In October of 2010, the Florida Appellate Court overturned a 33-year ban on adoption by same-sex couples. The ban, brought before the court by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of a gay couple that was denied the right to adopt their foster children was ruled unconstitutional. Adoption is now legal for gay and lesbian parents — but that does not mean it’s easy.
Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) runs a state-assisted adoption program. The state of Florida reimburses adoptive parents for expenses, including attorney’s fees up to a certain amount.
This is far less expensive than private agency adoption, but there are other issues to be aware of:
- Single parent bias —The FDC always favors married couples over singles who want to adopt, independent of sexual orientation.
- Ban on same-sex marriage — As long as this law remains in effect in Florida, a gay couple cannot jointly adopt a child.
- Becoming a second parent — A single person can adopt a child and that parent's partner can then later gain legal parent status through a second parent adoption, much in the way a stepparent does.
Private agency adoption is a second alternative in Florida. It is considerably more expensive, and might involve paying the medical expenses of the birth mother. Other options include surrogacy and for lesbian couples, artificial insemination followed by a second parent adoption.
If you are in a same-sex partnership and have questions about your right to adopt children, speak to a family law attorney. Call the Law Office of Kenneth C. Gallagher at 407-897-1119, or contact us online.