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Child Adoption Laws
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Child Adoption Laws
Florida


We hope to help you learn more about the child adoption laws in the State of Florida.  Please note that while we have tried to be as current as possible, laws are occasionally rewritten and/or amended; accordingly, the Florida adoption law provided below may have errors, omissions, or may not be the most current version. Please remember that this information should not be used as the basis for making any legal decision. Please use appropriate resources and an attorney's advice when making legal decisions.

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2005 Florida Statutes

Florida Adoption Law and Statute
2012 Florida Statutes
Title VI: Civil Practice and Procedure
Chapter 63: Adoption
Sections 12- 236

(This page was last updated on 08/02/13.)

63.012 Short title.
63.022 Legislative intent.
63.032 Definitions.
63.037 Proceedings applicable to cases resulting from a termination of parental rights under chapter 39.
63.039 Duty of adoption entity to prospective adoptive parents; sanctions.
63.042 Who may be adopted; who may adopt.
63.0422 Prohibited conditions on adoptions; firearms and ammunition
63.0423 Procedures with respect to surrendered infants.
63.0425 Grandparent's right to adopt.
63.0427 Agreements for continued communication or contact between adopted child and siblings, parents, and other relatives.
63.043 Mandatory screening or testing for sickle-cell trait prohibited.
63.052 Guardians designated; proof of commitment.
63.053 Rights and responsibilities of an unmarried biological father; legislative findings.
63.054 Actions required by an unmarried biological father to establish parental rights; Florida Putative Father Registry.
63.0541 Public records exemption for the Florida Putative Father Registry.
63.062 Persons required to consent to adoption; affidavit of nonpaternity; waiver of venue.
63.063 Responsibility of parents for actions; fraud or misrepresentation; contesting termination of parental rights and adoption.
63.064 Persons whose consent to an adoption may be waived.
63.082 Execution of consent to adoption or affidavit of nonpaternity; family social and medical history; withdrawal of consent.
63.085 Disclosure by adoption entity.
63.087 Proceeding to terminate parental rights pending adoption; general provisions.
63.088 Proceeding to terminate parental rights pending adoption; notice and service; diligent search.
63.089 Proceeding to terminate parental rights pending adoption; hearing; grounds; dismissal of petition; judgment.
63.092 Report to the court of intended placement by an adoption entity; at-risk placement; preliminary study.
63.097 Fees.
63.102 Filing of petition for adoption or declaratory statement; venue; proceeding for approval of fees and costs.
63.112 Petition for adoption; description; report or recommendation, exceptions; mailing.
63.122 Notice of hearing on petition.
63.125 Final home investigation.
63.132 Affidavit of expenses and receipts.
63.135 Information under oath to be submitted to the court.
63.142 Hearing; judgment of adoption.
63.152 Application for new birth record.
63.162 Hearings and records in adoption proceedings; confidential nature.
63.165 State registry of adoption information; duty to inform and explain.
63.167 State adoption information center.
63.172 Effect of judgment of adoption.
63.182 Statute of repose.
63.192 Recognition of foreign judgment affecting adoption.
63.202 Authority to license; adoption of rules.
63.207 Out-of-state placement.
63.212 Prohibited acts; penalties for violation.
63.213 Preplanned adoption agreement.
63.219 Sanctions.
63.222 Effect on prior adoption proceedings.
63.232 Duty of person adopting.
63.2325 Conditions for revocation of a consent to adoption or affidavit of nonpaternity.
63.232 Duty of person adopting
63.2325 Conditions for invalidation of a consent to adoption or affidavit of nonpaternity.
63.233 Rulemaking authority.
63.235 Petitions filed before effective date; governing law.
63.236 Petitions filed before July 1, 2008; governing law.

63.012 Short title.--This chapter shall be known as the "Florida Adoption Act."

63.022 Legislative intent.--

(1) The Legislature finds that:

(a) The state has a compelling interest in providing stable and permanent homes for adoptive children in a prompt manner, in preventing the disruption of adoptive placements, and in holding parents accountable for meeting the needs of children.

(b) An unmarried mother faced with the responsibility of making crucial decisions about the future of a newborn child is entitled to privacy, has the right to make timely and appropriate decisions regarding her future and the future of the child, and is entitled to assurance regarding an adoptive placement.

(c) Adoptive children have the right to permanence and stability in adoptive placements.

(d) Adoptive parents have a constitutional privacy interest in retaining custody of a legally adopted child.

(e) An unmarried biological father has an inchoate interest that acquires constitutional protection only when he demonstrates a timely and full commitment to the responsibilities of parenthood, both during the pregnancy and after the child's birth. The state has a compelling interest in requiring an unmarried biological father to demonstrate that commitment by providing appropriate medical care and financial support and by establishing legal paternity rights in accordance with the requirements of this chapter.

(2) It is the intent of the Legislature that in every adoption, the best interest of the child should govern and be of foremost concern in the court's determination. The court shall make a specific finding as to the best interest of the child in accordance with the provisions of this chapter.

(3) It is the intent of the Legislature to protect and promote the well-being of persons being adopted and their birth and adoptive parents and to provide to all children who can benefit by it a permanent family life, and, whenever appropriate, to maintain sibling groups.

(4) The basic safeguards intended to be provided by this chapter are that:

(a) The minor is legally free for adoption and that all adoptions are handled in accordance with the requirements of law.

(b) The required persons consent to the adoption or the parent-child relationship is terminated by judgment of the court.

(c) The required social studies are completed and the court considers the reports of these studies prior to judgment on adoption petitions.

(d) All placements of minors for adoption are reported to the Department of Children and Family Services, except relative, adult, and stepparent adoptions.

(e) A sufficient period of time elapses during which the minor has lived within the proposed adoptive home under the guidance of an adoption entity, except stepparent adoptions or adoptions of a relative.

(f) All expenditures by adoption entities or adoptive parents relative to the adoption of a minor are reported to the court and become a permanent record in the file of the adoption proceedings, including, but not limited to, all legal fees and costs, all payments to or on behalf of a birth parent, and all payments to or on behalf of the minor.

(g) Social and medical information concerning the minor and the parents is furnished by the parent when available and filed with the court before a final hearing on a petition to terminate parental rights pending adoption, unless the petitioner is a stepparent or a relative.

(h) A new birth certificate is issued after entry of the adoption judgment.

(i) At the time of the hearing, the court may order temporary substitute care when it determines that the minor is in an unsuitable home.

(j) The records of all proceedings concerning custody and adoption of a minor are confidential and exempt from s. 119.07(1), except as provided in s. 63.162.

(k) The birth parent, the prospective adoptive parent, and the minor receive, at a minimum, the safeguards, guidance, counseling, and supervision required in this chapter.

(l) In all matters coming before the court under this chapter, the court shall enter such orders as it deems necessary and suitable to promote and protect the best interests of the person to be adopted.

(m) In dependency cases initiated by the department, where termination of parental rights occurs, and siblings are separated despite diligent efforts of the department, continuing postadoption communication or contact among the siblings may be ordered by the court if found to be in the best interests of the children.

(5) It is the intent of the Legislature to provide for cooperation between private adoption entities and the Department of Children and Family Services in matters relating to permanent placement options for children in the care of the department whose birth parents wish to participate in a private adoption plan with a qualified family.

63.032 Definitions.--As used in this chapter, the term:

(1) "Abandoned" means a situation in which the parent or person having legal custody of a child, while being able, makes no provision for the child's support and makes little or no effort to communicate with the child, which situation is sufficient to evince an intent to reject parental responsibilities. If, in the opinion of the court, the efforts of such parent or person having legal custody of the child to support and communicate with the child are only marginal efforts that do not evince a settled purpose to assume all parental duties, the court may declare the child to be abandoned. In making this decision, the court may consider the conduct of a father towards the child's mother during her pregnancy.

(2) "Adoption" means the act of creating the legal relationship between parent and child where it did not exist, thereby declaring the child to be legally the child of the adoptive parents and their heir at law and entitled to all the rights and privileges and subject to all the obligations of a child born to such adoptive parents in lawful wedlock.

(3) "Adoption entity" means the department, an agency, a child-caring agency registered under s. 409.176, an intermediary, or a child-placing agency licensed in another state which is qualified by the department to place children in the State of Florida.

(4) "Adult" means a person who is not a minor.

(5) "Agency" means any child-placing agency licensed by the department pursuant to s. 63.202 to place minors for adoption.

(6) "Child" means a son or daughter, whether by birth or adoption.

(7) "Court" means any circuit court of this state and, when the context requires, the court of any state that is empowered to grant petitions for adoption.

(8) "Department" means the Department of Children and Family Services.

(9) "Intermediary" means an attorney who is licensed or authorized to practice in this state and who is placing or intends to place a child for adoption, including placing children born in another state with citizens of this state or country or placing children born in this state with citizens of another state or country.

(10) "Legal custody" has the meaning ascribed in s. 39.01.

(11) "Minor" means a person under the age of 18 years.

(12) "Parent" has the same meaning ascribed in s. 39.01.

(13) "Person" includes a natural person, corporation, government or governmental subdivision or agency, business trust, estate, trust, partnership, or association, and any other legal entity.

(14) "Relative" means a person related by blood to the person being adopted within the third degree of consanguinity.

(15) "To place" means the process of a parent or legal guardian surrendering a child for adoption and the prospective adoptive parents receiving and adopting the child, and includes all actions by any person or adoption entity participating in the process.

(16) "Placement" means the process of a parent or legal guardian surrendering a child for adoption and the prospective adoptive parents receiving and adopting the child and all actions by any adoption entity participating in placing the child.

(17) "Primarily lives and works outside Florida" means a person who lives and works outside this state at least 6 months of the year, military personnel who designate Florida as their place of residence in accordance with the Soldiers' and Sailors' Civil Relief Act of 1940, or employees of the United States Department of State living in a foreign country who designate a state other than Florida as their place of residence.

(18) "Suitability of the intended placement" includes the fitness of the intended placement, with primary consideration being given to the best interest of the child.

(19) "Unmarried biological father" means the child's biological father who is not married to the child's mother at the time of conception or birth of the child and who has not been declared by a court of competent jurisdiction to be the legal father of the child.

(20) "Adoption plan" means arrangements made by a birth parent or other individual having a legal right to custody of a minor child, born or to be born, with an adoption entity in furtherance of the placement of the minor for adoption.

63.037 Proceedings applicable to cases resulting from a termination of parental rights under chapter 39.--A case in which a minor becomes available for adoption after the parental rights of each parent have been terminated by a judgment entered pursuant to chapter 39 shall be governed by s. 39.812 and this chapter. Adoption proceedings initiated under chapter 39 are exempt from the following provisions of this chapter: disclosure requirements for the adoption entity provided in s. 63.085; general provisions governing termination of parental rights pending adoption provided in s. 63.087; notice and service provisions governing termination of parental rights pending adoption provided in s. 63.088; and procedures for terminating parental rights pending adoption provided in s. 63.089.

63.039 Duty of adoption entity to prospective adoptive parents; sanctions.--

(1) An adoption entity placing a minor for adoption has an affirmative duty to follow the requirements of this chapter and specifically the following provisions, which protect and promote the well-being of persons being adopted and their parents and prospective adoptive parents by promoting certainty, finality, and permanency for such persons. The adoption entity must:

(a) Provide written initial disclosure to the prospective adoptive parent at the time and in the manner required under s. 63.085.

(b) Provide written disclosure to the parent at the time and in the manner required under s. 63.085.

(c) When a written consent for adoption is obtained, obtain the consent at the time and in the manner required under s. 63.082.

(d) When a written consent or affidavit of nonpaternity for adoption is obtained, obtain a consent to adoption or affidavit of nonpaternity that contains the language required under s. 63.062 or s. 63.082.

(e) Include in the petition to terminate parental rights pending adoption all information required under s. 63.087.

(f) Obtain and file the affidavit of inquiry pursuant to s. 63.088(4), if the required inquiry is not conducted orally in the presence of the court.

(g) When the identity of a person whose consent to adoption is necessary under this chapter is known but the location of such a person is unknown, conduct the diligent search and file the affidavit required under s. 63.088(5).

(h) Serve a petition and notice of hearing to terminate parental rights pending adoption at the time and in the manner prescribed by law.

(i) Obtain the written waiver of venue required under s. 63.062 in cases in which venue for the termination of parental rights will be located in a county other than the county where a parent whose rights are to be terminated resides.

(j) Provide an adoption disclosure statement, as required under s. 63.085(1), to all persons whose consent is required under s. 63.062(1).

(2) With the exception of an adoption by a relative or stepparent, all adoptions of minor children require the use of an adoption entity that will assume the responsibilities provided in this section.

(3) If a court finds that a consent to adoption or an affidavit of nonpaternity taken under this chapter was obtained by fraud or duress attributable to the adoption entity, the court may award all sums paid by the prospective adoptive parents or on their behalf in anticipation of or in connection with the adoption. The court may also award reasonable attorney's fees and costs incurred by the prospective adoptive parents in connection with the adoption and any litigation related to placement or adoption of a minor. The court may award reasonable attorney's fees and costs, if any, incurred by the person whose consent or affidavit was obtained by fraud or duress. Any award under this subsection to the prospective adoptive parents or to the person whose consent or affidavit was obtained by fraud or duress must be paid directly to them by the adoption entity or by any applicable insurance carrier on behalf of the adoption entity if the court determines, after an evidentiary hearing held subsequent to the entry of a final order in the underlying termination of parental rights or adoption action, that the actions or failures of the adoption entity directly contributed to the finding of fraud or duress.

(4) The prevailing party in an action to set aside a judgment terminating parental rights pending adoption or a judgment of adoption may be awarded reasonable attorney's fees and costs. An award under this subsection must be paid by the adoption entity or by any applicable insurance carrier on behalf of the adoption entity if the court finds that the acts or omissions of the entity were the basis for the court's order granting relief to the prevailing party.

(5) Within 30 days after the entry of an order of the court finding sanctionable conduct on the part of an adoption entity, the clerk of the court must forward to:

(a) The Florida Bar any order that imposes sanctions under this section against an attorney acting as an adoption entity.

(b) The Department of Children and Family Services any order that imposes sanctions under this section against a licensed child-placing agency or a child-placing agency licensed in another state that is qualified by the department.

(c) The entity under s. 409.176 that certifies child-caring agencies any order that imposes sanctions under this section against a child-caring agency registered under s. 409.176.

(d) The Office of Attorney General any order that imposes sanctions under this section against the department.

63.042 Who may be adopted; who may adopt.--

(1) Any person, a minor or an adult, may be adopted.

(2) The following persons may adopt:

(a) A husband and wife jointly;

(b) An unmarried adult; or

(c) A married person without the other spouse joining as a petitioner, if the person to be adopted is not his or her spouse, and if:

1. The other spouse is a parent of the person to be adopted and consents to the adoption; or

2. The failure of the other spouse to join in the petition or to consent to the adoption is excused by the court for good cause shown or in the best interest of the child.

(3) No person eligible to adopt under this statute may adopt if that person is a homosexual.

(4) No person eligible under this section shall be prohibited from adopting solely because such person possesses a physical disability or handicap, unless it is determined by the court or adoption entity that such disability or handicap renders such person incapable of serving as an effective parent.

63.0422 Prohibited conditions on adoptions; firearms and ammunition.An adoption agency or entity, whether public or private, may not:
(1) Make a determination that a person is unsuitable to adopt based on the lawful possession, storage, or use of a firearm or ammunition by any member of the adoptive home.
(2) Require an adoptive parent or prospective adoptive parent to disclose information relating to a person’s lawful possession, storage, or use of a firearm or ammunition as a condition to adopt.
(3) Restrict the lawful possession, storage, or use of a firearm or ammunition as a condition for a person to adopt.

63.0423 Procedures with respect to surrendered infants.--

(1) Upon entry of final judgment terminating parental rights, a licensed child-placing agency that takes physical custody of an infant surrendered at a hospital, emergency medical services station, or fire station pursuant to s. 383.50 assumes responsibility for the medical and other costs associated with the emergency services and care of the surrendered infant from the time the licensed child-placing agency takes physical custody of the surrendered infant.

(2) The licensed child-placing agency shall immediately seek an order from the circuit court for emergency custody of the abandoned infant. The emergency custody order shall remain in effect until the court orders preliminary approval of placement of the abandoned infant in the prospective home, at which time the prospective adoptive parents become guardians pending termination of parental rights and finalization of adoption or until the court orders otherwise. The guardianship of the prospective adoptive parents shall remain subject to the right of the licensed child-placing agency to remove the abandoned infant from the placement during the pendency of the proceedings if such removal is deemed by the licensed child-placing agency to be in the best interest of the child. The licensed child-placing agency may immediately seek to place the abandoned infant in a prospective adoptive home.

