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December 17, 2017
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The Florida Statutes

The 2017 Florida Statutes

Title VI
CIVIL PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE
Chapter 63
ADOPTION
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F.S. 63.102
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 must be filed in the county where the petition for termination of parental rights was filed or granted or where the adoption entity is located. The circuit court in this state shall retain jurisdiction over the matter until a final judgment is entered on the adoption, either within or outside the state. 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.
History.s. 10, ch. 73-159; s. 7, ch. 75-226; s. 5, ch. 87-397; s. 2, ch. 90-55; s. 11, ch. 92-96; s. 339, ch. 95-147; s. 21, ch. 2001-3; s. 22, ch. 2003-58; s. 9, ch. 2005-2; s. 16, ch. 2008-151.