Adoption Laws in Jacksonville

June 8, 2024by Adam Sacks

Whether you are considering adopting a child or are already in the process, a clear understanding of the adoption laws in Jacksonville is recommended.

From requirements for prospective adoptive parents to legal procedures for finalizing an adoption, being knowledgeable about these laws can help you navigate the adoption process with confidence and clarity.


Who Can Adopt in Jacksonville Florida?

There is no specific age limit to be eligible for adoption, although most agencies and courts require adoptive parents to be at least 18 years old. Marital status does not pose a barrier; both single individuals and married couples can adopt, regardless of their sexual orientation. The emphasis is placed on an individual or couple’s ability to provide a nurturing and supportive environment for a child.

The adoption process in Jacksonville also allows for stepparent adoptions. This type of adoption occurs when a stepparent seeks to adopt their spouse’s child, establishing a legal parent-child relationship. The consent of the non-custodial biological parent is typically required unless certain circumstances, such as abandonment or neglect, are present.


Who Can Adopt in Jacksonville Florida?


What Types of Adoption are Available in Jacksonville?

Adoption laws in Jacksonville offer different options to meet the needs and preferences of prospective adoptive parents and birth parents alike. They include:

  • Domestic Adoptions: Domestic adoptions involve the adoption of a child who is a United States citizen and born within the country. Domestic adoptions can occur through various means, including private adoption agencies, adoption attorneys, or by working with the Department of Children and Families. Prospective adoptive parents can choose to adopt an infant, a toddler, or an older child, depending on their preferences and the eligibility criteria set by the agencies involved. [1]
  • Foster Care Adoptions: These adoptions involve children who are in the foster care system due to abuse, neglect, or abandonment. If the child’s biological parents’ rights have been terminated, or it is determined that reunification is not possible, the child may become available for adoption.
  • International Adoptions: International adoptions require compliance with both the adoption laws of the child’s birth country and those of the adoptive parents’ home country. The adoption agency, adoption attorney, or facilitator involved in the process will be responsible for guiding prospective adoptive parents through the necessary procedures and paperwork.
  • Stepparent and Relative Adoptions: These adoptions often take place when one biological parent is no longer involved in the child’s life, and the stepparent or relative wishes to assume legal responsibility for the child. Jacksonville adoption laws provide guidelines for these types of adoptions to ensure the best interest of the child is protected.


What Adoption Expenses are Paid by the Adoptive Parents for the Birth Mother in Jacksonville?

Adoptive parents are responsible for the birth mother’s reasonable medical expenses related to the pregnancy and childbirth. This includes prenatal care, hospital bills, and postnatal care. Ensuring the birth mother receives proper medical attention for the well-being of both her and the unborn child. [2]

Adoptive parents may also cover the birth mother’s living expenses during her pregnancy. This includes reasonable costs for housing, utilities, food, and transportation.

Another expense that adoptive parents may be responsible for is counseling for the birth mother. Adoption can be an emotionally challenging experience for the birth mother and providing her with professional counseling services can support her throughout the process.

Legal expenses associated with the adoption process are generally covered by the adoptive parents as well. This includes attorney fees for both the birth mother and adoptive parents, court costs, and any other necessary legal support.

Adoptive parents should consult an adoption attorney or agency in Jacksonville to navigate the specific financial arrangements that align with their circumstances and comply with the adoption laws in the area.


What Adoption Expenses are Paid by the Adoptive Parents for the Birth Mother in Jacksonville?


Who Must Consent to the Adoption in Jacksonville?

In Jacksonville, the consent to adopt must be given by the birth mother, the biological father, and the child’s legal guardian, if applicable. If the child is 12 years old or older, their consent is also required. The consent of the birth mother is always required, regardless of the father’s involvement or knowledge of the pregnancy.

Consent from the birth mother is typically given in writing and must be signed before two witnesses. The birth father’s consent, on the other hand, can be obtained in various ways depending on the circumstances. If the birth father is married to the birth mother or has legally acknowledged paternity, his consent is required.

If the birth father has not established legal paternity, his consent may not be necessary if certain conditions are met, such as abandonment or failure to support the child.

In cases where the child is under the guardianship or custody of another individual, their consent is also required to proceed with the adoption. This includes situations where a child is in foster care or under the guardianship of a relative or friend. The person responsible for the child’s legal guardianship gives their consent, as their rights and responsibilities are being transferred to the adoptive parents.


When Does the Birth Parents Consent Become Irrevocable in Jacksonville?

Birth parents in Jacksonville have a 3-day cooling-off period after they provide their consent. This means that if they change their mind within this timeframe, they can withdraw their consent and revoke the adoption.

This period ensures that the birth parents have had sufficient time to contemplate and make an informed decision about the adoption before it becomes irreversible.

The 3-day cooling-off period only applies when the child is placed for adoption immediately after birth. If the child is already living with the adopting parents or legally placed in their custody before the birth parents provide their consent, this cooling-off period does not apply.

Once the adoption has been legally established, the birth parents cannot revoke their consent, except under extraordinary circumstances. Irrevocable consent provides stability and security for both the child and the adoptive parents.


When Does the Birth Parents Consent Become Irrevocable in Jacksonville?


Contact Sacks & Sacks today to schedule a consultation and take the first step towards fulfilling your dream of adoption in Jacksonville.



[1] Jacksonville Adoption Agencies [Complete Guide]. (2023, June 14). Florida Adoption |.

[2] Florida Adoption Laws | The Complete Guide to FL Adoption Law. (2023, June 22). Considering Adoption | A Trusted Adoption Resource.

by Adam Sacks

Adam Sacks is lead Family Law Attorney at Law Offices of Sacks & Sacks, P.A. in Jacksonville, Florida. He has a BA in Psychology from 1994, and received his Juris Doctor Degree in 1999 from the Western Michigan University Cooley Law School.

Sacks and Sacks Law
1646 Emerson St. Suite B Jacksonville, FL 32207

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