(3) The licensed child-placing agency that takes physical custody of the abandoned infant shall, within 24 hours thereafter, request assistance from law enforcement officials to investigate and determine, through the Missing Children Information Clearinghouse, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, and any other national and state resources, whether or not the abandoned infant is a missing child.

(4) The parent who surrenders the infant in accordance with s. 383.50 is presumed to have consented to termination of parental rights, and express consent is not required. Except when there is actual or suspected child abuse or neglect, the licensed child-placing agency shall not attempt to pursue, search for, or notify that parent as provided in s. 63.088 and chapter 49. For purposes of s. 383.50 and this section, an infant who tests positive for illegal drugs, narcotic prescription drugs, alcohol, or other substances, but shows no other signs of child abuse or neglect, shall be placed in the custody of a licensed child-placing agency. Such a placement does not eliminate the reporting requirement under s. 383.50(7). When the department is contacted regarding an infant properly surrendered under this section and s. 383.50, the department shall provide instruction to contact a licensed child-placing agency and may not take custody of the infant unless reasonable efforts to contact a licensed child-placing agency to accept the infant have not been successful.

(5) A petition for termination of parental rights under this section may not be filed until 30 days after the date the infant was surrendered in accordance with s. 383.50. A petition for termination of parental rights may not be granted until a parent has failed to reclaim or claim the surrendered infant within the time period specified in s. 383.50.

(6) A claim of parental rights of the abandoned infant must be made to the entity having legal custody of the abandoned infant or to the circuit court before whom proceedings involving the abandoned infant are pending. A claim of parental rights of the abandoned infant may not be made after the judgment to terminate parental rights is entered, except as otherwise provided by subsection (9).

(7) If a claim of parental rights of a surrendered infant is made before the judgment to terminate parental rights is entered, the circuit court may hold the action for termination of parental rights in abeyance for a period of time not to exceed 60 days.

(a) The court may order scientific testing to determine maternity or paternity at the expense of the parent claiming parental rights.

(b) The court shall appoint a guardian ad litem for the abandoned infant and order whatever investigation, home evaluation, and psychological evaluation are necessary to determine what is in the best interest of the abandoned infant.

(c) The court may not terminate parental rights solely on the basis that the parent left the infant at a hospital, emergency medical services station, or fire station in accordance with s. 383.50.

(d) The court shall enter a judgment with written findings of fact and conclusions of law.

(8) Within 7 business days after recording the judgment, the clerk of the court shall mail a copy of the judgment to the department, the petitioner, and the persons whose consent were required, if known. The clerk shall execute a certificate of each mailing.

(9)(a) A judgment terminating parental rights pending adoption is voidable, and any later judgment of adoption of that minor is voidable, if, upon the motion of a birth parent, the court finds that a person knowingly gave false information that prevented the birth parent from timely making known his or her desire to assume parental responsibilities toward the minor or from exercising his or her parental rights. A motion under this subsection must be filed with the court originally entering the judgment. The motion must be filed within a reasonable time, but not later than 1 year after the entry of the judgment terminating parental rights.

(b) No later than 30 days after the filing of a motion under this subsection, the court shall conduct a preliminary hearing to determine what contact, if any, will be permitted between a birth parent and the child pending resolution of the motion. Such contact may be allowed only if it is requested by a parent who has appeared at the hearing and the court determines that it is in the best interest of the child. If the court orders contact between a birth parent and child, the order must be issued in writing as expeditiously as possible and must state with specificity any provisions regarding contact with persons other than those with whom the child resides.

(c) The court may not order scientific testing to determine the paternity or maternity of the minor until such time as the court determines that a previously entered judgment terminating the parental rights of that parent is voidable pursuant to paragraph (a), unless all parties agree that such testing is in the best interests of the child. Upon the filing of test results establishing that person’s maternity or paternity of the surrendered infant, the court may order visitation only if it appears to be in the best interests of the child.

(d) Within 45 days after the preliminary hearing, the court shall conduct a final hearing on the motion to set aside the judgment and shall enter its written order as expeditiously as possible thereafter.

(10) Except to the extent expressly provided in this section, proceedings initiated by a licensed child-placing agency for the termination of parental rights and subsequent adoption of a newborn left at a hospital, emergency medical services station, or fire station in accordance with s. 383.50 shall be conducted pursuant to this chapter.

63.0425 Grandparent's right to adopt.--

(1) When a child has lived with a grandparent for at least 6 months within the 24-month period immediately preceding the filing of a petition for termination of parental rights pending adoption, the adoption entity shall provide notice to that grandparent of the hearing on the petition for termination of parental rights pending adoption.

(2) This section shall not apply if the placement for adoption is a result of the death of the child's parent and a different preference is stated in the parent's will.

(3) This section shall not apply in stepparent adoptions.

(4) Nothing in this section shall contravene the provisions of s. 63.142(4).

63.0427 Agreements for continued communication or contact between adopted child and siblings, parents, and other relatives.

(1) A child whose parents have had their parental rights terminated and whose custody has been awarded to the department pursuant to s. 39.811, and who is the subject of a petition for adoption under this chapter, shall have the right to have the court consider the appropriateness of postadoption communication or contact, including, but not limited to, visits, written correspondence, or telephone calls, with his or her siblings or, upon agreement of the adoptive parents, with the parents who have had their parental rights terminated or other specified biological relatives. The court shall consider the following in making such determination:

(a) Any orders of the court pursuant to s. 39.811(7).

(b) Recommendations of the department, the foster parents if other than the adoptive parents, and the guardian ad litem.

(c) Statements of the prospective adoptive parents.

(d) Any other information deemed relevant and material by the court.

If the court determines that the child's best interests will be served by postadoption communication or contact, the court shall so order, stating the nature and frequency for the communication or contact. This order shall be made a part of the final adoption order, but in no event shall the continuing validity of the adoption be contingent upon such postadoption communication or contact, nor shall the ability of the adoptive parents and child to change residence within or outside the State of Florida be impaired by such communication or contact.

(2) Notwithstanding the provisions of s. 63.162, the adoptive parent may, at any time, petition for review of a communication or contact order entered pursuant to subsection (1), if the adoptive parent believes that the best interests of the adopted child are being compromised, and the court shall have authority to order the communication or contact to be terminated or modified, as the court deems to be in the best interests of the adopted child. As part of the review process, the court may order the parties to engage in mediation. The department shall not be required to be a party to such review.

63.043 Mandatory screening or testing for sickle-cell trait prohibited.--No person, firm, corporation, unincorporated association, state agency, unit of local government, or any public or private entity shall require screening or testing for the sickle-cell trait as a condition for becoming eligible for adoption if otherwise eligible for adoption under the laws of this state.

63.052 Guardians designated; proof of commitment.--

(1) For minors who have been placed for adoption with and permanently committed to an adoption entity, other than an intermediary, such adoption entity shall be the guardian of the person of the minor and has the responsibility and authority to provide for the needs and welfare of the minor.

(2) For minors who have been voluntarily surrendered to an intermediary through an execution of a consent to adoption, the intermediary shall be responsible for the minor until the time a court orders preliminary approval of placement of the minor in the prospective adoptive home, after which time the prospective adoptive parents shall become guardians pending finalization of adoption, subject to the intermediary's right and responsibility to remove the child from the prospective adoptive home if the removal is deemed by the intermediary to be in the best interest of the child. Prior to the court's entry of an order granting preliminary approval of the placement, the intermediary shall have the responsibility and authority to provide for the needs and welfare of the minor. No minor shall be placed in a prospective adoptive home until that home has received a favorable preliminary home study, as provided in s. 63.092, within 1 year before such placement in the prospective home. The provisions of s. 627.6578 shall remain in effect notwithstanding the guardianship provisions in this section.

(3) If a minor is surrendered to an adoption entity for subsequent adoption and a suitable prospective adoptive home is not available pursuant to s. 63.092 at the time the minor is surrendered to the adoption entity, the minor must be placed in foster care or with a relative until such a suitable prospective adoptive home is available.

(4) If a minor is voluntarily surrendered to an adoption entity for subsequent adoption and the adoption does not become final within 180 days after termination of parental rights, the adoption entity must report to the court on the status of the minor and the court may at that time proceed under s. 39.701 or take action reasonably necessary to protect the best interest of the minor.

(5) The recital in a written consent, answer, or recommendation filed by an adoption entity that the minor has been permanently committed to the adoption entity or that the adoption entity is duly licensed shall be prima facie proof of such commitment. A consent for adoption signed by an adoption entity need not comply with s. 63.082.

(6) Unless otherwise authorized by law or ordered by the court, the department is not responsible for expenses incurred by other adoption entities participating in placement of a minor.

(7) The court retains jurisdiction of a minor who has been placed for adoption until the adoption is final. After a minor is placed with an adoption entity or prospective adoptive parent, the court may review the status of the minor and the progress toward permanent adoptive placement.

63.053 Rights and responsibilities of an unmarried biological father; legislative findings.

(1) In enacting the provisions contained in this chapter, the Legislature prescribes the conditions for determining whether an unmarried biological father's actions are sufficiently prompt and substantial so as to require protection of a constitutional right. If an unmarried biological father fails to take the actions that are available to him to establish a relationship with his child, his parental interest may be lost entirely, or greatly diminished, by his failure to timely comply with the available legal steps to substantiate a parental interest.

(2) The Legislature finds that the interests of the state, the mother, the child, and the adoptive parents described in this chapter outweigh the interest of an unmarried biological father who does not take action in a timely manner to establish and demonstrate a relationship with his child in accordance with the requirements of this chapter. An unmarried biological father has the primary responsibility to protect his rights and is presumed to know that his child may be adopted without his consent unless he complies with the provisions of this chapter and demonstrates a prompt and full commitment to his parental responsibilities.

(3) The Legislature finds that a birth mother and a birth father have a right to privacy.

63.054 Actions required by an unmarried biological father to establish parental rights; Florida Putative Father Registry.

(1) In order to preserve the right to notice and consent to an adoption under this chapter, an unmarried biological father must, as the “registrant,” file a notarized claim of paternity form with the Florida Putative Father Registry maintained by the Office of Vital Statistics of the Department of Health which includes confirmation of his willingness and intent to support the child for whom paternity is claimed in accordance with state law. The claim of paternity may be filed at any time before the child’s birth, but may not be filed after the date a petition is filed for termination of parental rights. In each proceeding for termination of parental rights, the petitioner must submit to the Office of Vital Statistics a copy of the petition for termination of parental rights or a document executed by the clerk of the court showing the style of the case, the names of the persons whose rights are sought to be terminated, and the date and time of the filing of the petition. The Office of Vital Statistics may not record a claim of paternity after the date a petition for termination of parental rights is filed. The failure of an unmarried biological father to file a claim of paternity with the registry before the date a petition for termination of parental rights is filed also bars him from filing a paternity claim under chapter 742.
(a) An unmarried biological father is excepted from the time limitations for filing a claim of paternity with the registry or for filing a paternity claim under chapter 742, if:
1. The mother identifies him to the adoption entity as a potential biological father by the date she executes a consent for adoption; and
2. He is served with a notice of intended adoption plan pursuant to s. 63.062(3) and the 30-day mandatory response date is later than the date the petition for termination of parental rights is filed with the court.
(b) If an unmarried biological father falls within the exception provided by paragraph (a), the petitioner shall also submit to the Office of Vital Statistics a copy of the notice of intended adoption plan and proof of service of the notice on the potential biological father.
(c) An unmarried biological father who falls within the exception provided by paragraph (a) may not file a claim of paternity with the registry or a paternity claim under chapter 742 after the 30-day mandatory response date to the notice of intended adoption plan has expired. The Office of Vital Statistics may not record a claim of paternity 30 days after service of the notice of intended adoption plan.

(2) By filing a claim of paternity form with the Office of Vital Statistics, the registrant expressly consents to submit to DNA testing upon the request of any party, the registrant, or the adoption entity with respect to the child referenced in the claim of paternity.

(3) The Office of Vital Statistics of the Department of Health shall adopt by rule the appropriate claim of paternity form in English, Spanish, and Creole in order to facilitate the registration of an unmarried biological father with the Florida Putative Father Registry and shall, within existing resources, make these forms available through local offices of the Department of Health and the Department of Children and Family Services, the Internet websites of those agencies, and the offices of the clerks of the circuit court. The claim of paternity form shall be signed by the unmarried biological father and must include his name, address, date of birth, and physical description. In addition, the registrant shall provide, if known, the name, address, date of birth, and physical description of the mother; the date, place, and location of conception of the child; and the name, date, and place of birth of the child or estimated date of birth of the expected minor child, if known. The claim of paternity form shall be signed under oath by the registrant.

(4) Upon initial registration, or at any time thereafter, the registrant may designate an address other than his residential address for sending any communication regarding his registration. Similarly, upon initial registration, or at any time thereafter, the registrant may designate, in writing, an agent or representative to receive any communication on his behalf and receive service of process. The agent or representative must file an acceptance of the designation, in writing, in order to receive notice or service of process. The failure of the designated representative or agent of the registrant to deliver or otherwise notify the registrant of receipt of correspondence from the Florida Putative Father Registry is at the registrant's own risk and shall not serve as a valid defense based upon lack of notice.

(5) The registrant may, at any time prior to the birth of the child for whom paternity is claimed, execute a notarized written revocation of the claim of paternity previously filed with the Florida Putative Father Registry, and upon receipt of such revocation, the claim of paternity shall be deemed null and void. If a court determines that a registrant is not the father of the minor, the court shall order the department to remove the registrant's name from the registry.

(6) It is the obligation of the registrant or, if designated under subsection (4), his designated agent or representative to notify and update the Office of Vital Statistics of any change of address or change in the designation of an agent or representative. The failure of a registrant, or designated agent or representative, to report any such change is at the registrant's own risk and shall not serve as a valid defense based upon lack of notice, unless the person petitioning for termination of parental rights or adoption has actual or constructive notice of the registrant's address and whereabouts from another source.

(7) In each proceeding for termination of parental rights or each adoption proceeding filed under this chapter, the petitioner must contact the Office of Vital Statistics of the Department of Health by submitting an application for a search of the Florida Putative Father Registry. The petitioner shall provide the same information, if known, on the search application form which the registrant is required to furnish under subsection (3). Thereafter, the Office of Vital Statistics must issue a certificate signed by the State Registrar certifying:

(a) The identity and contact information, if any, for each registered unmarried biological father whose information matches the search request sufficiently so that such person may be considered a possible father of the subject child; or

(b) That a diligent search has been made of the registry of registrants who may be the unmarried biological father of the subject child and that no matching registration has been located in the registry.

This certificate must be filed with the court in the proceeding to terminate parental rights or the adoption proceeding. If a termination of parental rights and an adoption proceeding are being adjudicated simultaneously, the Florida Putative Father Registry need only be searched once.

(8) If an unmarried biological father does not know the county in which the birth mother resides, gave birth, or intends to give birth, he may initiate an action in any county in the state, subject to the birth mother's right to change venue to the county where she resides.

(9) The Department of Health shall establish and maintain a Florida Putative Father Registry through its Office of Vital Statistics, in accordance with the requirements of this section. The Department of Health may charge a nominal fee to cover the costs of filing and indexing the Florida Putative Father Registry and the costs of searching the registry.

(10) The Department of Health shall, within existing resources, prepare and adopt by rule application forms for initiating a search of the Florida Putative Father Registry and shall make those forms available through the local offices of the Department of Health and the Department of Children and Family Services and the offices of the clerks of the circuit court.

(11) The Department of Health shall produce and distribute, within existing resources, a pamphlet or publication informing the public about the Florida Putative Father Registry and which is printed in English, Spanish, and Creole. The pamphlet shall indicate the procedures for voluntary acknowledgment of paternity, the consequences of acknowledgment of paternity, the consequences of failure to acknowledge paternity, and the address of the Florida Putative Father Registry. Such pamphlets or publications shall be made available for distribution at all offices of the Department of Health and the Department of Children and Family Services and shall be included in health class curricula taught in public and charter schools in this state. The Department of Health shall also provide such pamphlets or publications to hospitals, adoption entities, libraries, medical clinics, schools, universities, and providers of child-related services, upon request. In cooperation with the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, each person applying for a Florida driver's license, or renewal thereof, and each person applying for a Florida identification card shall be offered the pamphlet or publication informing the public about the Florida Putative Father Registry.

