Unfortunately, things can sometimes go terribly wrong when a birth mother changes her mind and challenges her adoption consent, or when the birth father decides to withhold his consent to an adoption. Whether you are an adoptive parent caught in adoption gone amuck by an unexpected objecting birth parent or a birth parent wanting to hold onto your parental rights and prevent an adoption from taking place, you need an experienced trial attorney who has litigated numerous cases and has a well known command of the courtroom and evidentiary rules. Jeanne T. Tate and her staff have litigated numerous contested adoption matters, representing adoptive parents, biological parents, and adoption agencies, and have argued several cases before the Florida Supreme Court as well as the Florida district courts of appeal.
Contested adoption proceedings have five general stages:
- Consent: The birth parent relinquishes the child to a child placing agency or a private attorney.
- Petition: The lawyer for the agency or adoptive parents files a petition to terminate parental rights and/or a notice of intended adoption plan with the court.
- Notice: The father receives the petition by personal service (and the mother unless she waives notice as is customary). If the father cannot be located, then a diligent search must be performed to look for him. If he is a legal father and still cannot be found, he must be given notice by publication in a newspaper.
- Answer: The father files an answer to the petition or notice wherein he objects to or asks the court to dismiss, the petition to terminate parental rights.
- Hearing: In court, the petitioner must prove that the father has waived or lost his parental rights. Discovery by way of depositions, interrogatories, and requests for production usually precede any significant hearings.
For answers to your questions concerning contested adoption and your rights as a prospective adoptive parent or a birth parent, please contact Jeanne T. Tate, P.A. at firstname.lastname@example.org or 813.258.3355. Jeanne has focused her practice on adoption law for over 30 years. We have a record of successful trial and appellate representation, several board certified adoption attorneys, and earned recognition for our capacity to handle the most complex cases.