative adoption, stepparent adoption, or adult adoption case under Florida statutes chapter 63.  And that’s just the beginning of the services that we offer.  We will coordinate with the birth parent(s), if necessary to take their adoption consents, electronically file your case with the court, coordinate service of process if needed, and remain available to you throughout your pro se adoption journey for procedural and clerical support until your adoption is finalized.  No one else offers a nonlawyer, all-inclusive family adoption service like Florida Family Adoptions.  

Florida Relative Adoption Forms
Mari and John with this sweet family in Seminole County. We love helping make dreams come true. Florida Family Adoptions can do the same for your family.

Florida Relative, Grandparent, and Step-Parent Adoptions

Things don’t always turn out the way they were planned, and when a baby or children are involved, the stakes are high. Reaching a happy ending to a difficult family situation often takes a lot of hard work, careful planning and the commitment of a loving family.

Florida Grandparent Adoption
One of our happy families in the panhandle with the judge after their successful final hearing.

Is a Lawyer Required to Adopt a Relative, grandchild, or Stepchild in Florida?

Generally speaking, no. While most newborn and DCF adoptions in Florida must be handled by attorneys or adoption agencies, it is important to know that with grandparent, close relative, step-parent, and adult adoptions, sometimes referred to as Florida Kinship Adoptions, you have nonlawyer options that can save you thousands of dollars in unnecessary legal fees while accomplishing the same result.


Am I Eligible to Adopt?

In situations where a relative within the third degree of family relation (i.e. a grandparent, great-grandparent, sibling, aunt or uncle) is able to obtain the agreement and consent of the parents, a relative/grandchild adoption in Florida can proceed smoothly through the courts and can be finalized quickly after a short hearing before a judge.

Likewise, if you are a married stepparent wishing to adopt your stepchild, and the non-adopting parent is willing to sign a document consenting to the adoption, a complete step-parent adoption document package can be presented to the court and finalized as an uncontested matter after a short hearing.

Obtaining the written consent of the birth parents may not be required to complete your adoption.

Do Both Birth Parents Have to Consent to the Adoption?

Florida Grandparent Adoption
Another Florida Family Adoptions success story. We loved working with this beautiful family!

A relative, grandparent, or stepparent adoption case can be filed with the court even if a birth parent does not give consent to the adoption.  We have helped numerous families in this situation prepare their adoption documents, and more often than not, their cases resolve favorably.  However, some family adoption cases with non-consenting parents can become complicated, and pro se parties may eventually need the assistance of an attorney in order to finalize the adoption.

What If My Adoption is Complicated and I Need an Attorney?

Families often retain a Florida adoption attorney to handle complicated adoptions, and that’s a great idea if you require legal advice, advocacy, or representation.  A competent Florida adoption attorney is able to successfully conclude most adoptions and provide you with legal advice and guidance in situations where the consent of one, or both parents, has not been obtained.  If you decide you need an attorney to begin or conclude a Florida family adoption, we suggest that you consider choosing an adoption attorney who board certified in adoption law.  Adoption is a very specialized area of family law, and not all lawyers, even family law lawyers, are well-versed in its many nuances.

What if the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) is Involved with the Children?

DCF involvement can be serious and have catastrophic consequences to your adoption plans.  If you already have or anticipate DCF involvement, read this blog post.

Florida Temporary Custody by Extended Family Members

If adoption isn’t right for you, or you’re not ready to take that big step, filing a petition and obtaining a court order for Temporary Custody by Extended Family may be a  more appropriate option to accomplish your goals.  There are lots of grandparents raising grandchildren  and other families in Florida who have chosen this path.   Our company can assist with the preparation of documents for temporary custody by extended family.

Grandparents Raising Grandchildren
Mari at the hospital with new adoptive parents right after the documents and adoption consents were signed.

If You’ve Decided to Start your Adoption Process Pro Se, Without an Attorney, You Have Options

Florida Family Adoptions will prepare all of the required legal documents and forms for your case at your specific direction using the factual information you provide to us in writing by way of our online questionnaires. We will guide you through clerical process step by step from start to finish, and we will even electronically file your case for you.  We will remain available to you throughout your journey for  procedural and practical support until your adoption is finalized.  There are no other document preparation services in Florida that provide the value-added services that we do.  See what sets us apart from the rest.

A Strong History of Success Stories Since our Founding in 2014

We have had the privilege of helping many families throughout Florida who were big on love, but short on money, achieve their adoption goals.  We’re always thrilled when  customers call and let us know that their case has been approved and scheduled for a final hearing without issues.  Seeing a family come together is always gratifying.  Helping a child achieve permanency in a secure, loving and stable home is something we treasure. If we can help you achieve your goals, we would be delighted to speak with you.  Please call us today to discuss the nonlawyer adoption document preparation services that Florida Family Adoptions provides.

Florida Grandparent Adoption Forms
Florida Family Adoptions helped make this family’s dreams come true. Here they are smiling with the judge after their hearing.