(12) The Department of Health shall, within existing resources, provide additional information about the Florida Putative Father Registry and its services to the public in English, Spanish, and Creole using public service announcements, Internet websites, and such other means as it deems appropriate.

(13) The filing of a claim of paternity with the Florida Putative Father Registry does not excuse or waive the obligation of a petitioner to comply with the requirements for conducting a diligent search and inquiry with respect to the identity of an unmarried biological father or legal father which are set forth in this chapter.

(14) The Office of Vital Statistics of the Department of Health is authorized to adopt rules to implement this section.

163.0541 Public records exemption for the Florida Putative Father Registry.--

(1) All information contained in the Florida Putative Father Registry is confidential and exempt from s. 119.07(1) and s. 24(a), Art. I of the State Constitution.

(a) An adoption entity, upon the filing of a request for a diligent search of the Florida Putative Father Registry in connection with the planned adoption of a child.

(b) The registrant unmarried biological father, upon receipt of notarized request for a copy of his registry entry only.

(c) The birth mother, upon receipt of a notarized request for a copy of any registry entry in which she is identified as the birth mother.

(c) The court, upon issuance of a court order concerning a petitioner acting pro se in an action under this chapter.

(d) The court, upon issuance of a court order concerning a petitioner acting pro se in an action under this chapter.

(2) The database comprising the Florida Putative Father Registry shall remain separate from all other databases.

63.062 Persons required to consent to adoption; affidavit of nonpaternity; waiver of venue.

(1) Unless supported by one or more of the grounds enumerated under s. 63.089(3), a petition to terminate parental rights pending adoption may be granted only if written consent has been executed as provided in s. 63.082 after the birth of the minor or notice has been served under s. 63.088 to:

(a) The mother of the minor.

(b) The father of the minor, if:

1. The minor was conceived or born while the father was married to the mother;

2. The minor is his child by adoption;

3. The minor has been adjudicated by the court to be his child before the date a petition for termination of parental rights is filed;

4. He has filed an affidavit of paternity pursuant to s. 382.013(2)(c) or he is listed on the child’s birth certificate before the date a petition for termination of parental rights is filed; or

5. In the case of an unmarried biological father, he has acknowledged in writing, signed in the presence of a competent witness, that he is the father of the minor, has filed such acknowledgment with the Office of Vital Statistics of the Department of Health within the required timeframes, and has complied with the requirements of subsection (2).

The status of the father shall be determined at the time of the filing of the petition to terminate parental rights and may not be modified, except as otherwise provided in s. 63.0423(9)(a), for purposes of his obligations and rights under this chapter by acts occurring after the filing of the petition to terminate parental rights.

(c) The minor, if 12 years of age or older, unless the court in the best interest of the minor dispenses with the minor's consent.

(d) Any person lawfully entitled to custody of the minor if required by the court.

(e) The court having jurisdiction to determine custody of the minor, if the person having physical custody of the minor does not have authority to consent to the adoption.

(2) In accordance with subsection (1), the consent of an unmarried biological father shall be necessary only if the unmarried biological father has complied with the requirements of this subsection.

(a)1. With regard to a child who is placed with adoptive parents more than 6 months after the child's birth, an unmarried biological father must have developed a substantial relationship with the child, taken some measure of responsibility for the child and the child's future, and demonstrated a full commitment to the responsibilities of parenthood by providing financial support to the child in accordance with the unmarried biological father's ability, if not prevented from doing so by the person or authorized agency having lawful custody of the child, and either:

a. Regularly visited the child at least monthly, when physically and financially able to do so and when not prevented from doing so by the birth mother or the person or authorized agency having lawful custody of the child; or

b. Maintained regular communication with the child or with the person or agency having the care or custody of the child, when physically or financially unable to visit the child or when not prevented from doing so by the birth mother or person or authorized agency having lawful custody of the child.

2. An unmarried biological father who openly lived with the child for at least 6 months within the 1-year period following the birth of the child and immediately preceding placement of the child with adoptive parents and who openly held himself out to be the father of the child during that period shall be deemed to have developed a substantial relationship with the child and to have otherwise met the requirements of this paragraph.
(b) With regard to a child who is 6 months of age or younger at the time the child is placed with the adoptive parents, an unmarried biological father must have demonstrated a full commitment to his parental responsibility by having performed all of the following acts prior to the time the mother executes her consent for adoption:
1. Filed a notarized claim of paternity form with the Florida Putative Father Registry within the Office of Vital Statistics of the Department of Health, which form shall be maintained in the confidential registry established for that purpose and shall be considered filed when the notice is entered in the registry of notices from unmarried biological fathers.
2. Upon service of a notice of an intended adoption plan or a petition for termination of parental rights pending adoption, executed and filed an affidavit in that proceeding stating that he is personally fully able and willing to take responsibility for the child, setting forth his plans for care of the child, and agreeing to a court order of child support and a contribution to the payment of living and medical expenses incurred for the mother’s pregnancy and the child’s birth in accordance with his ability to pay.
3. If he had knowledge of the pregnancy, paid a fair and reasonable amount of the living and medical expenses incurred in connection with the mother’s pregnancy and the child’s birth, in accordance with his financial ability and when not prevented from doing so by the birth mother or person or authorized agency having lawful custody of the child. The responsibility of the unmarried biological father to provide financial assistance to the birth mother during her pregnancy and to the child after birth is not abated because support is being provided to the birth mother or child by the adoption entity, a prospective adoptive parent, or a third party, nor does it serve as a basis to excuse the birth father’s failure to provide support.
(c) The mere fact that a father expresses a desire to fulfill his responsibilities towards his child which is unsupported by acts evidencing this intent does not meet the requirements of this section.
(d) The petitioner shall file with the court a certificate from the Office of Vital Statistics stating that a diligent search has been made of the Florida Putative Father Registry of notices from unmarried biological fathers described in subparagraph (b)1. and that no filing has been found pertaining to the father of the child in question or, if a filing is found, stating the name of the putative father and the time and date of filing. That certificate shall be filed with the court prior to the entry of a final judgment of termination of parental rights.
(e) An unmarried biological father who does not comply with each of the conditions provided in this subsection is deemed to have waived and surrendered any rights in relation to the child, including the right to notice of any judicial proceeding in connection with the adoption of the child, and his consent to the adoption of the child is not required.

(3) Pursuant to chapter 48, an adoption entity shall serve a notice of intended adoption plan upon any known and locatable unmarried biological father who is identified to the adoption entity by the mother by the date she signs her consent for adoption if the child is 6 months of age or less at the time the consent is executed. Service of the notice of intended adoption plan is not required when the unmarried biological father signs a consent for adoption or an affidavit of nonpaternity or when the child is more than 6 months of age at the time of the execution of the consent by the mother. The notice may be served at any time before the child’s birth or before placing the child in the adoptive home. The recipient of the notice may waive service of process by executing a waiver and acknowledging receipt of the plan. The notice of intended adoption plan must specifically state that if the unmarried biological father desires to contest the adoption plan he must, within 30 days after service, file with the court a verified response that contains a pledge of commitment to the child in substantial compliance with subparagraph (2)(b)2. and a claim of paternity form with the Office of Vital Statistics, and must provide the adoption entity with a copy of the verified response filed with the court and the claim of paternity form filed with the Office of Vital Statistics. The notice must also include instructions for submitting a claim of paternity form to the Office of Vital Statistics and the address to which the claim must be sent. If the party served with the notice of intended adoption plan is an entity whose consent is required, the notice must specifically state that the entity must file, within 30 days after service, a verified response setting forth a legal basis for contesting the intended adoption plan, specifically addressing the best interests of the child.
(a) If the unmarried biological father or entity whose consent is required fails to timely and properly file a verified response with the court and, in the case of an unmarried biological father, a claim of paternity form with the Office of Vital Statistics, the court shall enter a default judgment against the unmarried biological father or entity and the consent of that unmarried biological father or entity shall no longer be required under this chapter and shall be deemed to have waived any claim of rights to the child. To avoid an entry of a default judgment, within 30 days after receipt of service of the notice of intended adoption plan:
1. The unmarried biological father must:
a. File a claim of paternity with the Florida Putative Father Registry maintained by the Office of Vital Statistics;
b. File a verified response with the court which contains a pledge of commitment to the child in substantial compliance with subparagraph (2)(b)2.; and
c. Provide support for the birth mother and the child.
2. The entity whose consent is required must file a verified response setting forth a legal basis for contesting the intended adoption plan, specifically addressing the best interests of the child.
(b) If the mother identifies a potential unmarried biological father within the timeframes required by the statute, whose location is unknown, the adoption entity shall conduct a diligent search pursuant to s. 63.088. If, upon completion of a diligent search, the potential unmarried biological father’s location remains unknown and a search of the Florida Putative Father Registry fails to reveal a match, the adoption entity shall request in the petition for termination of parental rights pending adoption that the court declare the diligent search to be in compliance with s. 63.088, that the adoption entity has no further obligation to provide notice to the potential unmarried biological father, and that the potential unmarried biological father’s consent to the adoption is not required.
(4) Any person whose consent is required under paragraph (1)(b), or any other man, may execute an irrevocable affidavit of nonpaternity in lieu of a consent under this section and by doing so waives notice to all court proceedings after the date of execution. An affidavit of nonpaternity must be executed as provided in s. 63.082. The affidavit of nonpaternity may be executed prior to the birth of the child. The person executing the affidavit must receive disclosure under s. 63.085 prior to signing the affidavit. For purposes of this chapter, an affidavit of nonpaternity is sufficient if it contains a specific denial of parental obligations and does not need to deny the existence of a biological relationship.
(5) A person who signs a consent to adoption or an affidavit of nonpaternity must be given reasonable notice of his or her right to select a person who does not have an employment, professional, or personal relationship with the adoption entity or the prospective adoptive parents to be present when the consent to adoption or affidavit of nonpaternity is executed and to sign the consent or affidavit as a witness.
(6) The petitioner must make good faith and diligent efforts as provided under s. 63.088 to notify, and obtain written consent from, the persons required to consent to adoption under this section.
(7) If parental rights to the minor have previously been terminated, the adoption entity with which the minor has been placed for subsequent adoption may provide consent to the adoption. In such case, no other consent is required. The consent of the department shall be waived upon a determination by the court that such consent is being unreasonably withheld and if the petitioner has filed with the court a favorable preliminary adoptive home study as required under s. 63.092.
(8) A petition to adopt an adult may be granted if:
(a) Written consent to adoption has been executed by the adult and the adult’s spouse, if any, unless the spouse’s consent is waived by the court for good cause.
(b) Written notice of the final hearing on the adoption has been provided to the parents, if any, or proof of service of process has been filed, showing notice has been served on the parents as provided in this chapter.
(9) A petition for termination of parental rights must be filed in the appropriate county as determined under s. 63.087(2). If a parent whose consent is required objects to venue in the county where the action was filed, the court may transfer venue to a proper venue consistent with this chapter and chapter 47 unless the objecting parent has previously executed a waiver of venue.
(10) The waiver of venue must be a separate document containing no consents, disclosures, or other information unrelated to venue.

63.063 Responsibility of parents for actions; fraud or misrepresentation; contesting termination of parental rights and adoption.

(1) Each parent of a child conceived or born outside of marriage is responsible for his or her actions and is not excused from strict compliance with this chapter based upon any action, statement, or omission of the other parent or a third party, except as provided in s. 63.062(2)(a).
(2) Any person injured by a fraudulent representation or action in connection with an adoption may pursue civil or criminal penalties as provided by law. A fraudulent representation is not a defense to compliance with the requirements of this chapter and is not a basis for dismissing a petition for termination of parental rights or a petition for adoption, for vacating an adoption decree, or for granting custody to the offended party. Custody and adoption determinations must be based on the best interests of the child in accordance with s. 61.13.
(3) The Legislature finds no way to remove all risk of fraud or misrepresentation in adoption proceedings and has provided a method for absolute protection of an unmarried biological father’s rights through compliance with this chapter. In balancing the rights and interests of the state and of all parties affected by fraud, including the child, the adoptive parents, and the unmarried biological father, the Legislature has determined that the unmarried biological father is in the best position to prevent or ameliorate the effects of fraud and, therefore, has the burden of preventing fraud.
(4) The Legislature finds that an unmarried biological father who resides in another state may not, in every circumstance, be reasonably presumed to know and comply with the requirements of this chapter. Therefore, if all of the following requirements have been met, an unmarried biological father may contest a termination of parental rights or subsequent adoption and, before entry of the final judgment of adoption, assert his interest in the child. Following such assertion, the court may proceed with an evidentiary hearing if:
(a) The unmarried biological father resides and has resided in another state where the unmarried mother was also located or resided.
(b) The unmarried mother left that state without notifying or informing the unmarried biological father that she could be located in this state.
(c) The unmarried biological father has, through every reasonable means, attempted to locate the mother but does not know or have reason to know that the mother is residing in this state.
(d) The unmarried biological father has substantially complied with the requirements of the state where the mother previously resided or was located in order to protect and preserve his parental interest and rights with regard to the child.

63.064 Persons whose consent to an adoption may be waived.--The court may waive the consent of the following individuals to an adoption:

(1) A parent who has deserted a child without means of identification or who has abandoned a child.

(2) A parent whose parental rights have been terminated by order of a court of competent jurisdiction.

(3) A parent who has been judicially declared incompetent and for whom restoration of competency is medically improbable.

(4) A legal guardian or lawful custodian of the person to be adopted, other than a parent, who has failed to respond in writing to a request for consent for a period of 60 days or who, after examination of his or her written reasons for withholding consent, is found by the court to be withholding his or her consent unreasonably.

(5) The spouse of the person to be adopted, if the failure of the spouse to consent to the adoption is excused by reason of prolonged and unexplained absence, unavailability, incapacity, or circumstances that are found by the court to constitute unreasonable withholding of consent.

63.082 Execution of consent to adoption or affidavit of nonpaternity; family social and medical history; revocation of consent.

(1)(a) Consent to an adoption or an affidavit of nonpaternity shall be executed as follows:

1. If by the person to be adopted, by oral or written statement in the presence of the court or by being acknowledged before a notary public and in the presence of two witnesses.

2. If by an agency, by affidavit from its authorized representative.

3. If by any other person, in the presence of the court or by affidavit acknowledged before a notary public and in the presence of two witnesses.

4. If by a court, by an appropriate order or certificate of the court.

(b) A minor parent has the power to consent to the adoption of his or her child and has the power to relinquish his or her control or custody of the child to an adoption entity. Such consent or relinquishment is valid and has the same force and effect as a consent or relinquishment executed by an adult parent. A minor parent, having executed a consent or relinquishment, may not revoke that consent upon reaching the age of majority or otherwise becoming emancipated.

(c) A consent or an affidavit of nonpaternity executed by a minor parent who is 14 years of age or younger must be witnessed by a parent, legal guardian, or court-appointed guardian ad litem.

(d) The notice and consent provisions of this chapter as they relate to the father of a child do not apply in cases in which the child is conceived as a result of a violation of the criminal laws of this or another state or country, including, but not limited to, sexual battery, unlawful sexual activity with certain minors under s. 794.05, lewd acts perpetrated upon a minor, or incest.

(2) A consent that does not name or otherwise identify the adopting parent is valid if the consent contains a statement by the person consenting that the consent was voluntarily executed and that identification of the adopting parent is not required for granting the consent.

(3)(a) The department must provide a family social and medical history form to an adoption entity that intends to place a child for adoption. Forms containing, at a minimum, the same information as the forms promulgated by the department must be attached to the petition to terminate parental rights pending adoption and must contain biological and sociological information or information as to the family medical history regarding the minor and the parents. This form is not required for adoptions of relatives, adult adoptions, or adoptions of stepchildren, unless parental rights are being or were terminated pursuant to chapter 39. The information must be filed with the court in the termination of parental rights proceeding.

(b) A good faith and diligent effort must be made to have each parent whose identity is known and whose consent is required interviewed by a representative of the adoption entity before the consent is executed. A summary of each interview, or a statement that the parent is unidentified, unlocated, or unwilling or unavailable to be interviewed, must be filed with the petition to terminate parental rights pending adoption. The interview may be excused by the court for good cause. This interview is not required for adoptions of relatives, adult adoptions, or adoptions of stepchildren, unless parental rights are being or were terminated pursuant to chapter 39.

