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The Florida Statutes

The 2023 Florida Statutes (including Special Session C)

Title VI
CIVIL PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE
Chapter 63
ADOPTION
View Entire Chapter
F.S. 63.082
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 may be executed by the birth mother 48 hours after the minor’s birth or the day the birth mother is 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 any man may be executed at any time after the birth of the child. The consent 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 advance 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 and shall contain the following recitation of rights:

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. ANY MAN 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 INVALIDATED 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 INVALIDATE 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 the 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)1. The Legislature finds that there is a compelling state interest in ensuring that a child involved in chapter 39 proceedings is served in a way that minimizes his or her trauma, provides safe placement, maintains continuity of bonded placements, and achieves permanency as soon as possible.
2. The Legislature finds that the use of intervention in dependency cases for the purpose of adoption has the potential to be traumatic for a child in the dependency system and that the disruption of a stable and bonded long-term placement by a change of placement to a person or family with whom the child has no bond or connection may create additional trauma.
3. The Legislature finds that the right of a parent to determine an appropriate placement for a child who has been found dependent is not absolute and must be weighed against other factors that take the child’s safety, well-being, and best interests into account.
4. It is the intent of the Legislature to reduce the disruption of stable and bonded long-term placements that have been identified as prospective adoptive placements.
(b) If a parent executes a consent for adoption of a child with an adoption entity or qualified prospective adoptive parents and the child is under the supervision of the department, or otherwise subject to the jurisdiction of the dependency court as a result of the entry of a shelter order, a dependency petition, or a petition for termination of parental rights pursuant to chapter 39, the adoption consent is valid, binding, and enforceable by the court. For the purposes of this subsection, a consent to adoption of a child with an adoption entity or qualified prospective adoptive parents is valid if executed during the pendency of the chapter 39 proceeding up to and including the 30th day after the filing of the petition for termination of parental rights pursuant to s. 39.802.
(c) Upon execution of the consent of the parent, the adoption entity may file a motion to intervene and change placement of the child in the dependency case as a party in interest and must provide the court that acquired jurisdiction over the child, pursuant to the shelter order or dependency petition filed by the department, a copy of the preliminary home study of the prospective adoptive parents selected by the parent or adoption entity 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 been allowed to intervene pursuant to this section.
(d)1. If an adoption entity files a motion to intervene and change placement of the child in the dependency case in accordance with this chapter, the dependency court must promptly grant an evidentiary hearing to determine whether:
a. The adoption entity has filed the required documents to be allowed to intervene;
b. The preliminary home study is adequate and provides the information required to make a best interests determination; and
c. The change of placement of the child is in the best interests of the child.
2. Absent good cause or mutual agreement of the parties, the final hearing on the motion to intervene and change placement of the child must be held within 30 days after the filing of the motion, and a written final order shall be filed within 15 days after the hearing.
(e) If the child has been in his or her current placement for at least 9 continuous months or 15 of the last 24 months immediately preceding the filing of the motion to intervene, and that placement is a prospective adoptive placement, there is a rebuttable presumption that the placement is stable and that it is in the child’s best interests to remain in that current stable placement. The court shall grant party status to the current caregiver who is a prospective adoptive placement for the limited purpose of filing motions and presenting evidence pursuant to this subsection. This limited party status expires upon the issuance of a final order on the motion to intervene and change of placement of the child. To rebut the presumption established in this paragraph, the intervening party must prove by clear and convincing evidence that it is in the best interests of the child to disrupt the current stable prospective adoptive placement using the factors set forth in paragraph (f) and any other factors that the court deems relevant.
(f) At a hearing to determine whether it is in the best interests of a child to change placement to the prospective adoptive parents selected by the parent or adoption entity, the court shall consider and weigh all relevant factors, including, but not limited to:
1. The permanency offered by both the child’s current placement and the prospective adoptive placement selected by the parent or adoption entity;
2. The established bond between the child and the current caregiver with whom the child is residing if that placement is a prospective adoptive placement;
3. The stability of the prospective adoptive placement in which the child has been residing, which must be presumed stable if the placement meets the requirements of paragraph (e), as well as the desirability of maintaining continuity of placement;
4. The importance of maintaining sibling relationships, if possible;
5. The reasonable preferences and wishes of the child, if the court deems the child to be of sufficient maturity, understanding, and experience to express a preference;
6. Whether a petition for termination of parental rights has been filed pursuant to s. 39.806(1)(f), (g), or (h); and
7. What is best for the child.
(g)1. If after consideration of all relevant factors, including those set forth in paragraph (f), the court determines that the home study is adequate and provides the information necessary to make a determination that the prospective adoptive parents are properly qualified to adopt the child and that the change of placement is in the best interests of the child, the court must order the change of placement to the prospective adoptive placement selected by the parent or adoption entity, under the supervision of the adoption entity.
2. The order must allow for a reasonable period of time to transition placement in accordance with a transition plan developed by the department in consultation with the current caregivers, the prospective adoptive parent, and the guardian ad litem, if one is appointed.
3. The transition plan must be developed to minimize the trauma of removal from his or her current placement and take the needs of each child into account, including each child’s age, relationships, bonds, and preferences.
4. The adoption entity must 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 must 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 must file with the court an acknowledgment of the prospective adoptive parents’ receipt of the information regarding approved parent training classes available within the community.
(h) The adoption entity is 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.
(i) The parent who is a party to the dependency case must be provided written notice of his or her right to participate in a private adoption plan, including written notice of the factors identified in paragraph (f). This written notice must be provided with the petition for dependency filed pursuant to s. 39.501, in the order that adjudicates the child dependent issued pursuant to s. 39.507, in the order of disposition issued pursuant to s. 39.521, in the order that approves the case plan issued pursuant to s. 39.603, and in the order that changes the permanency goal to adoption issued pursuant to s. 39.621.
(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 revocation of consent or after the court determines that revocation is timely and in accordance with the requirements of this chapter upon consideration of an emergency motion, as filed pursuant to paragraph (b), to the physical custody of the person revoking consent or the person directed by the court. If the person seeking to revoke 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 she is not otherwise prohibited by law from having custody of the child.
(f) Following the revocation period described in paragraph (a), consent may be set aside only when the court finds that the consent was obtained by fraud or duress.
(g) An affidavit of nonpaternity may be set aside 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 whose 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.
History.s. 8, ch. 73-159; s. 17, ch. 77-147; s. 2, ch. 78-190; s. 2, ch. 91-99; s. 7, ch. 92-96; s. 14, ch. 2001-3; s. 15, ch. 2003-58; s. 10, ch. 2008-151; s. 13, ch. 2012-81; s. 9, ch. 2013-15; s. 2, ch. 2016-71; s. 1, ch. 2023-257.