Understanding New Adoption Laws and Guardianship in Southwest Florida

Adoption is a life-changing process that can often lead to unique legal challenges. As experts in guardianship and adoption, Cardillo Keith Bonaquist can help you better understand the various Florida laws surrounding adoption and guardianship. Here are a few basics for your consideration.

Adoption Laws and Guardianship in Naples FL

Adoption and Guardianship Defined

The Florida Bar defines adoption as “a legal procedure by which a child becomes, through court action, part of a family other than that of the child’s birth parents.” The legal relationship between the adoptee and adopter is identical to the legal relationship as a biological parent-child relationship.

According to Florida law, “a guardian is a person who has been appointed by the court to act on behalf of a ward’s person or property, or both.” Guardianship is a legal tool intended to provide care and guidance for either minors who are lacking parental care or adults who are unable to make their own decisions.

Adoption vs Guardianship

In the state of Florida, both the adoptive parent and the legal guardian of a child may provide support to the child.

When adopting, any parental rights from the biological parents or legal guardians are terminated. In a legal guardianship, the biological parents may still have rights. This means that in most cases, after a legal adoption process, birth parents can not reclaim their child. In guardianship cases, they can recover custody of the child, based on legal merits found in court.

When dealing with inheritance, adoption will give inheritance rights to the child. In guardianship cases, inheritance is determined by an approved will.

Adoption Laws and Guardianship in Naples FL

Who Can Adopt or Serve as a Guardian?

When it comes to legally protecting a child or adult under guardianship, Florida has specific laws in place in order to best protect the person. According to Chapter 744 of the Florida Statutes, Florida adult residents who live and work in the state, are of good character, and have the ability to nurture and provide for a child may adopt. Single adults, as well as married couples, may adopt.

In order to serve as a legal guardian in Florida, one must be a Florida resident. If you are an out-of-state resident, you must be related to the ward or related to the parents of the ward.

Florida Statutes prohibit the appointment of a guardian if they have been convicted of a felony or judicially determined to have committed abuse, abandonment or neglect of a child.

When it comes to guardianship and adoption laws in the state of Florida, trust Cardillo Keith Bonaquist. With over 45 years of legal experience in Naples, Florida, our award-winning team works in the best interest of each of our clients. For more on guardianships and adoption laws, contact us today at 239.774.2229 or visit our website.