(c) If any person who is required to consent is unavailable because the person cannot be located, an affidavit of diligent search required under s. 63.088 shall be filed.

(d) If any person who is required to consent is unavailable because the person is deceased, the petition to terminate parental rights pending adoption must be accompanied by a certified copy of the death certificate. In an adoption of a stepchild or a relative, the certified copy of the death certificate of the person whose consent is required may be attached to the petition for adoption if a separate petition for termination of parental rights is not being filed.

(4)(a) An affidavit of nonpaternity may be executed before the birth of the minor; however, the consent to an adoption may not be executed before the birth of the minor except in a preplanned adoption pursuant to s. 63.213.

(b) A consent to the adoption of a minor who is to be placed for adoption shall not be executed by the birth mother sooner than 48 hours after the minor's birth or the day the birth mother has been notified in writing, either on her patient chart or in release paperwork, that she is fit to be released from the licensed hospital or birth center, whichever is earlier. A consent by a biological father or legal father may be executed at any time after the birth of the child. A consent executed under this paragraph is valid upon execution and may be withdrawn only if the court finds that it was obtained by fraud or duress.

(c) If the minor to be adopted is older than 6 months of age at the time of the execution of the consent, the consent to adoption is valid upon execution; however, it is subject to a revocation period of 3 business days.

(d) The consent to adoption or the affidavit of nonpaternity must be signed in the presence of two witnesses and be acknowledged before a notary public who is not signing as one of the witnesses. The notary public must legibly note on the consent or the affidavit the date and time of execution. The witnesses' names must be typed or printed underneath their signatures. The witnesses' home or business addresses must be included. The person who signs the consent or the affidavit has the right to have at least one of the witnesses be an individual who does not have an employment, professional, or personal relationship with the adoption entity or the prospective adoptive parents. The adoption entity must give reasonable notice to the person signing the consent or affidavit of the right to select a witness of his or her own choosing. The person who signs the consent or affidavit must acknowledge in writing on the consent or affidavit that such notice was given and indicate the witness, if any, who was selected by the person signing the consent or affidavit. The adoption entity must include its name, address, and telephone number on the consent to adoption or affidavit of nonpaternity.

(e) A consent to adoption being executed by the birth parent must be in at least 12-point boldfaced type in substantially the following form:

CONSENT TO ADOPTION

YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO SELECT AT LEAST ONE PERSON WHO DOES NOT HAVE AN EMPLOYMENT, PROFESSIONAL, OR PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP WITH THE ADOPTION ENTITY OR THE PROSPECTIVE ADOPTIVE PARENTS TO BE PRESENT WHEN THIS AFFIDAVIT IS EXECUTED AND TO SIGN IT AS A WITNESS. YOU MUST ACKNOWLEDGE ON THIS FORM THAT YOU WERE NOTIFIED OF THIS RIGHT AND YOU MUST INDICATE THE WITNESS OR WITNESSES YOU SELECTED, IF ANY.


YOU DO NOT HAVE TO SIGN THIS CONSENT FORM. YOU MAY DO ANY OF THE FOLLOWING INSTEAD OF SIGNING THIS CONSENT OR BEFORE SIGNING THIS CONSENT:


1. CONSULT WITH AN ATTORNEY;

2. HOLD, CARE FOR, AND FEED THE CHILD UNLESS OTHERWISE LEGALLY PROHIBITED;

3. PLACE THE CHILD IN FOSTER CARE OR WITH ANY FRIEND OR FAMILY MEMBER YOU CHOOSE WHO IS WILLING TO CARE FOR THE CHILD;

4. TAKE THE CHILD HOME UNLESS OTHERWISE LEGALLY PROHIBITED; AND

5. FIND OUT ABOUT THE COMMUNITY RESOURCES THAT ARE AVAILABLE TO YOU IF YOU DO NOT GO THROUGH WITH THE ADOPTION.


IF YOU DO SIGN THIS CONSENT, YOU ARE GIVING UP ALL RIGHTS TO YOUR CHILD. YOUR CONSENT IS VALID, BINDING, AND IRREVOCABLE EXCEPT UNDER SPECIFIC LEGAL CIRCUMSTANCES. IF YOU ARE GIVING UP YOUR RIGHTS TO A NEWBORN CHILD WHO IS TO BE IMMEDIATELY PLACED FOR ADOPTION UPON THE CHILD'S RELEASE FROM A LICENSED HOSPITAL OR BIRTH CENTER FOLLOWING BIRTH, A WAITING PERIOD WILL BE IMPOSED UPON THE BIRTH MOTHER BEFORE SHE MAY SIGN THE CONSENT FOR ADOPTION. A BIRTH MOTHER MUST WAIT 48 HOURS FROM THE TIME OF BIRTH, OR UNTIL THE DAY THE BIRTH MOTHER HAS BEEN NOTIFIED IN WRITING, EITHER ON HER PATIENT CHART OR IN RELEASE PAPERS, THAT SHE IS FIT TO BE RELEASED FROM A LICENSED HOSPITAL OR BIRTH CENTER, WHICHEVER IS SOONER, BEFORE THE CONSENT FOR ADOPTION MAY BE EXECUTED. A BIOLOGICAL FATHER MAY EXECUTE A CONSENT AT ANY TIME AFTER THE BIRTH OF THE CHILD. ONCE YOU HAVE SIGNED THE CONSENT, IT IS VALID, BINDING, AND IRREVOCABLE AND CANNOT BE WITHDRAWN UNLESS A COURT FINDS THAT IT WAS OBTAINED BY FRAUD OR DURESS.


IF YOU BELIEVE THAT YOUR CONSENT WAS OBTAINED BY FRAUD OR DURESS AND YOU WISH TO REVOKE THAT CONSENT, YOU MUST:


1. NOTIFY THE ADOPTION ENTITY, BY WRITING A LETTER, THAT YOU WISH TO WITHDRAW YOUR CONSENT; AND

2. PROVE IN COURT THAT THE CONSENT WAS OBTAINED BY FRAUD OR DURESS.

This statement of rights is not required for the adoption of a relative, an adult, a stepchild, or a child older than 6 months of age. A consent form for the adoption of a child older than 6 months of age at the time of execution of consent must contain a statement outlining the revocation rights provided in paragraph (c).
(5) A copy or duplicate original of each consent signed in an action for termination of parental rights pending adoption must be provided to the person who executed the consent to adoption. The copy must be hand delivered, with a written acknowledgment of receipt signed by the person whose consent is required at the time of execution. If a copy of a consent cannot be provided as required in this subsection, the adoption entity must execute an affidavit stating why the copy of the consent was not delivered. The original consent and acknowledgment of receipt, or an affidavit stating why the copy of the consent was not delivered, must be filed with the petition for termination of parental rights pending adoption.

(6)(a) If a birth parent executes a consent for placement of a minor with an adoption entity or qualified prospective adoptive parents and the minor child is in the custody of the department, but parental rights have not yet been terminated, the adoption consent shall be valid, binding, and enforceable by the court.

(b) Upon execution of the consent of the parent, the adoption entity shall be permitted to intervene in the dependency case as a party in interest and must provide the court that acquired jurisdiction over the minor, pursuant to the shelter or dependency petition filed by the department, a copy of the preliminary home study of the prospective adoptive parents and any other evidence of the suitability of the placement. The preliminary home study must be maintained with strictest confidentiality within the dependency court file and the department’s file. A preliminary home study must be provided to the court in all cases in which an adoption entity has intervened pursuant to this section. Unless the court has concerns regarding the qualifications of the home study provider, or concerns that the home study may not be adequate to determine the best interests of the child, the home study provided by the adoption entity shall be deemed to be sufficient and no additional home study needs to be performed by the department.

(c) If an adoption entity files a motion to intervene in the dependency case in accordance with this chapter, the dependency court shall promptly grant a hearing to determine whether the adoption entity has filed the required documents to be permitted to intervene and whether a change of placement of the child is appropriate.

(d) Upon a determination by the court that the prospective adoptive parents are properly qualified to adopt the minor child and that the adoption appears to be in the best interests of the minor child, the court shall immediately order the transfer of custody of the minor child to the prospective adoptive parents, under the supervision of the adoption entity. The adoption entity shall thereafter provide monthly supervision reports to the department until finalization of the adoption. If the child has been determined to be dependent by the court, the department shall provide information to the prospective adoptive parents at the time they receive placement of the dependent child regarding approved parent training classes available within the community. The department shall file with the court an acknowledgment of the parent’s receipt of the information regarding approved parent training classes available within the community.

(e) In determining whether the best interest of the child will be served by transferring the custody of the minor child to the prospective adoptive parent selected by the birth parent, the court shall give consideration to the rights of the birth parent to determine an appropriate placement for the child, the permanency offered, the child's bonding with any potential adoptive home that the child has been residing in, and the importance of maintaining sibling relationships, if possible.

(f) The adoption entity shall be responsible for keeping the dependency court informed of the status of the adoption proceedings at least every 90 days from the date of the order changing placement of the child until the date of finalization of the adoption.

(g) In all dependency proceedings, after it is determined that reunification is not a viable alternative and prior to the filing of a petition for termination of parental rights, the court shall advise the biological parent who is a party to the case of the right to participate in a private adoption plan.

(7) If a person is seeking to revoke consent for a child older than 6 months of age:
(a) The person seeking to revoke consent must, in accordance with paragraph (4)(c), notify the adoption entity in writing by certified mail, return receipt requested, within 3 business days after execution of the consent. As used in this subsection, the term “business day” means any day on which the United States Postal Service accepts certified mail for delivery.

(b) Upon receiving timely written notice from a person whose consent to adoption is required of that person’s desire to revoke consent, the adoption entity must contact the prospective adoptive parent to arrange a time certain for the adoption entity to regain physical custody of the minor, unless, upon a motion for emergency hearing by the adoption entity, the court determines in written findings that placement of the minor with the person who had legal or physical custody of the child immediately before the child was placed for adoption may endanger the minor or that the person who desires to revoke consent is not required to consent to the adoption, has been determined to have abandoned the child, or is otherwise subject to a determination that the person’s consent is waived under this chapter.

(c) If the court finds that the placement may endanger the minor, the court shall enter an order continuing the placement of the minor with the prospective adoptive parents pending further proceedings if they desire continued placement. If the prospective adoptive parents do not desire continued placement, the order must include, but need not be limited to, a determination of whether temporary placement in foster care, with the person who had legal or physical custody of the child immediately before placing the child for adoption, or with a relative is in the best interests of the child and whether an investigation by the department is recommended.

(d) If the person revoking consent claims to be the father of the minor but has not been established to be the father by marriage, court order, or scientific testing, the court may order scientific paternity testing and reserve ruling on removal of the minor until the results of such testing have been filed with the court.

(e) The adoption entity must return the minor within 3 business days after timely and proper notification of the withdrawal of consent or after the court determines that withdrawal is valid and binding upon consideration of an emergency motion, as filed pursuant to paragraph (b), to the physical custody of the person withdrawing consent or the person directed by the court. If the person seeking to validly withdraw consent claims to be the father of the minor but has not been established to be the father by marriage, court order, or scientific testing, the adoption entity may return the minor to the care and custody of the mother, if she desires such placement, and the mother is not otherwise prohibited by law from having custody of the child.

(f) Following the revocation period for withdrawal of consent described in paragraph (a), or the placement of the child with the prospective adoptive parents, whichever occurs later, consent may be withdrawn only when the court finds that the consent was obtained by fraud or duress.

(g) An affidavit of nonpaternity may be withdrawn only if the court finds that the affidavit was obtained by fraud or duress.

(h) If the consent of one parent is set aside or revoked in accordance with this chapter, any other consents executed by the other parent or a third party whose consent is required for the adoption of the child may not be used by the parent 1whose consent was revoked or set aside to terminate or diminish the rights of the other parent or third party whose consent was required for the adoption of the child.

63.085 Disclosure by adoption entity.--

(1) DISCLOSURE REQUIRED TO PARENTS AND PROSPECTIVE ADOPTIVE PARENTS.--Not later than 14 days after a person seeking to adopt a minor or a person seeking to place a minor for adoption contacts an adoption entity in person or provides the adoption entity with a mailing address, the entity must provide a written disclosure statement to that person if the entity agrees or continues to work with such person. If an adoption entity is assisting in the effort to terminate the parental rights of a parent who did not initiate the contact with the adoption entity, the written disclosure must be provided within 14 days after that parent is identified and located. For purposes of providing the written disclosure, a person is considered to be seeking to place a minor for adoption when that person has sought information or advice from the adoption entity regarding the option of adoptive placement. The written disclosure statement must be in substantially the following form:

ADOPTION DISCLOSURE

THE STATE OF FLORIDA REQUIRES THAT THIS FORM BE PROVIDED TO ALL PERSONS CONSIDERING ADOPTING A MINOR OR SEEKING TO PLACE A MINOR FOR ADOPTION, TO ADVISE THEM OF THE FOLLOWING FACTS REGARDING ADOPTION UNDER FLORIDA LAW:

1. The name, address, and telephone number of the adoption entity providing this disclosure is:

Name:

Address:

Telephone Number:

2. The adoption entity does not provide legal representation or advice to birth parents, and birth parents have the right to consult with an attorney of their own choosing to advise them.

3. With the exception of an adoption by a stepparent or relative, a child cannot be placed into a prospective adoptive home unless the prospective adoptive parents have received a favorable preliminary home study, including criminal and child abuse clearances.

4. A valid consent for adoption may not be signed by the birth mother until 48 hours after the birth of the child, or the day the birth mother is notified, in writing, that she is fit for discharge from the licensed hospital or birth center. A putative father may sign a valid consent for adoption at any time after the birth of the child.

5. A consent for adoption signed before the child attains the age of 6 months is binding and irrevocable from the moment it is signed unless it can be proven in court that the consent was obtained by fraud or duress. A consent for adoption signed after the child attains the age of 6 months is valid from the moment it is signed; however, it may be revoked up to 3 business days after it was signed.

6. A consent for adoption is not valid if the signature of the person who signed the consent was obtained by fraud or duress.

7. An unmarried biological father must act immediately in order to protect his parental rights. Section 63.062, Florida Statutes, prescribes that any father seeking to establish his right to consent to the adoption of his child must file a claim of paternity with the Florida Putative Father Registry maintained by the Office of Vital Statistics of the Department of Health by the date a petition to terminate parental rights is filed with the court, or within 30 days after receiving service of a Notice of Intended Adoption Plan. If he receives a Notice of Intended Adoption Plan, he must file a claim of paternity with the Florida Putative Father Registry, file a parenting plan with the court, and provide financial support to the mother or child within 30 days following service. An unmarried biological father’s failure to timely respond to a Notice of Intended Adoption Plan constitutes an irrevocable legal waiver of any and all rights that the father may have to the child. A claim of paternity registration form for the Florida Putative Father Registry may be obtained from any local office of the Department of Health, Office of Vital Statistics, the Department of Children and Families, the Internet websites for these agencies, and the offices of the clerks of the Florida circuit courts. The claim of paternity form must be submitted to the Office of Vital Statistics, Attention: Adoption Unit, P.O. Box 210, Jacksonville, FL 32231.

8. There are alternatives to adoption, including foster care, relative care, and parenting the child. There may be services and sources of financial assistance in the community available to birth parents if they choose to parent the child.

9. A birth parent has the right to have a witness of his or her choice, who is unconnected with the adoption entity or the adoptive parents, to be present and witness the signing of the consent or affidavit of nonpaternity.

10. A parent 14 years of age or younger must have a parent, legal guardian, or court-appointed guardian ad litem to assist and advise the parent as to the adoption plan and to witness consent.

11. A parent has a right to receive supportive counseling from a counselor, social worker, physician, clergy, or attorney.

12. The payment of living or medical expenses by the prospective adoptive parents prior to the birth of the child does not, in any way, obligate the birth parent to sign the consent for adoption.

