Being a parent is rewarding but can often be challenging and stressful. In some instances, parents lack the ability or means to parent their children and may have questions about their legal options. In Florida, there are legal methods of terminating parental rights that ensure children are properly cared for, and we recommend that anyone who is no longer able to raise their child to contact an adoption attorney as soon as possible. If you have uncertainties regarding whether you want to parent your child and your avenues for relinquishing custody, it is advisable to meet with dedicated Pensacola adoption attorney, Gulf Coast Adoptions.
Under Florida law, parents can legally surrender custody of their children without fear of adverse legal consequences. The most appropriate method for doing so depends on numerous circumstances. Children that are a week old or younger can legally be left at a “safe haven” facility as long as strict requirements are followed. “Safe havens” include fire stations, hospitals, and emergency medical services stations. A parent that complies with the safe haven law when they leave a child at a safe haven will not be subject to criminal prosecution for doing so.
For children that are more than one week old, their parents will typically have to voluntarily surrender their parental rights. Generally, however, the courts will not allow a parent to voluntarily terminate their rights unless there are extreme circumstances present or another party is willing and able to adopt the child.
Many people who no longer wish to parent their children will voluntarily sign a Consent for Adoption and enter into a private or an identified adoption plan. In such cases, the birth parents will choose adoptive parents with the assistance of an attorney, or they may know a friend who would like to adopt their child. Private and identified adoptions allow the birth parents to exercise control over the adoption process throughout their pregnancy and what their relationship with their child will look like once the adoption is finalized.
While private and identified adoption allows birth parents to transfer custody of their children to someone whom they feel confident will provide them with a safe and loving environment, it is also a legally binding decision that requires supervision and approval from the courts. For that reason, anyone considering adoption or termination of their parental rights should speak with a Florida adoption lawyer such as Gulf Coast Adoptions to understand their options.
Not everyone has the ability to raise children, and some parents come to the difficult realization that they are no longer able to parent their children. If you are interested in voluntarily terminating your parental rights, we recommend you contact an attorney to discuss your options and learn more about the adoption process. Clay H. Whittaker of Gulf Coast Adoptions is an experienced Pensacola adoption lawyer who can advise you of your rights and aid you in pursuing your desired outcome. We have offices in Pensacola, Pace, South Walton, and Tallahassee and we regularly assist people with private, identified, relative, and stepparent adoptions throughout Florida.
You can reach Attorney Clay Whittaker by calling or texting 850-999-7977 to set up a confidential and free conference.