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Baby Veronica Adoption Case Goes To U.S. Supreme Court

In July 2012, I wrote an article on Florida Adoptions and the Indian Child Welfare Act which discussed the case of Baby Veronica.  This is a case in which a biological father who belonged to the Cherokee Indian tribe objected to the adoption of his daughter after he had already signed a consent to the adoption.

In his objection, the biological father cited the Indian Child Welfare Act, a federal law enacted in the 1970’s which states that, when determining whether and adoption for a child who is a member of an Indian tribe should be granted, the Court must take into consideration not only the best interests of the child, but also the best interests of the Native American tribe.

The South Carolina Supreme Court ruled in favor of the biological father, but the prospective adoptive parents have appealed the ruling and the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to take up the case.  Below is a report from CNN:

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A Tampa Adoption Story

Jeff Stidham posted the following Tampa adoption story on the website of Hillsborough County’s Thirteenth Judicial Circuit:

Three weeks before their fifth anniversary, Ali and Tonya Muhammad began preparing for a new arrival: a baby boy destined to become one of their own. They welcomed young Marcus on Nov. 5, 2010, three days after his birth. Their anniversary.

And so began a two-year journey toward adoption that concluded Nov. 16 on National Adoption Day, when Marcus, now called Sameer, became part of a “forever family.”

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January 2013 Conference for Florida’s Adoptive Parents and Prospective Adoptive Parents

Florida’s Adoption Information Center is holding a conference on Saturday, January 12, 2013, in Jacksonville, Florida, for adoptive parents and prospective adoptive parents.

Florida’s Adoption Information Center was “created by the Florida Legislature to serve as a clearinghouse in every area of adoption. The Center has served more than 175,000 people since opening in 1994. As a free service, the Adoption Information Center provides adoption information and referral services to adoptive parents, adult adoptees, birth relatives, pregnant women and professionals.”

Below is the agenda for the conference:

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Video: Same Sex Couple Adopts Child in Florida

The video below from WPTV News showcases a Florida same sex couple who were able to finally and legally expand their family by adopting a foster child for whom they had long looked after:

Related:  Five Legal Steps Florida LGBT Parents Should Take

Hillsborough County is a venue that is also friendly towards LGBT families looking to adopt.  Even if you do not live in Hillsborough, you may have your same sex adoption take place in Hillsborough County if you retain an adoption entity located in the county.

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Mandatory Disclosure in Florida Family Law Cases

The Florida Supreme Court provides the following commentary on Mandatory Disclosure in Florida family law cases:

Rule 12.285, Florida Family Law Rules of Procedure, requires each party in a dissolution of marriage to exchange certain information and documents, and file a Family Law Financial Affidavit, Florida Family Law Rules of Procedure Form 12.902(b) or (c). Failure to make this required disclosure within the time required by the Florida Family Law Rules of Procedure may allow the court to dismiss the case or to refuse to consider the pleadings of the party failing to comply. This requirement also must be met in other family law cases, except adoptions, simplified dissolutions of marriage, enforcement proceedings, contempt proceedings, and proceedings for injunctions for domestic or repeat violence. The Certificate of Compliance with Mandatory Disclosure, Florida Family Law Rules of Procedure Form 12.932, lists the documents that must be given to the other party. For more information see rule 12.285, Florida Family Law Rules of Procedure, and the instructions to the Certificate of Compliance with Mandatory Disclosure, Florida Family Law Rules of Procedure Form 12.932.

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Florida Divorce – Time to Respond to a Petition

It is important for every person who is served with a Florida petition for dissolution of marriage to respond to the petition in a timely manner.

The petition, which sets out what a person wants a judge to do (such as dissolve the marriage, rule on custody, order child support, and divide marital property and debt), is generally personally served by a sheriff’s deputy or other authorized process server.  Once served, the respondent has 20 days to provide an answer to the petition and agree or disagree with the petitioner’s requests and allegations.

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In Which County Should I File My Florida Adoption Case?

Florida law provides a choice as to where prospective parents should file a case for termination of parental rights and adoption.  Generally, the adoption must be filed where (i) the child lives or (ii) the adoption entity, intermediary, or attorney for the prospective parents is located.

Which of these counties is chosen may be a strategic decision…

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Florida Adoptions and the Indian Child Welfare Act

When a potential client comes into my office seeking to learn more information about Florida adoption (whether it be stepparent adoption, close relative adoption, second parent adoption, or non-relative adoption), two questions almost always seem to catch the potential client off guard:

  1. Is the prospective adoptee/child a member of an Indian tribe?
  2. Is the prospective adoptee/child eligible to be a member of an Indian tribe?

If the answer to either of those questions turns out to be yes, then a federal law known as the Indian Child Welfare Act (“ICWA”) is triggered and special procedures must be observed. In determining whether an adoption should be granted, a court must not only look at the best interests of the child, but also take into consideration the interests of the child’s Indian tribe. Preference for adoption is to be given to the child’s extended family within that tribe over a non-tribe member non-relative.

A recent South Carolina adoption case involved the Indian Child Welfare Act. The following video from CNN discusses this case of “Baby Veronica” and the impact of the Indian Child Welfare Act on her adoption:

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Hillsborough County Clerk of the Court Cuts Hours

Due to budget cuts, the Hillsborough County Clerk of the Court is reducing the hours it will handle court-related services.  Beginning July 1, 2012, the hours were cut to 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.  This will affect the filing and processing of family law (i.e., adoption, divorce, paternity, child support, child custody, name change, etc.) documents.

If you have a Tampa family law case and you wish to scheduled a consultation with a Florida family law attorney, contact The Law Firm of Adam B. Cordover, P.A., at (813) 443-0615 or fill out our online form.

Can I Adopt My Grandchild in Florida?

Do you have a grandchild or other close relative living with you? Do you want to ensure that you have the legal ability to make healthcare, education, and other major decisions for the child? Do you want to legally establish the close relationship that already exists between you and the child?

You may be eligible to adopt your grandchild or other close relative, and fortunately, Florida has expedited procedures in place to facilitate such adoptions.

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