(2) DISCLOSURE TO ADOPTIVE PARENTS

(a) At the time that an adoption entity is responsible for selecting prospective adoptive parents for a born or unborn child whose parents are seeking to place the child for adoption or whose rights were terminated pursuant to chapter 39, the adoption entity must provide the prospective adoptive parents with information concerning the background of the child to the extent such information is disclosed to the adoption entity by the parents, legal custodian, or the department. This subsection applies only if the adoption entity identifies the prospective adoptive parents and supervises the placement of the child in the prospective adoptive parents’ home. If any information cannot be disclosed because the records custodian failed or refused to produce the background information, the adoption entity has a duty to provide the information if it becomes available. An individual or entity contacted by an adoption entity to obtain the background information must release the requested information to the adoption entity without the necessity of a subpoena or a court order. In all cases, the prospective adoptive parents must receive all available information by the date of the final hearing on the petition for adoption. The information to be disclosed includes:
1. A family social and medical history form completed pursuant to s. 63.162(6).
2. The biological mother’s medical records documenting her prenatal care and the birth and delivery of the child.
3. A complete set of the child’s medical records documenting all medical treatment and care since the child’s birth and before placement.
4. All mental health, psychological, and psychiatric records, reports, and evaluations concerning the child before placement.
5. The child’s educational records, including all records concerning any special education needs of the child before placement.
6. Records documenting all incidents that required the department to provide services to the child, including all orders of adjudication of dependency or termination of parental rights issued pursuant to chapter 39, any case plans drafted to address the child’s needs, all protective services investigations identifying the child as a victim, and all guardian ad litem reports filed with the court concerning the child.
7. Written information concerning the availability of adoption subsidies for the child, if applicable.
(b) When disclosing information pursuant to this subsection, the adoption entity must redact any confidential identifying information concerning the child’s parents, foster parents and their families, siblings, relatives, and perpetrators of crimes against the child or involving the child.
(c) If the prospective adoptive parents waive the receipt of any of the records described in paragraph (a), a copy of the written notification of the waiver to the adoption entity shall be filed with the court.

(3) ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF DISCLOSURE.—The adoption entity must obtain a written statement acknowledging receipt of the disclosures required under this section and signed by the persons receiving the disclosure or, if it is not possible to obtain such an acknowledgment, the adoption entity must execute an affidavit stating why an acknowledgment could not be obtained. If the disclosure was delivered by certified mail, return receipt requested, a return receipt signed by the person from whom acknowledgment is required is sufficient to meet the requirements of this subsection. A copy of the acknowledgment of receipt of the disclosure must be provided to the person signing it. A copy of the acknowledgment or affidavit executed by the adoption entity in lieu of the acknowledgment must be maintained in the file of the adoption entity. The original acknowledgment or affidavit must be filed with the court.

(4) REVOCATION OF CONSENT.--Failure to meet the requirements of subsection (1) or subsection (2) does not constitute grounds for revocation of a consent to adoption or withdrawal of an affidavit of nonpaternity unless the extent and circumstances of such a failure result in a material failure of fundamental fairness in the administration of due process, or the failure constitutes or contributes materially to fraud or duress in obtaining a consent to adoption or affidavit of nonpaternity.

63.087 Proceeding to terminate parental rights pending adoption; general provisions.--

(1) JURISDICTION.--A court of this state which is competent to decide child welfare or custody matters has jurisdiction to hear all matters arising from a proceeding to terminate parental rights pending adoption.

(2) VENUE.--

(a) A petition to terminate parental rights pending adoption must be filed:

1. In the county where the child resides;

2. In the county where the adoption entity is located; or

(b) If a petition for termination of parental rights has been filed and a parent whose consent is required objects to venue, there must be a hearing in which the court shall determine whether that parent intends to assert legally recognized grounds to contest a termination of parental rights and, if so, the court may transfer venue to a proper venue under this subsection. For purposes of selecting venue, the court shall consider the ease of access to the court for the parent and the factors set forth in s. 47.122.

(c) If there is a transfer of venue, the court may determine which party shall bear the cost of venue transfer.

For purposes of the hearing under this subsection, witnesses located in another jurisdiction may testify by deposition or testify by telephone, audiovisual means, or other electronic means before a designated court or at another location. Documentary evidence transmitted from another location by technological means that do not produce an original writing may not be excluded from evidence on an objection based on the means of transmission. The court on its own motion may otherwise prescribe the manner in which and the terms upon which the testimony is taken.

(3) PREREQUISITE FOR ADOPTION. A petition for adoption may not be filed until after the date the court enters the judgment terminating parental rights pending adoption. Adoptions of relatives, adult adoptions, or adoptions of stepchildren are not required to file a separate termination of parental rights proceeding pending adoption. In such cases, the petitioner may file a joint petition for termination of parental rights and adoption, attaching all required consents, affidavits, notices, and acknowledgments. Unless otherwise provided by law, this chapter applies to joint petitions.

(4) PETITION.--

(a) A proceeding seeking to terminate parental rights pending adoption pursuant to this chapter must be initiated by the filing of an original petition after the birth of the minor.

(b) The petition may be filed by a parent or person having physical custody of the minor. The petition may be filed by an adoption entity only if a parent or person having physical or legal custody who has executed a consent to adoption pursuant to s. 63.082 also consents in writing to the adoption entity filing the petition. The original of such consent must be filed with the petition.

(c) The petition must be entitled: "In the Matter of the Termination of Parental Rights for the Proposed Adoption of a Minor Child."

(d) The petition to terminate parental rights pending adoption must be in writing and signed by the petitioner under oath stating the petitioner's good faith in filing the petition. A written consent to adoption, affidavit of nonpaternity, or affidavit of diligent search under s. 63.088, for each person whose consent to adoption is required under s. 63.062, must be executed and attached.

(e) The petition must include:

1. The minor's name, gender, date of birth, and place of birth. The petition must contain all names by which the minor is or has been known, excluding the minor's prospective adoptive name but including the minor's legal name at the time of the filing of the petition. In the case of an infant child whose adoptive name appears on the original birth certificate, the adoptive name shall not be included in the petition, nor shall it be included elsewhere in the termination of parental rights proceeding.

2. All information required by the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act and the Indian Child Welfare Act.

3. A statement of the grounds under s. 63.089 upon which the petition is based.

4. The name, address, and telephone number of any adoption entity seeking to place the minor for adoption.

5. The name, address, and telephone number of the division of the circuit court in which the petition is to be filed.

6. A certification of compliance with the requirements of s. 63.0425 regarding notice to grandparents of an impending adoption.

(5) SUMMONS TO BE ISSUED.--The petitioner shall cause a summons to be issued substantially in the form provided in Form 1.902, Florida Rules of Civil Procedure. Petition and summons shall be served upon any person whose consent has been provided but who has not waived service of the pleadings and notice of the hearing thereon and also upon any person whose consent is required but who has not provided that consent.

(6) ANSWER REQUIRED.--An answer to the petition or any pleading requiring an answer shall be filed in accordance with the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure. Failure to file a written response or to appear at the hearing on the petition constitutes grounds upon which the court may terminate parental rights. The petitioner shall provide notice of the final hearing by United States mail to any person who has been served with the summons and petition for termination of parental rights within the specified time periods. Notwithstanding the filing of any answer or any pleading, any person present at the hearing to terminate parental rights pending adoption whose consent to adoption is required under s. 63.062 must:

(a) Be advised by the court that he or she has a right to ask that the hearing be reset for a later date so that the person may consult with an attorney; and

(b) Be given an opportunity to deny the allegations in the petition.

63.088 Proceeding to terminate parental rights pending adoption; notice and service; diligent search.--

(1) NOTICE REQUIRED.-- An unmarried biological father, by virtue of the fact that he has engaged in a sexual relationship with a woman, is deemed to be on notice that a pregnancy and an adoption proceeding regarding that child may occur and that he has a duty to protect his own rights and interest. He is, therefore, entitled to notice of a birth or adoption proceeding with regard to that child only as provided in this chapter. If a mother fails to identify an unmarried biological father to the adoption entity by the date she signs her consent for adoption, the unmarried biological father’s claim that he did not receive actual notice of the adoption proceeding is not a defense to the termination of his parental rights.

(2) INITIATE LOCATION PROCEDURES.--When the location of a person whose consent to an adoption is required but is not known, the adoption entity must begin the inquiry and diligent search process required by this section within a reasonable time period after the date on which the person seeking to place a minor for adoption has evidenced in writing to the adoption entity a desire to place the minor for adoption with that entity, or not later than 30 days after the date any money is provided as permitted under this chapter by the adoption entity for the benefit of the person seeking to place a minor for adoption.

(3) LOCATION AND IDENTITY KNOWN.--Before the court may determine that a minor is available for adoption, and in addition to the other requirements set forth in this chapter, each person whose consent is required under s. 63.062, who has not executed an affidavit of nonpaternity, and whose location and identity have been determined by compliance with the procedures in this section must be personally served, pursuant to chapter 48, at least 20 days before the hearing with a copy of the petition to terminate parental rights pending adoption and with notice in substantially the following form:

NOTICE OF PETITION AND HEARING
TO TERMINATE PARENTAL RIGHTS
PENDING ADOPTION

A petition to terminate parental rights pending adoption has been filed. A copy of the petition is being served with this notice. There will be a hearing on the petition to terminate parental rights pending adoption on (date) at (time) before (judge) at (location, including complete name and street address of the courthouse) . The court has set aside (amount of time) for this hearing.

UNDER SECTION 63.089, FLORIDA STATUTES, FAILURE TO FILE A WRITTEN RESPONSE TO THIS NOTICE WITH THE COURT OR TO APPEAR AT THIS HEARING CONSTITUTES GROUNDS UPON WHICH THE COURT SHALL END ANY PARENTAL RIGHTS YOU MAY HAVE REGARDING THE MINOR CHILD.

(4) REQUIRED INQUIRY.--In proceedings initiated under s. 63.087, the court must conduct an inquiry of the person who is placing the minor for adoption and of any relative or person having legal custody of the minor who is present at the hearing and likely to have the following information regarding the identity of:

(a) Any person to whom the mother of the minor was married at any time when conception of the minor may have occurred or at the time of the birth of the minor;

(b) Any person who has been declared by a court to be the father of the minor;

(c) Any man who has adopted the minor;

(d) Any man with whom the mother was cohabiting at any time when conception of the minor may have occurred; and

(e) Any person who has acknowledged or claimed paternity of the minor.

The information required under this subsection may be provided to the court in the form of a sworn affidavit by a person having personal knowledge of the facts, addressing each inquiry enumerated in this subsection, except that, if the inquiry identifies a father under paragraph (a), paragraph (b), or paragraph (c), the inquiry shall not continue further. The inquiry required under this subsection may be conducted before the birth of the minor.

(5) LOCATION UNKNOWN; IDENTITY KNOWN.--If the inquiry by the court under subsection (4) identifies any person whose consent to adoption is required under s. 63.062 and who has not executed a consent to adoption or an affidavit of nonpaternity, and the location of the person from whom consent is required is unknown, the adoption entity must conduct a diligent search for that person which must include inquiries concerning:

(a) The person's current address, or any previous address, through an inquiry of the United States Postal Service through the Freedom of Information Act;

(b) The last known employment of the person, including the name and address of the person's employer;

(c) Names and addresses of relatives to the extent such can be reasonably obtained from the petitioner or other sources, contacts with those relatives, and inquiry as to the person's last known address. The petitioner shall pursue any leads of any addresses to which the person may have moved;

(d) Information as to whether or not the person may have died and, if so, the date and location;

(e) Telephone listings in the area where the person last resided;

(f) Inquiries of law enforcement agencies in the area where the person last resided;

(g) Highway patrol records in the state where the person last resided;

(h) Department of Corrections records in the state where the person last resided;

(i) Hospitals in the area where the person last resided;

(j) Records of utility companies, including water, sewer, cable television, and electric companies, in the area where the person last resided;

(k) Records of the Armed Forces of the United States as to whether there is any information as to the person;

(l) Records of the tax assessor and tax collector in the area where the person last resided; and

(m) Search of one Internet databank locator service.

A person contacted by a petitioner or adoption entity requesting records under this subsection must release the requested records to the petitioner or adoption entity without the necessity of a subpoena or a court order, except when prohibited by law. An affidavit of diligent search conducted in accordance with this section must be filed with the court. The diligent search may be conducted before the birth of the minor. A judgment terminating parental rights and approving a diligent search that fails to locate a person is valid and is not subject to direct or collateral attack because the mother failed or refused to provide the adoption entity with sufficient information to locate the person.

(6) CONSTRUCTIVE SERVICE.--This subsection only applies if, as to any person whose consent is required under s. 63.062 and who has not executed a consent to adoption or an affidavit of nonpaternity, the location of the person is unknown and the inquiry under subsection (4) fails to locate the person. The unlocated person must be served notice under subsection (3) by constructive service in the manner provided in chapter 49. The notice shall be published in the county where the person was last known to have resided. The notice, in addition to all information required under chapter 49, must include a physical description, including, but not limited to, age, race, hair and eye color, and approximate height and weight of the person, the minor's date of birth, and the place of birth of the minor. Constructive service by publication shall not be required to provide notice to an identified birth father whose consent is not required pursuant to ss. 63.062 and 63.064.

63.089 Proceeding to terminate parental rights pending adoption; hearing; grounds; dismissal of petition; judgment.--

(1) HEARING.--The court may terminate parental rights pending adoption only after a hearing.

(2) HEARING PREREQUISITES.--The court may hold the hearing only when:

(a) For each person whose consent to adoption is required under s. 63.062:

1. A consent under s. 63.082 has been executed and filed with the court;

2. An affidavit of nonpaternity under s. 63.082 has been executed and filed with the court;

3. Notice has been provided under ss. 63.087 and 63.088; or

4. The certificate from the Office of Vital Statistics has been provided to the court stating that a diligent search has been made of the Florida Putative Father Registry created in s. 63.054 and that no filing has been found pertaining to the father of the child in question or, if a filing is found, stating the name of the putative father and the time and date of the filing.

(b) For each notice and petition that must be served under ss. 63.087 and 63.088:

1. At least 20 days have elapsed since the date of personal service and an affidavit of service has been filed with the court;

2. At least 30 days have elapsed since the first date of publication of constructive service and an affidavit of service has been filed with the court; or

3. An affidavit of nonpaternity which affirmatively waives service has been executed and filed with the court;

(c) The minor named in the petition has been born; and

(d) The petition contains all information required under s. 63.087 and all affidavits of inquiry, diligent search, and service required under s. 63.088 have been obtained and filed with the court.

(3) GROUNDS FOR TERMINATING PARENTAL RIGHTS PENDING ADOPTION.--The court may enter a judgment terminating parental rights pending adoption if the court determines by clear and convincing evidence, supported by written findings of fact, that each person whose consent to adoption is required under s. 63.062:

(a) Has executed a valid consent under s. 63.082 and the consent was obtained according to the requirements of this chapter;

(b) Has executed an affidavit of nonpaternity and the affidavit was obtained according to the requirements of this chapter;

(c) Has been served with a notice of the intended adoption plan in accordance with the provisions of s. 63.062(3) and has failed to respond within the designated time period;

(d) Has been properly served notice of the proceeding in accordance with the requirements of this chapter and has failed to file a written answer or appear at the evidentiary hearing resulting in the judgment terminating parental rights pending adoption;

(e) Has been properly served notice of the proceeding in accordance with the requirements of this chapter and has been determined under subsection (4) to have abandoned the minor as defined in s. 63.032;

(f) Is a parent of the person to be adopted, which parent has been judicially declared incapacitated with restoration of competency found to be medically improbable;

(g) Is a person who has legal custody of the person to be adopted, other than a parent, who has failed to respond in writing to a request for consent for a period of 60 days or, after examination of his or her written reasons for withholding consent, is found by the court to be withholding his or her consent unreasonably;

(h) Has been properly served notice of the proceeding in accordance with the requirements of this chapter, but has been found by the court, after examining written reasons for the withholding of consent, to be unreasonably withholding his or her consent; or

(i) Is the spouse of the person to be adopted who has failed to consent, and the failure of the spouse to consent to the adoption is excused by reason of prolonged and unexplained absence, unavailability, incapacity, or circumstances that are found by the court to constitute unreasonable withholding of consent.

(4) FINDING OF ABANDONMENT.--A finding of abandonment resulting in a termination of parental rights must be based upon clear and convincing evidence that a parent or person having legal custody has abandoned the child in accordance with the definition contained in s. 63.032. A finding of abandonment may also be based upon emotional abuse or a refusal to provide reasonable financial support, when able, to a birth mother during her pregnancy or on whether the person alleged to have abandoned the child, while being able, failed to establish contact with the child or accept responsibility for the child’s welfare.