Our Flat-Fee Services Include:

  • A complete set of properly prepared Florida grandchild/relative, stepparent, or adult adoption forms;
  • Preparation of any additional documents or forms requested by the court;
  • Coordination of meetings with birthparents (If Required to take Consents);
  • Obtaining Florida Putative Father Registry Search Certificate(s);
  • Assistance with conducting a diligent search for unlocated or absent parties;
  • Filing your case with the circuit court;
  • Managing service of process (Service of Summons) whether in Florida or out-of-state;
  • Managing Service of Process by Publication if required;
  • Preparation of all documents and proposed orders required to finalize your Florida adoption; and
  • Unlimited phone support for procedural and clerical assistance until your adoption is finalized.

Court filing fees, and the costs associated with serving a summons are not included in our fee.

You may qualify for a waiver of filing fees.  Ask us for more information regarding court and government fees in your county.

Grandparent Adoption Orange County
This grandparent adoption finalized in Orange County in August 2019 with our assistance.

It is Important that You Understand that We Are Not Lawyers

  • We cannot and will not provide legal advice;
  • We cannot advocate for you, represent you, or appear in court; and
  • It’s important you read our full Disclosure from Nonlawyers.

Meet the owner of Florida Family Adoptions – Marilsa (Mari) Bayne

Florida Forms for Grandparent Adoption
The owner of Florida Family Adoptions – Marilsa (Mari) Bayne

My name is Marilsa Bayne, but everyone calls me Mari.  I am the owner of Florida Family Adoptions, and you will be working directly with my staff and I during the preparation and filing of your Florida grandchild/relative adoption, stepparent adoption, or adult adoption documents.

I am dedicated to serving Florida residents coast-to-coast, especially grandparents raising grandchildren, by offering quality, nonlawyer adoption document preparation assistance for relative, grandparent, stepparent and adult adoptions.  We operate our business lawfully and abide by a strict Code of Ethics.

I am not an attorney, but I have worked for attorneys most of my adult life, mostly as an adoption paralegal or adoption program specialist. After concluding a very rewarding career, my husband and I decided to start Florida Family Adoptions to help families in need prepare Florida pro se adoption forms.

I was born in Caguas, Puerto Rico, and I graduated from the University of Puerto Rico in Rio Piedras.

I was introduced to legal work in Connecticut in 1982 and continued working exclusively in this field after I relocated to New York in 1987 and until my move to Florida in 1997.  I have devoted the last 35+ years to primarily serving in the legal community.

I am bilingual in the Spanish and English languages. I was previously certified in the State of Connecticut as a Simultaneous Courtroom Interpreter.

After many years of service working for attorneys, I occupied the position of Director of Program Development for a large Florida adoption agency from 2006-2010. During my tenure as the Director of Program Development, I was fortunate to have had the opportunity to present adoption themed training programs in Central Florida, such as:

  • At the request of an adjunct professor at Barry School of Law in Orlando, Florida, I was invited on several occasions to lecture on Practical Adoption Procedures and Processing to law students enrolled in the Florida adoption law course;
  • Conducted in-service training in adoption procedures at area hospitals;
  • Conducted in-service training for several Clerk of Court offices; and
  • Frequently spoke to community organizations, such as Head Start, regarding adoption.
Florida Step Parent Adoption Forms
Florida Family adoptions helped this wonderful family with their adoption in Orange County.

From 2005 until 2010, I served on the Board of Jeremiah’s Child, a foster-care ministry, as its program director, and from 2003 to 2009 I served on the board of directors of Mary’s Shelter, a maternity home for adoption-minded women in Altamonte Springs, Florida.  From 2009 to 2011, I served as a director-at-large for the Florida Adoption Council (FAC), and was the chairperson for the annual adoption state conference committee from 2007 through 2011.

My office is located in the professional building in Daytona Beach, and our company serves customers throughout Florida.

In my free time, I enjoy reading, weekend getaways and cuddling with my Chaweenie (half Chihuahua and half Dachshund), the Dutchess Yazmin Gloriana.  One of my passions is the prevention of animal cruelty, and I strongly advocate for pet adoptions through rescue organizations and no-kill shelters.

Please check back often.  We’ll be updating this site and blogging regularly with more information and news about family adoptions in Florida.




You Can Get Started by Completing One of the Questionnaires Below

Florida Relative Adoption Forms

Florida Stepparent Adoption Forms

Florida Family Adoptions is a Central Florida Better Business Bureau (BBB) Accredited Business with an “A+” Rating. We are properly registered with the Florida Department of State, Division of Corporations.   We are members in good standing with the (FAC) Florida Adoption Council and a certified member of the (FALDP), The Florida Association of Legal Document Preparers.  Please read our reviews on the BBB website.

Relative Adoption in Florida
Mari and John at an adoption signing in Highlands County in 2019

Read Our Pro Se Adoption Blogs to Learn More about Florida Stepparent, Grandchild, Relative, and Adult Adoptions

Myths and Realities – Florida Pro Se Step-Parent, Relative, and Adult Adoptions

Relative Adoptions and the Florida DCF

Are you Voluntarily Stuck in DCF Hell?

Florida Pro Se Family Adoptions and Unlocated Birth Parents

Relative and Stepparent Adoptions and the Florida Putative Father Registry

Relative Adoptions in Florida

Grandparent Adoption, Step Parent Adoption & Relative Adoption in Florida – The Advantages of Becoming ONE Family

A Customer’s Visit to the Law Library for Relative Adoption Forms

The Emotional and Financial Cost of Misinformation in Family Adoptions