Consent to Adoption and What That Means for the Birth Parents
There are many reasons that a parent might choose to give up their child for adoption in Florida, ranging from the inability to provide a good life for the child, to simply not being ready to become a parent. However, whatever the reason, no parent makes the decision to put his or her child up for adoption lightly. Adoption requires a lot of paperwork – on both the birth parents’ and adoptive parents’ parts – and a lot of time, during which either can change their minds. One of the final steps in an adoption is signing over consent—often the most difficult step in that it officially severs a birth parent’s right to the child.
Requirement of Consent
When you decide to sign the consent for adoption, you essentially agree to relinquish your child to another family. In doing so, you agree to give up all of the rights and responsibilities that come with parenthood. Because termination of parental rights is not a decision that the Florida courts take lightly, they require that consent be in writing, signed and witnessed, and notarized. Both the biological mother and biological father are required to sign the consent forms, assuming that the paternity of the child has been established. Unfortunately, if a father is unwed, and if they do not file a notice of paternity claim, they stand to lose their right to consent. Furthermore, if an unwed father does not respond to a notice of adoption of their child, they will lose their rights as well.
If a court has terminated the parental rights of both the biological mother and the biological father, consent is not needed to go through with the adoption process.
How Long Does a Birth Parent Have to Wait Before Signing Consent for Adoption?
In all but three states (New York, Idaho, and Oregon), the birth parents have a specified amount of time in which they must wait before signing over their rights to their child. In some states, the parents must wait at least three days after giving birth to make the final decision. In others, the birth parents simply have to wait until after the child is born. And in others, consent may be given before a child’s birth, but be reconfirmed after birth. In Florida, both parents must wait at least 48 hours after their child’s birth to sign over their parental rights.
Can I Revoke My Consent of Adoption
While all but two states (Massachusetts and Utah) allow the birth parents to revoke their consent to adoption, it is very difficult to do so. In order to get the courts to agree to reinstate your parental rights, you must prove that either:
- You were coerced into signing the consent documents;
- That consent was obtained by fraud; or
- That revocation of consent to adoption is in the child’s best interest.
Because it can be hard to prove the last, it is highly unlikely that you will get your parental rights back if you willingly signed over consent initially. In Florida, you only have the option to revoke consent if either coercion or fraud were committed.
Consult With an Adoption Attorney
At the Law Offices of Schwartz | White in Boca Raton, we are here to help you make the best decisions for you and your family. Whether that means helping you set up an adoption plan for your future child, or if it means helping you relinquish the rights of a current child, we have the knowledge and experience to help you proceed in a way that is beneficial to you and your loved ones. Reach out to us today for help.