(a) In making a determination of abandonment at a hearing for termination of parental rights pursuant to this chapter, the court must consider, among other relevant factors not inconsistent with this section:

1. Whether the actions alleged to constitute abandonment demonstrate a willful disregard for the safety or welfare of the child or unborn child;

2. Whether the person alleged to have abandoned the child, while being able, failed to provide financial support;

3. Whether the person alleged to have abandoned the child, while being able, failed to pay for medical treatment; and

4. Whether the amount of support provided or medical expenses paid was appropriate, taking into consideration the needs of the child and relative means and resources available to the person alleged to have abandoned the child.

(b) The child has been abandoned when the parent of a child is incarcerated on or after October 1, 2001, in a state or federal correctional institution and:

1. The period of time for which the parent has been or is expected to be incarcerated will constitute a significant portion of the child’s minority. In determining whether the period of time is significant, the court shall consider the child’s age and the child’s need for a permanent and stable home. The period of time begins on the date that the parent enters into incarceration;

2. The incarcerated parent has been determined by the court to be a violent career criminal as defined in s. 775.084, a habitual violent felony offender as defined in s. 775.084, convicted of child abuse as defined in s. 827.03, or a sexual predator as defined in s. 775.21; has been convicted of first degree or second degree murder in violation of s. 782.04 or a sexual battery that constitutes a capital, life, or first degree felony violation of s. 794.011; or has been convicted of an offense in another jurisdiction which is substantially similar to one of the offenses listed in this subparagraph. As used in this section, the term "substantially similar offense" means any offense that is substantially similar in elements and penalties to one of those listed in this subparagraph, and that is in violation of a law of any other jurisdiction, whether that of another state, the District of Columbia, the United States or any possession or territory thereof, or any foreign jurisdiction; or

3. The court determines by clear and convincing evidence that continuing the parental relationship with the incarcerated parent would be harmful to the child and, for this reason, that termination of the parental rights of the incarcerated parent is in the best interest of the child.

(5) DISMISSAL OF PETITION.--If the court does not find by clear and convincing evidence that parental rights of a parent should be terminated pending adoption, the court must dismiss the petition and that parent’s parental rights that were the subject of such petition shall remain in full force under the law. The order must include written findings in support of the dismissal, including findings as to the criteria in subsection (4) if rejecting a claim of abandonment.

(a) Parental rights may not be terminated based upon a consent that the court finds has been timely revoked under s. 63.082 or a consent to adoption or affidavit of nonpaternity that the court finds was obtained by fraud or duress.

(b) The court must enter an order based upon written findings providing for the placement of the minor, but the court may not proceed to determine custody between competing eligible parties. The placement of the child should revert to the parent or guardian who had physical custody of the child at the time of the placement for adoption unless the court determines upon clear and convincing evidence that this placement is not in the best interests of the child or is not an available option for the child. The court may not change the placement of a child who has established a bonded relationship with the current caregiver without providing for a reasonable transition plan consistent with the best interests of the child. The court may direct the parties to participate in a reunification or unification plan with a qualified professional to assist the child in the transition. The court may order scientific testing to determine the paternity of the minor only if the court has determined that the consent of the alleged father would be required, unless all parties agree that such testing is in the best interests of the child. The court may not order scientific testing to determine paternity of an unmarried biological father if the child has a father as described in s. 63.088(4)(a)-(d) whose rights have not been previously terminated. Further proceedings, if any, regarding the minor must be brought in a separate custody action under chapter 61, a dependency action under chapter 39, or a paternity action under chapter 742.

(6) JUDGMENT TERMINATING PARENTAL RIGHTS PENDING ADOPTION.--

(a) The judgment terminating parental rights pending adoption must be in writing and contain findings of fact as to the grounds for terminating parental rights.

(b) Within 7 days after filing, the court shall mail a copy of the judgment to the department. The clerk shall execute a certificate of such mailing.

(c) The judgment terminating parental rights pending adoption legally frees the child for subsequent adoption, adjudicates the child’s status, and may not be challenged by a person claiming parental status who did not establish parental rights before the filing of the petition for termination, except as specifically provided in this chapter.

(7) RELIEF FROM JUDGMENT TERMINATING PARENTAL RIGHTS.--

(a) A motion for relief from a judgment terminating parental rights must be filed with the court originally entering the judgment. The motion must be filed within a reasonable time, but not later than 1 year after the entry of the judgment terminating parental rights.

(b) No later than 30 days after the filing of a motion under this subsection, the court must conduct a preliminary hearing to determine what contact, if any, shall be permitted between a parent and the child pending resolution of the motion. Such contact shall be considered only if it is requested by a parent who has appeared at the hearing. If the court orders contact between a parent and child, the order must be issued in writing as expeditiously as possible and must state with specificity any provisions regarding contact with persons other than those with whom the child resides.

(c) At the preliminary hearing, the court, upon the motion of any party or upon its own motion, may order scientific testing to determine the paternity of the minor if the person seeking to set aside the judgment is alleging to be the child's father and that fact has not previously been determined by legitimacy or scientific testing. The court may order visitation with a person for whom scientific testing for paternity has been ordered and who has previously established a bonded relationship with the child.

(d) Unless otherwise agreed between the parties or for good cause shown, the court shall conduct a final hearing on the motion for relief from judgment within 45 days after the filing and enter its written order as expeditiously as possible thereafter.

(e) If the court grants relief from the judgment terminating parental rights and no new pleading is filed to terminate parental rights, the placement of the child should revert to the parent or guardian who had physical custody of the child at the time of the original placement for adoption unless the court determines upon clear and convincing evidence that this placement is not in the best interests of the child or is not an available option for the child. The court may not change the placement of a child who has established a bonded relationship with the current caregiver without providing for a reasonable transition plan consistent with the best interests of the child. The court may direct the parties to participate in a reunification or unification plan with a qualified professional to assist the child in the transition. The court may not direct the placement of a child with a person other than the adoptive parents without first obtaining a favorable home study of that person and any other persons residing in the proposed home and shall take whatever additional steps are necessary and appropriate for the physical and emotional protection of the child.

(8) RECORDS; CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION.--All papers and records pertaining to a petition to terminate parental rights pending adoption are related to the subsequent adoption of the minor and are subject to the provisions of s. 63.162. The confidentiality provisions of this chapter do not apply to the extent information regarding persons or proceedings must be made available as specified under s. 63.088.

63.092 Report to the court of intended placement by an adoption entity; at-risk placement; preliminary study.--

(1) REPORT TO THE COURT.--The adoption entity must report any intended placement of a minor for adoption with any person who is not a relative or a stepparent if the adoption entity has knowledge of, or participates in, such intended placement. The report must be made to the court before the minor is placed in the home or within 48 hours thereafter.

(2) AT-RISK PLACEMENT.--If the minor is placed in the prospective adoptive home before the parental rights of the minor's parents are terminated under s. 63.089, the placement is an at-risk placement. If the placement is an at-risk placement, the prospective adoptive parents must acknowledge in writing before the minor may be placed in the prospective adoptive home that the placement is at risk. The prospective adoptive parents shall be advised by the adoption entity, in writing, that the minor is subject to removal from the prospective adoptive home by the adoption entity or by court order at any time prior to the finalization of the adoption.

(3) PRELIMINARY HOME STUDY.--Before placing the minor in the intended adoptive home, a preliminary home study must be performed by a licensed child-placing agency, a child-caring agency registered under s. 409.176, a licensed professional, or agency described in s. 61.20(2), unless the adoptee is an adult or the petitioner is a stepparent or a relative. If the adoptee is an adult or the petitioner is a stepparent or a relative, a preliminary home study may be required by the court for good cause shown. The department is required to perform the preliminary home study only if there is no licensed child-placing agency, child-caring agency registered under s. 409.176, licensed professional, or agency described in s. 61.20(2), in the county where the prospective adoptive parents reside. The preliminary home study must be made to determine the suitability of the intended adoptive parents and may be completed prior to identification of a prospective adoptive minor. A favorable preliminary home study is valid for 1 year after the date of its completion. Upon its completion, a copy of the home study must be provided to the intended adoptive parents who were the subject of the home study. A minor may not be placed in an intended adoptive home before a favorable preliminary home study is completed unless the adoptive home is also a licensed foster home under s. 409.175. The preliminary home study must include, at a minimum:

(a) An interview with the intended adoptive parents;

(b) Records checks of the department's central abuse registry and criminal records correspondence checks pursuant to s. 435.045 through the Department of Law Enforcement on the intended adoptive parents;

(c) An assessment of the physical environment of the home;

(d) A determination of the financial security of the intended adoptive parents;

(e) Documentation of counseling and education of the intended adoptive parents on adoptive parenting;

(f) Documentation that information on adoption and the adoption process has been provided to the intended adoptive parents;

(g) Documentation that information on support services available in the community has been provided to the intended adoptive parents; and

(h) A copy of each signed acknowledgment of receipt of disclosure required by s. 63.085.

If the preliminary home study is favorable, a minor may be placed in the home pending entry of the judgment of adoption. A minor may not be placed in the home if the preliminary home study is unfavorable. If the preliminary home study is unfavorable, the adoption entity may, within 20 days after receipt of a copy of the written recommendation, petition the court to determine the suitability of the intended adoptive home. A determination as to suitability under this subsection does not act as a presumption of suitability at the final hearing. In determining the suitability of the intended adoptive home, the court must consider the totality of the circumstances in the home. No minor may be placed in a home in which there resides any person determined by the court to be a sexual predator as defined in s. 775.21 or to have been convicted of an offense listed in s. 63.089(4)(b)2.

63.097 Fees.--

(1) When the adoption entity is an agency, fees may be assessed if they are approved by the department within the process of licensing the agency and if they are for:

(a) Foster care expenses;

(b) Preplacement and postplacement social services; and

(c) Agency facility and administrative costs.

(2) The following fees, costs, and expenses may be assessed by the adoption entity or paid by the adoption entity on behalf of the prospective adoptive parents:

(a) Reasonable living expenses of the birth mother which the birth mother is unable to pay due to unemployment, underemployment, or disability. Reasonable living expenses are rent, utilities, basic telephone service, food, toiletries, necessary clothing, transportation, insurance, and expenses found by the court to be necessary for the health and well-being of the birth mother and the unborn child. Such expenses may be paid during the pregnancy and for a period of up to 6 weeks postpartum.

(b) Reasonable and necessary medical expenses. Such expenses may be paid during the pregnancy and for a period of up to 6 weeks postpartum.

(c) Expenses necessary to comply with the requirements of this chapter, including, but not limited to, service of process under s. 63.088, investigator fees, a diligent search under s. 63.088, a preliminary home study under s. 63.092, and a final home investigation under s. 63.125.

(d) Court filing expenses, court costs, and other litigation expenses and birth certificate and medical record expenses.

(e) Costs associated with advertising under s. 63.212(1)(g).

(f) The following professional fees:

1. A reasonable hourly fee or flat fee necessary to provide legal representation to the adoptive parents or adoption entity in a proceeding filed under this chapter.

2. A reasonable hourly fee or flat fee for contact with the parent related to the adoption. In determining a reasonable hourly fee under this subparagraph, the court must consider if the tasks done were clerical or of such a nature that the matter could have been handled by support staff at a lesser rate than the rate for legal representation charged under subparagraph 1. Such tasks include, but need not be limited to, transportation, transmitting funds, arranging appointments, and securing accommodations.

3. A reasonable hourly fee for counseling services provided to a parent or a prospective adoptive parent by a psychologist licensed under chapter 490 or a clinical social worker, marriage and family therapist, or mental health counselor licensed under chapter 491, or a counselor who is employed by an adoption entity accredited by the Council on Accreditation of Services for Children and Families to provide pregnancy counseling and supportive services.

(3) Approval of the court is not required until the total of amounts permitted under subsection (2) exceeds:

(a) $5,000 in legal or other fees;

(b) $800 in court costs; or

(c) $5,000 in reasonable and necessary living and medical expenses.

(4) Any fees, costs, or expenses not included in subsection (2) or prohibited under subsection (5) require court approval prior to payment and must be based on a finding of extraordinary circumstances.

(5) The following fees, costs, and expenses are prohibited:

(a) Any fee or expense that constitutes payment for locating a minor for adoption.

(b) Any payment which is not itemized and documented on the affidavit filed under s. 63.132.

(c) Any fee on the affidavit which does not specify the service that was provided and for which the fee is being charged, such as a fee for facilitation, acquisition, or other similar service, or which does not identify the date the service was provided, the time required to provide the service, the person or entity providing the service, and the hourly fee charged.

(6) Unless otherwise indicated in this section, when an adoption entity uses the services of a licensed child-placing agency, a professional, any other person or agency pursuant to s. 63.092, or, if necessary, the department, the person seeking to adopt the child must pay the licensed child-placing agency, professional, other person or agency, or the department an amount equal to the cost of all services performed, including, but not limited to, the cost of conducting the preliminary home study, counseling, and the final home investigation.

63.102 Filing of petition for adoption or declaratory statement; venue; proceeding for approval of fees and costs.--

(1) PETITION FOR ADOPTION.--A petition for adoption may not be filed until after the entry of the judgment or decree terminating parental rights unless the adoptee is an adult or the petitioner is a stepparent or a relative. After a judgment terminating parental rights has been entered, a proceeding for adoption may be commenced by filing a petition entitled, “In the Matter of the Adoption of  ” in the circuit court. The person to be adopted shall be designated in the caption in the name by which he or she is to be known if the petition is granted. Except for a joint petition for the adoption of a stepchild, a relative, or an adult, any name by which the minor was previously known may not be disclosed in the petition, the notice of hearing, the judgment of adoption, or the court docket as provided in s. 63.162(3).

(2) VENUE.--A petition for adoption or for a declaratory statement as to the adoption contract shall be filed in the county where the petition for termination of parental rights was granted, unless the court, in accordance with s. 47.122, changes the venue to the county where the petitioner or petitioners or the minor resides or where the adoption entity with which the minor has been placed is located. The circuit court in this state must retain jurisdiction over the matter until a final judgment is entered on the adoption. The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act does not apply until a final judgment is entered on the adoption.

(3) FILING OF ADOPTION PETITION REQUIRED.--Unless leave of court is granted for good cause shown, a petition for adoption shall be filed not later than 60 days after entry of the final judgment terminating parental rights.

(4) CONFIDENTIALITY.--If the filing of the petition for adoption or for a declaratory statement as to the adoption contract in the county where the petitioner or minor resides would tend to endanger the privacy of the petitioner or minor, the petition for adoption may be filed in a different county, provided the substantive rights of any person will not thereby be affected.

(5) PRIOR APPROVAL OF FEES AND COSTS.--A proceeding for prior approval of fees and costs may be commenced any time after an agreement is reached between the birth mother and the adoptive parents by filing a petition for declaratory statement on the agreement entitled "In the Matter of the Proposed Adoption of a Minor Child" in the circuit court.

(a) The petition must be filed by the adoption entity with the consent of the parties to the agreement.

(b) A contract for the payment of fees, costs, and expenses permitted under this chapter must be in writing, and any person who enters into the contract has 3 business days in which to cancel the contract unless placement of the child has occurred. To cancel the contract, the person must notify the adoption entity in writing by certified United States mail, return receipt requested, no later than 3 business days after signing the contract. For the purposes of this subsection, the term "business day" means a day on which the United States Postal Service accepts certified mail for delivery. If the contract is canceled within the first 3 business days, the person who cancels the contract does not owe any legal, intermediary, or other fees, but may be responsible for the adoption entity's actual costs during that time.

(c) The court may grant approval only of fees and expenses permitted under s. 63.097. A prior approval of prospective fees and costs shall create a presumption that these items will subsequently be approved by the court under s. 63.132. The court, under s. 63.132, may order an adoption entity to refund any amounts paid under this subsection that are subsequently found by the court to be greater than fees, costs, and expenses actually incurred.

(d) The contract may not require, and the court may not approve, any amount that constitutes payment for locating a minor for adoption.

(e) A declaratory statement as to the adoption contract, regardless of when filed, shall be consolidated with any related petition for adoption. The clerk of the court shall only assess one filing fee that includes the adoption action, the declaratory statement petition, and the petition for termination of parental rights.

(f) Prior approval of fees and costs by the court does not obligate the parent to ultimately relinquish the minor for adoption.

(6) STEPCHILD, RELATIVE, AND ADULT ADOPTIONS.--Petitions for the adoption of a stepchild, a relative, or an adult shall not require the filing of a separate judgment or separate proceeding terminating parental rights pending adoption. The final judgment of adoption shall have the effect of terminating parental rights simultaneously with the granting of the decree of adoption.

