Florida Governor Signs 61-Page Adoption Bill Into Law

Governor Rick Scott recently signed a 61-page document that has essentially rewritten Florida adoption laws. House Bill 1355, titled “Protection of Vulnerable Persons,” was created after a Baker County judge reportedly placed a four-year-old girl in the custody of a registered sex-offender who was not her biological father in July 2011.

The heated custody battle reportedly began after the child’s grandmother applied to formally adopt her. The case drew national attention when the girl was removed from her grandmother’s home and placed with her deceased mother’s husband. The child’s mother was killed in a car accident one month after the husband reportedly filed for divorce from the woman. Because Florida law considered him the child’s legal father, the Jacksonville judge was required to award custody to the man.

The new adoption law will reportedly have a significant impact on the adoption process in Florida. Portions of the law were designed to steer more children away from the current state adoption process administered by the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) and into allegedly more efficient private entity adoptions. The law also requires family court judges to notify an individual relinquishing their parental rights that he or she may speak to private adoption organizations in addition to DCF.

Under the new law, DCF will no longer have the authority to take custody of a newborn that is abandoned or tests positive for drugs or alcohol. The adoption law will also tighten adoption regulations and require a home study before a child in Florida may be transitioned into a new home.

Florida’s new adoption law provides that only state-licensed private adoption entities may advertise children who are available for adoption. Previously, anyone could legally advertise an adoptable child. The aim of the advertising measure was purportedly to cut down on a number of private adoption organizations that were not reputable. House Bill 1355 was amended a total of nine times before it unanimously passed both the Florida House and Senate.

In Florida, family law is constantly changing and evolving. If you are faced with a family law matter such as a child custody dispute or a step parent adoption, it is a good idea to consult with a knowledgeable Florida family law lawyer early on in the process.

If you would like assistance with a family law matter, contact experienced Aventura family law attorney Sandy T. Fox today. Because he understands the importance of your family, Mr. Fox focuses his practice exclusively on family law matters. He assists clients with child custody matters, step parent adoptions, name changes, child support, paternity matters, divorce, and a variety of other legal matters. To speak with a dedicated and hardworking family law attorney, call Sandy T. Fox at (800) 596-0579 today. You may also contact him through the law firm’s website.

More Blog Posts:

Virtual Visitation Becomes Increasingly Common in Florida, Fort Lauderdale Divorce Lawyer Blog, April 19, 2012
Miami Father Accused of Kidnapping, Hiding Daughter Released from Jail, Fort Lauderdale Divorce Lawyer Blog, April 6, 2012
Additional Resources:

Sex offender custody case results in changes to Florida adoption law, by Matt Dixon, Florida Times-Union

Miranda Adoption Bill Signed Into Law, First Coast News

Miranda Wilkerson: Grandma Loses Custody of Florida 3-Year-old To Sex Offender Father, Huffington Post