63.112 Petition for adoption; description; report or recommendation, exceptions; mailing.--

(1) The petition for adoption shall be signed and verified by the petitioner and filed with the clerk of the court and shall state:

(a) The date and place of birth of the person to be adopted, if known;

(b) The name to be given to the person to be adopted;

(c) The date petitioner acquired custody of the minor and the name of the adoption entity placing the minor, if any;

(d) The full name, age, and place and duration of residence of the petitioner;

(e) The marital status of the petitioner, including the date and place of marriage, if married, and divorces, if applicable to the adoption by a stepparent;

(f) A statement that the petitioner is able to provide for the material needs of the child;

(g) A description and estimate of the value of any property of the person to be adopted;

(h) The case style and date of entry of the judgment terminating parental rights or, if the adoptee is an adult or a minor relative or a stepchild of the petitioner, the address, if known, of any person whose consent to the adoption is required and, if such person has not consented, the facts or circumstances that excuse the lack of consent to justify a termination of parental rights; and

(i) The reasons why the petitioner desires to adopt the person.

(2) The following documents are required to be filed with the clerk of the court at the time the petition is filed:

(a) A certified copy of the court judgment terminating parental rights under chapter 39 or under this chapter or, if the adoptee is an adult or a minor relative or stepchild of the petitioner, the required consent, unless such consent is excused by the court.

(b) The favorable preliminary home study of the department, licensed child-placing agency, or professional pursuant to s. 63.092, as to the suitability of the home in which the minor has been placed, unless the petitioner is a stepparent or a relative.

(c) A copy of any declaratory statement previously entered by the court pursuant to s. 63.102.

(d) Documentation that an interview was held with the minor, if older than 12 years of age, unless the court, in the best interest of the minor, dispenses with the minor's consent under s. 63.062(1)(c).

(3) Unless ordered by the court, no report or recommendation is required when the placement is a stepparent adoption or an adult adoption or when the minor is a relative of one of the adoptive parents.

63.122 Notice of hearing on petition.--

(1) The hearing on the petition to adopt a minor may not be held sooner than 30 days after the date the judgment terminating parental rights was entered or sooner than 90 days after the date the minor was placed in the physical custody of the petitioner, unless good cause is shown for a shortening of these time periods. The minor must remain under the supervision of the adoption entity until the adoption becomes final. When the adoptee is an adult, the hearing may be held immediately after the filing of the petition. If the petitioner is a stepparent or a relative of the adoptee, the hearing may be held immediately after the filing of the petition if all persons whose consent is required have executed a valid consent and the consent has been filed with the court.

(2) Notice of hearing must be given as prescribed by the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure, and service of process must be made as specified by law for civil actions.

(3) Upon a showing by the petitioner that the safety and welfare of the petitioner or minor may be endangered, the court may order the names of the petitioner or minor, or both, to be deleted from the notice of hearing and from the copy of the petition attached thereto, provided the substantive rights of any person will not thereby be affected.

(4) Notice of the hearing must be given by the petitioner to the adoption entity that places the minor.

(5) After filing the petition to adopt an adult, the court may order an appropriate investigation to assist in determining whether the adoption is in the best interest of the persons involved and is in accordance with state law.

63.125 Final home investigation.--

(1) The final home investigation must be conducted before the adoption becomes final. The investigation may be conducted by a licensed child-placing agency or a professional in the same manner as provided in s. 63.092 to ascertain whether the adoptive home is a suitable home for the minor and whether the proposed adoption is in the best interest of the minor. Unless directed by the court, an investigation and recommendation are not required if the petitioner is a stepparent or if the minor is related to one of the adoptive parents within the third degree of consanguinity. The department is required to perform the home investigation only if there is no licensed child-placing agency or professional pursuant to s. 63.092 in the county in which the prospective adoptive parent resides.

(2) The department, the licensed child-placing agency, or the professional that performs the investigation must file a written report of the investigation with the court and the petitioner within 90 days after placement.

(3) The report of the investigation must contain an evaluation of the placement with a recommendation on the granting of the petition for adoption and any other information the court requires regarding the petitioner or the minor.

(4) The department, the licensed child-placing agency, or the professional making the required investigation may request other state agencies or child-placing agencies within or outside this state to make investigations of designated parts of the inquiry and to make a written report to the department, the professional, or other person or agency.

(5) The final home investigation must include:

(a) The information from the preliminary home study.

(b) After the minor is placed in the intended adoptive home, two scheduled visits with the minor and the minor's adoptive parent or parents, one of which visits must be in the home, to determine the suitability of the placement.

(c) The family social and medical history as provided in s. 63.082.

(d) Any other information relevant to the suitability of the intended adoptive home.

(e) Any other relevant information, as provided in rules that the department may adopt.

63.132 Affidavit of expenses and receipts.--

(1) Before the hearing on the petition for adoption, the prospective adoptive parent and any adoption entity must file two copies of an affidavit under this section.

(a) The affidavit must be signed by the adoption entity and the prospective adoptive parents. A copy of the affidavit must be provided to the adoptive parents at the time the affidavit is executed.

(b) The affidavit must itemize all disbursements and receipts of anything of value, including professional and legal fees, made or agreed to be made by or on behalf of the prospective adoptive parent and any adoption entity in connection with the adoption or in connection with any prior proceeding to terminate parental rights which involved the minor who is the subject of the petition for adoption. The affidavit must also include, for each legal or counseling fee itemized, the service provided for which the fee is being charged, the date the service was provided, the time required to provide the service if the service was charged by the hour, the person or entity that provided the service, and the hourly fee charged.

(c) The affidavit must show any expenses or receipts incurred in connection with:

1. The birth of the minor.

2. The placement of the minor with the petitioner.

3. The medical or hospital care received by the mother or by the minor during the mother's prenatal care and confinement.

4. The living expenses of the birth mother. The living expenses must be itemized in detail to apprise the court of the exact expenses incurred.

5. The services relating to the adoption or to the placement of the minor for adoption that were received by or on behalf of the petitioner, the adoption entity, either parent, the minor, or any other person.

The affidavit must state whether any of these expenses were paid for by collateral sources, including, but not limited to, health insurance, Medicaid, Medicare, or public assistance.

(2) The court may require such additional information as is deemed necessary.

(3) The court must issue a separate order approving or disapproving the fees, costs, and expenses itemized in the affidavit. The court may approve only fees, costs, and expenditures allowed under s. 63.097. The court may reject in whole or in part any fee, cost, or expenditure listed if the court finds that the expense is:

(a) Contrary to this chapter;

(b) Not supported by a receipt in the record, if the expense is not a fee of the adoption entity; or

(c) Not a reasonable fee or expense, considering the requirements of this chapter and the totality of the circumstances.

(4) This section does not apply to an adoption by a stepparent or an adoption of a relative or adult.

63.135 Information to be submitted to the court.

(1) The adoption entity or petitioner must file an affidavit under the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act in the termination of parental rights proceeding in the first pleading or in an affidavit attached to that pleading.

(2) Each party has a continuing duty to inform the court of any custody proceeding concerning the child in this or any other state about which he or she obtained information during this proceeding.

63.142 Hearing; judgment of adoption.--

(1) APPEARANCE.--The petitioner and the person to be adopted shall appear either in person or, with the permission of the court, telephonically before a person authorized to administer an oath at the hearing on the petition for adoption, unless:

(a) The person is a minor under 12 years of age; or

(b) The appearance of either is excused by the court for good cause.

(2) CONTINUANCE.--The court may continue the hearing from time to time to permit further observation, investigation, or consideration of any facts or circumstances affecting the granting of the petition.

(3) DISMISSAL.--

(a) If the petition is dismissed, the court shall determine the person that is to have custody of the minor.

(b) If the petition is dismissed, the court shall state with specificity the reasons for the dismissal.

(4) JUDGMENT.--At the conclusion of the hearing, after the court determines that the date for a parent to file an appeal of a valid judgment terminating that parent's parental rights has passed and no appeal, pursuant to the Florida Rules of Appellate Procedure, is pending and that the adoption is in the best interest of the person to be adopted, a judgment of adoption shall be entered. A judgment terminating parental rights pending adoption is voidable and any later judgment of adoption of that minor is voidable if, upon a parent's motion for relief from judgment, the court finds that the adoption fails to meet the requirements of this chapter. The motion must be filed within a reasonable time, but not later than 1 year after the date the judgment terminating parental rights was entered.

63.152 Application for new birth record.--Within 30 days after entry of a judgment of adoption, the clerk of the court shall transmit a certified statement of the entry to the state registrar of vital statistics on a form provided by the registrar. A new birth record containing the necessary information supplied by the certificate shall be issued by the registrar on application of the adopting parents or the adopted person.

63.162 Hearings and records in adoption proceedings; confidential nature.--

(1) All hearings held in proceedings under this act shall be held in closed court without admittance of any person other than essential officers of the court, the parties, witnesses, counsel, persons who have not consented to the adoption and are required to consent, and representatives of the agencies who are present to perform their official duties.

(2) All papers and records pertaining to the adoption, including the original birth certificate, whether part of the permanent record of the court or a file in the office of an adoption entity are confidential and subject to inspection only upon order of the court; however, the petitioner in any proceeding for adoption under this chapter may, at the option of the petitioner, make public the reasons for a denial of the petition for adoption. The order must specify which portion of the records are subject to inspection, and it may exclude the name and identifying information concerning the parent or adoptee. Papers and records of the department, a court, or any other governmental agency, which papers and records relate to adoptions, are exempt from s. 119.07(1). In the case of an adoption not handled by the department or a child-placing agency licensed by the department, the department must be given notice of hearing and be permitted to present to the court a report on the advisability of disclosing or not disclosing information pertaining to the adoption. In the case of an agency adoption, the licensed child-placing agency must be given notice of hearing and be permitted to present to the court a report on the advisability of disclosing or not disclosing information pertaining to the adoption. This subsection does not prohibit the department from inspecting and copying any official record pertaining to the adoption that is maintained by the department or from inspecting and copying any of the official records maintained by an agency licensed by the department and does not prohibit an agency from inspecting and copying any official record pertaining to the adoption that is maintained by that agency.

(3) The court files, records, and papers in the adoption of a minor shall be indexed only in the name of the petitioner, and the name of the minor shall not be noted on any docket, index, or other record outside the court file, except that closed agency files may be cross-referenced in the original and adoptive names of the minor.

(4) A person may not disclose from the records the name and identity of a birth parent, an adoptive parent, or an adoptee unless:

(a) The birth parent authorizes in writing the release of his or her name;

(b) The adoptee, if 18 or more years of age, authorizes in writing the release of his or her name; or, if the adoptee is less than 18 years of age, written consent to disclose the adoptee's name is obtained from an adoptive parent;

(c) The adoptive parent authorizes in writing the release of his or her name; or

(d) Upon order of the court for good cause shown. In determining whether good cause exists, the court shall give primary consideration to the best interests of the adoptee, but must also give due consideration to the interests of the adoptive and birth parents. Factors to be considered in determining whether good cause exists include, but are not limited to:

1. The reason the information is sought;

2. The existence of means available to obtain the desired information without disclosing the identity of the birth parents, such as by having the court, a person appointed by the court, the department, or the licensed child-placing agency contact the birth parents and request specific information;

3. The desires, to the extent known, of the adoptee, the adoptive parents, and the birth parents;

4. The age, maturity, judgment, and expressed needs of the adoptee; and

5. The recommendation of the department, licensed child-placing agency, or professional which prepared the preliminary study and home investigation, or the department if no such study was prepared, concerning the advisability of disclosure.

(5) The adoptee or other person seeking information under this subsection shall pay the department or agency making reports or recommendations as required hereunder a reasonable fee for its services and expenses.

(6) Subject to the provisions of subsection (4), identifying information regarding the birth parents, adoptive parents, and adoptee may not be disclosed unless a birth parent, adoptive parent, or adoptee has authorized in writing the release of such information concerning himself or herself. Specific names or identifying information must not be given in a family medical history. All nonidentifying information, including the family medical history and social history of the adoptee and the birth parents, when available, must be furnished to the adoptive parents before the adoption becomes final and to the adoptee, upon the adoptee's request, after he or she reaches majority. Upon the request of the adoptive parents, all nonidentifying information obtained before or after the adoption has become final must be furnished to the adoptive parents.

(7) The court may, upon petition of an adult adoptee, for good cause shown, appoint an intermediary or a licensed child-placing agency to contact a birth parent who has not registered with the adoption registry pursuant to s. 63.165 and advise them of the availability of same.

63.165 State registry of adoption information; duty to inform and explain.--
Notwithstanding any other law to the contrary, the department shall maintain a registry with the last known names and addresses of an adoptee and his or her parents whose consent was required under s. 63.062, and adoptive parents and any other identifying information that the adoptee, parents whose consent was required under s. 63.062, or adoptive parents desire to include in the registry. The department shall maintain the registry records for the time required by rules adopted by the department in accordance with this chapter or for 99 years, whichever period is greater. The registry shall be open with respect to all adoptions in the state, regardless of when they took place. The registry shall be available for those persons choosing to enter information therein, but no one shall be required to do so.

(1) Anyone seeking to enter, change, or use information in the registry, or any agent of such person, shall present verification of his or her identity and, if applicable, his or her authority. A person who enters information in the registry shall be required to indicate clearly the persons to whom he or she is consenting to release this information, which persons shall be limited to the adoptee and the birth mother, father whose consent was required under s. 63.062, adoptive mother, adoptive father, birth siblings, and maternal and paternal birth grandparents of the adoptee. Except as provided in this section, information in the registry is confidential and exempt from s. 119.07(1). Consent to the release of this information may be made in the case of a minor adoptee by his or her adoptive parents or by the court after a showing of good cause. At any time, any person may withdraw, limit, or otherwise restrict consent to release information by notifying the department in writing.

(2) The department may charge a reasonable fee to any person seeking to enter, change, or use information in the registry. The department shall deposit such fees in a trust fund to be used by the department only for the efficient administration of this section. The department and agencies shall make counseling available for a fee to all persons seeking to use the registry, and the department shall inform all affected persons of the availability of such counseling.

(3) The adoption entity must inform the parents before parental rights are terminated, and the adoptive parents before placement, in writing, of the existence and purpose of the registry established under this section, but failure to do so does not affect the validity of any proceeding under this chapter.

63.167 State adoption information center.--

(1) The department shall establish a state adoption information center for the purpose of increasing public knowledge about adoption and promoting to adolescents and pregnant women the availability of adoption services. The department shall contract with one or more licensed child-placing agencies to operate the state adoption information center.

(2) The functions of the state adoption information center shall include:

(a) Providing a training program for persons who counsel adolescents, including, but not limited to, school counselors, county child welfare services employees, and family planning clinic employees.

(b) Recruiting adoption services specialist trainees, and providing a training program for such specialists.

(c) Operating a toll-free telephone number to provide information and referral services.

(d) Distributing pamphlets which provide information on the availability of adoption services.

(e) Promoting adoption through the communications media.

(f) Maintaining a list of licensed child-placing agencies eligible and willing to take custody of and place newborn infants left at a hospital, pursuant to s. 383.50. The names and contact information for the licensed child-placing agencies on the list shall be provided on a rotating basis to the statewide central abuse hotline.

(3) The department shall ensure equitable distribution of referrals to licensed child-placing agencies, and may promulgate rules as necessary for the establishment and operation of the state adoption information center.

63.172 Effect of judgment of adoption.--

(1) A judgment of adoption, whether entered by a court of this state, another state, or of any other place, has the following effect:

(a) It relieves the birth parents of the adopted person, except a birth parent who is a petitioner or who is married to a petitioner, of all parental rights and responsibilities.

(b) It terminates all legal relationships between the adopted person and the adopted person's relatives, including the birth parents, except a birth parent who is a petitioner or who is married to a petitioner, so that the adopted person thereafter is a stranger to his or her former relatives for all purposes, including the interpretation or construction of documents, statutes, and instruments, whether executed before or after entry of the adoption judgment, that do not expressly include the adopted person by name or by some designation not based on a parent and child or blood relationship, except that rights of inheritance shall be as provided in the Florida Probate Code.

(c) Except for rights of inheritance, it creates the relationship between the adopted person and the petitioner and all relatives of the petitioner that would have existed if the adopted person were a blood descendant of the petitioner born within wedlock. This relationship shall be created for all purposes, including applicability of statutes, documents, and instruments, whether executed before or after entry of the adoption judgment, that do not expressly exclude an adopted person from their operation or effect.

(2) If one or both parents of a child die without the relationship of parent and child having been previously terminated and a spouse of the living parent or a close relative of the child thereafter adopts the child, the child's right of inheritance from or through the deceased parent is unaffected by the adoption and, unless the court orders otherwise, the adoption will not terminate any grandparental rights delineated under chapter 752. For purposes of this subsection, a close relative of a child is the child's brother, sister, grandparent, aunt, or uncle.

63.182 Statute of repose.--
(1) Notwithstanding s. 95.031 or s. 95.11 or any other statute, an action or proceeding of any kind to vacate, set aside, or otherwise nullify a judgment of adoption or an underlying judgment terminating parental rights on any ground may not be filed more than 1 year after entry of the judgment terminating parental rights.

(2)(a) Except for the specific persons expressly entitled to be given notice of an adoption in accordance with this chapter, the interest that entitles a person to notice of an adoption must be direct, financial, and immediate, and the person must show that he or she will gain or lose by the direct legal operation and effect of the judgment. A showing of an indirect, inconsequential, or contingent interest is wholly inadequate, and a person with this indirect interest lacks standing to set aside a judgment of adoption.

(b) This subsection is remedial and shall apply to all adoptions, including those in which a judgment of adoption has already been entered.

63.192 Recognition of foreign judgment or decree affecting adoption.A judgment terminating the relationship of parent and child or establishing the relationship by adoption, or a decree granting legal guardianship for purposes of adoption, issued pursuant to due process of law by a court or authorized body of any other jurisdiction within or without the United States shall be recognized in this state, and the rights and obligations of the parties shall be determined as though the judgment or decree were issued by a court of this state. A judgment or decree of a court or authorized body terminating the relationship of a parent and child, whether independent, incorporated in an adoption decree, or incorporated in a legal guardianship order issued pursuant to due process of law of any other jurisdiction within or without the United States, shall be deemed to effectively terminate parental rights for purposes of a proceeding on a petition for adoption in this state. If a minor child has been made available for adoption in a foreign state or foreign country and the parental rights of the minor child’s parent have been terminated or the child has been declared to be abandoned or orphaned, no additional termination of parental rights proceeding need occur, and the adoption may be finalized according to the procedures set forth in this chapter.

63.202 Authority to license; adoption of rules.--

(1) The Department of Children and Family Services is authorized and empowered to license child welfare agencies that it determines to be qualified to place minors for adoption.

(2) No agency shall place a minor for adoption unless such agency is licensed by the department, except a child-caring agency registered under s. 409.176.

(3) The department may adopt rules necessary to ensure that all child-placing agencies comply with this chapter to receive or renew a license.

63.207 Out-of-state placement.--

(1) Unless the parent placing a minor for adoption files an affidavit that the parent chooses to place the minor outside the state, giving the reason for that placement, or the minor is to be placed with a relative or with a stepparent, or the minor is a special needs child, as defined in s. 409.166, or for other good cause shown, an adoption entity may not:

(a) Take or send a minor out of the state for the purpose of placement for adoption; or

(b) Place or attempt to place a minor for the purpose of adoption with a family who primarily lives and works outside Florida in another state. If an adoption entity is acting under this subsection, the adoption entity must file a petition for declaratory statement pursuant to s. 63.102 for prior approval of fees and costs. The court shall review the costs pursuant to s. 63.097. The petition for declaratory statement must be converted to a petition for an adoption upon placement of the minor in the home. When a minor is placed for adoption with prospective adoptive parents who primarily live and work outside this state, the circuit court in this state may retain jurisdiction over the matter until the adoption becomes final. The prospective adoptive parents may finalize the adoption in this state.

(2) An adoption entity may not counsel a birth mother to leave the state for the purpose of giving birth to a child outside the state in order to secure a fee in excess of that permitted under s. 63.097 when it is the intention that the child is to be placed for adoption outside the state.

(3) When applicable, the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children authorized in s. 409.401 shall be used in placing children outside the state for adoption.

63.212 Prohibited acts; penalties for violation.--

(1) It is unlawful for any person:

(a) To place or attempt to place a minor for adoption with a person who primarily lives and works outside this state unless all of the requirements of the Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children, when applicable, have been met.

(b) Except an adoption entity, to place or attempt to place within the state a minor for adoption unless the minor is placed with a relative or with a stepparent. This prohibition, however, does not apply to a person who is placing or attempting to place a minor for the purpose of adoption with the adoption entity.

(c) To sell or surrender, or to arrange for the sale or surrender of, a minor to another person for money or anything of value or to receive such minor child for such payment or thing of value. If a minor is being adopted by a relative or by a stepparent, or is being adopted through an adoption entity, this paragraph does not prohibit the person who is contemplating adopting the child from paying, under ss. 63.097 and 63.132, the actual prenatal care and living expenses of the mother of the child to be adopted, or from paying, under ss. 63.097 and 63.132, the actual living and medical expenses of such mother for a reasonable time, not to exceed 6 weeks, if medical needs require such support, after the birth of the minor.

(d) Having the rights and duties of a parent with respect to the care and custody of a minor to assign or transfer such parental rights for the purpose of, incidental to, or otherwise connected with, selling or offering to sell such rights and duties.

(e) To assist in the commission of any act prohibited in paragraphs (a)-(d). In the case of a stepparent adoption, this paragraph does not preclude the forgiveness of vested child support arrearages owed by a parent.

(f) Except an adoption entity, to charge or accept any fee or compensation of any nature from anyone for making a referral in connection with an adoption.

(g) Except an adoption entity, to advertise or offer to the public, in any way, by any medium whatever that a minor is available for adoption or that a minor is sought for adoption; and, further, it is unlawful for any person to publish or broadcast any such advertisement without including a Florida license number of the agency or attorney placing the advertisement.
1. Only a person who is an attorney licensed to practice law in this state or an adoption entity licensed under the laws of this state may place a paid advertisement or paid listing of the person’s telephone number, on the person’s own behalf, in a telephone directory that:
a. A child is offered or wanted for adoption; or
b. The person is able to place, locate, or receive a child for adoption.
2. A person who publishes a telephone directory that is distributed in this state: a. Shall include, at the beginning of any classified heading for adoption and adoption services, a statement that informs directory users that only attorneys licensed to practice law in this state and licensed adoption entities may legally provide adoption services under state law.
b. May publish an advertisement described in subparagraph 1. in the telephone directory only if the advertisement contains the following:
(I) For an attorney licensed to practice law in this state, the person’s Florida Bar number.
(II) For a child placing agency licensed under the laws of this state, the number on the person’s adoption entity license.

(h) To contract for the purchase, sale, or transfer of custody or parental rights in connection with any child, in connection with any fetus yet unborn, or in connection with any fetus identified in any way but not yet conceived, in return for any valuable consideration. Any such contract is void and unenforceable as against the public policy of this state. However, fees, costs, and other incidental payments made in accordance with statutory provisions for adoption, foster care, and child welfare are permitted, and a person may agree to pay expenses in connection with a preplanned adoption agreement as specified below, but the payment of such expenses may not be conditioned upon the transfer of parental rights. Each petition for adoption which is filed in connection with a preplanned adoption agreement must clearly identify the adoption as a preplanned adoption arrangement and must include a copy of the preplanned adoption agreement for review by the court.
  (2) Any person who is a birth mother, or a woman who holds herself out to be a birth mother, who is interested in making an adoption plan and who knowingly or intentionally benefits from the payment of adoption-related expenses in connection with that adoption plan commits adoption deception if:
(a) The person knows or should have known that the person is not pregnant at the time the sums were requested or received;
(b) The person accepts living expenses assistance from a prospective adoptive parent or adoption entity without disclosing that she is receiving living expenses assistance from another prospective adoptive parent or adoption entity at the same time in an effort to adopt the same child; or
(c) The person knowingly makes false representations to induce the payment of living expenses and does not intend to make an adoptive placement.

Any person who willfully violates any provision of this subsection commits a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083. In addition, such person is liable for damages caused by such acts or omissions, including reasonable attorney's fees and costs. Damages may be awarded through restitution in any related criminal prosecution or by filing a separate civil action.

(3) This section does not prohibit an adoption entity from charging fees permitted under this chapter and reasonably commensurate to the services provided.

(4) It is unlawful for any adoption entity to fail to report to the court, within a reasonable time period, the intended placement of a minor for purposes of adoption with any person not a stepparent or a relative, if the adoption entity participates in such intended placement.

(5) It is unlawful for any adoption entity to charge any fee except those fees permitted under s. 63.097 and approved under s. 63.102.

(6) It is unlawful for any adoption entity to counsel a birth mother to leave the state for the purpose of giving birth to a child outside the state in order to secure a fee in excess of that permitted under s. 63.097 when it is the intention that the child be placed for adoption outside the state.

(7) It is unlawful for any adoption entity to obtain a preliminary home study or final home investigation and fail to disclose the existence of the study or investigation to the court when required by law to do so.

(8) Unless otherwise indicated, a person who willfully and with criminal intent violates any provision of this section, excluding paragraph (1)(g), commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084. A person who willfully and with criminal intent violates paragraph (1)(g) commits a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.083; and each day of continuing violation shall be considered a separate offense. In addition, any person who knowingly publishes or assists with the publication of any advertisement or other publication which violates the requirements of paragraph (1)(g) commits a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.083, and may be required to pay a fine of up to $150 per day for each day of continuing violation.

History.--s. 21, ch. 73-159; s. 13, ch. 75-226; s. 25, ch. 77-147; s. 1, ch. 77-174; s.

63.213 Preplanned adoption agreement.--

(1) Individuals may enter into a preplanned adoption arrangement as specified in this section, but such arrangement may not in any way:

(a) Effect final transfer of custody of a child or final adoption of a child without review and approval of the court and without compliance with other applicable provisions of law.

(b) Constitute consent of a mother to place her biological child for adoption until 48 hours after the birth of the child and unless the court making the custody determination or approving the adoption determines that the mother was aware of her right to rescind within the 48-hour period after the birth of the child but chose not to rescind such consent. The volunteer mother’s right to rescind her consent in a preplanned adoption applies only when the child is genetically related to her.

(2) A preplanned adoption agreement must include, but need not be limited to, the following terms:

(a) That the volunteer mother agrees to become pregnant by the fertility technique specified in the agreement, to bear the child, and to terminate any parental rights and responsibilities to the child she might have through a written consent executed at the same time as the preplanned adoption agreement, subject to a right of rescission by the volunteer mother any time within 48 hours after the birth of the child.

(b) That the volunteer mother agrees to submit to reasonable medical evaluation and treatment and to adhere to reasonable medical instructions about her prenatal health.

(c) That the volunteer mother acknowledges that she is aware that she will assume parental rights and responsibilities for the child born to her as otherwise provided by law for a mother if the intended father and intended mother terminate the agreement before final transfer of custody is completed, if a court determines that a parent clearly specified by the preplanned adoption agreement to be the biological parent is not the biological parent, or if the preplanned adoption is not approved by the court pursuant to the Florida Adoption Act.

(d) That an intended father who is also the biological father acknowledges that he is aware that he will assume parental rights and responsibilities for the child as otherwise provided by law for a father if the agreement is terminated for any reason by any party before final transfer of custody is completed or if the planned adoption is not approved by the court pursuant to the Florida Adoption Act.

(e) That the intended father and intended mother acknowledge that they may not receive custody or the parental rights under the agreement if the volunteer mother terminates the agreement or if the volunteer mother rescinds her consent to place her child for adoption within 48 hours after birth.

(f) That the intended father and intended mother may agree to pay all reasonable legal, medical, psychological, or psychiatric expenses of the volunteer mother related to the preplanned adoption arrangement and may agree to pay the reasonable living expenses and wages lost due to the pregnancy and birth of the volunteer mother and reasonable compensation for inconvenience, discomfort, and medical risk. No other compensation, whether in cash or in kind, shall be made pursuant to a preplanned adoption arrangement.

(g) That the intended father and intended mother agree to accept custody of and to assert full parental rights and responsibilities for the child immediately upon the child's birth, regardless of any impairment to the child.

(h) That the intended father and intended mother shall have the right to specify the blood and tissue typing tests to be performed if the agreement specifies that at least one of them is intended to be the biological parent of the child.

(i) That the agreement may be terminated at any time by any of the parties.

(3) A preplanned adoption agreement shall not contain any provision:

(a) To reduce any amount paid to the volunteer mother if the child is stillborn or is born alive but impaired, or to provide for the payment of a supplement or bonus for any reason.

(b) Requiring the termination of the volunteer mother's pregnancy.

(4) An attorney who represents an intended father and intended mother or any other attorney with whom that attorney is associated shall not represent simultaneously a female who is or proposes to be a volunteer mother in any matter relating to a preplanned adoption agreement or preplanned adoption arrangement.

(5) Payment to agents, finders, and intermediaries, including attorneys and physicians, as a finder's fee for finding volunteer mothers or matching a volunteer mother and intended father and intended mother is prohibited. Doctors, psychologists, attorneys, and other professionals may receive reasonable compensation for their professional services, such as providing medical services and procedures, legal advice in structuring and negotiating a preplanned adoption agreement, or counseling.

(6) As used in this section, the term:

(a) "Blood and tissue typing tests" include, but are not limited to, tests of red cell antigens, red cell isoenzymes, human leukocyte antigens, and serum proteins.

(b) "Child" means the child or children conceived by means of an insemination that is part of a preplanned adoption arrangement.

(c) "Fertility technique" means artificial embryonation, artificial insemination, whether in vivo or in vitro, egg donation, or embryo adoption.

(d) "Intended father" means a male who, as evidenced by a preplanned adoption agreement, intends to assert the parental rights and responsibilities for a child conceived through a fertility technique, regardless of whether the child is biologically related to the male.

(e) "Intended mother" means a female who, as evidenced by a preplanned adoption agreement, intends to assert the parental rights and responsibilities for a child conceived through a fertility technique, regardless of whether the child is biologically related to the female.

(f) "Party" means the intended father, the intended mother, the volunteer mother, or the volunteer mother's husband, if she has a husband.

(g) "Preplanned adoption agreement" means a written agreement among the parties that specifies the intent of the parties as to their rights and responsibilities in the preplanned adoption arrangement, consistent with the provisions of this section.

(h) "Preplanned adoption arrangement" means the arrangement through which the parties enter into an agreement for the volunteer mother to bear the child, for payment by the intended father and intended mother of the expenses allowed by this section, for the intended father and intended mother to assert full parental rights and responsibilities to the child if consent to adoption is not rescinded after birth by the volunteer mother, and for the volunteer mother to terminate, subject to a right of rescission, all her parental rights and responsibilities to the child in favor of the intended father and intended mother.

(i) "Volunteer mother" means a female at least 18 years of age who voluntarily agrees, subject to a right of rescission, that if she should become pregnant pursuant to a preplanned adoption arrangement, she will terminate her parental rights and responsibilities to the child in favor of the intended father and intended mother.

63.219 Sanctions.--Upon a finding by the court that an adoption entity has willfully violated any substantive provision of this chapter relative to the rights of the parties to the adoption and legality of the adoption process, the court is authorized to prohibit the adoption entity from placing a minor for adoption in the future in this state.

63.222 Effect on prior adoption proceedings.Any adoption made before July 1, 2012, is valid, and any proceedings pending on that date and any subsequent amendments thereto are not affected thereby unless the amendment is designated as a remedial provision.

63.232 Duty of person adopting.--In order to protect the rights of all the parties involved in an adoption, any person adopting or attempting to adopt another person shall comply with the procedures established by this act.

63.2325 Conditions for revocation of a consent to adoption or affidavit of nonpaternity.--Notwithstanding the requirements of this chapter, a failure to meet any of those requirements does not constitute grounds for revocation of a consent to adoption or withdrawal of an affidavit of nonpaternity unless the extent and circumstances of such a failure result in a material failure of fundamental fairness in the administration of due process, or the failure constitutes or contributes to fraud or duress in obtaining a consent to adoption or affidavit of nonpaternity.

63.233 Rulemaking authority.--The department shall adopt rules pursuant to ss. 120.536(1) and 120.54 to implement the provisions of this chapter.

63.235 Petitions filed before effective date; governing law.--Any petition for adoption filed before the effective date of this act shall be governed by the law in effect at the time the petition was filed.

63.236 Petitions filed before July 1, 2008; governing law.A petition for termination of parental rights filed before July 1, 2008, is governed by the law in effect at the time the petition was filed.

 

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