2007 Florida Statutes
Proceeding to terminate parental rights pending adoption; general provisions.
63.087 Proceeding to terminate parental rights pending adoption; general provisions.--
(1) JURISDICTION.--A court of this state which is competent to decide child welfare or custody matters has jurisdiction to hear all matters arising from a proceeding to terminate parental rights pending adoption.
(a) A petition to terminate parental rights pending adoption must be filed:
1. In the county where the child resides;
2. If the child does not reside in the State of Florida, in the county where the adoption entity is located;
3. In the county where the adoption entity is located; or
4. If neither parent resides in the state, in the county where the adoption entity is located. The fact of the minor's presence within the state confers jurisdiction on the court in proceedings in the minor's case under this chapter, or to a parent or guardian if due notice has been given.
(b) If a petition for termination of parental rights has been filed and a parent whose rights are to be terminated objects to venue, there must be a hearing in which the court shall determine whether that parent intends to assert legally recognized grounds to contest a termination of parental rights and, if so, the court shall immediately transfer venue to the county where that parent resides or resided at the time of the execution of the consent. For purposes of selecting venue, the court shall consider the ease of access to the court for the parent who intends to contest a termination of parental rights.
(c) If there is a transfer of venue, the court may determine which party shall bear the cost of venue transfer.
For purposes of the hearing under this subsection, witnesses located in another jurisdiction may testify by deposition or testify by telephone, audiovisual means, or other electronic means before a designated court or at another location. Documentary evidence transmitted from another location by technological means that do not produce an original writing may not be excluded from evidence on an objection based on the means of transmission. The court on its own motion may otherwise prescribe the manner in which and the terms upon which the testimony is taken.
(3) PREREQUISITE FOR ADOPTION.--A petition for adoption may not be filed until after the date the court enters the judgment terminating parental rights pending adoption under this chapter or under chapter 39. Adoptions of relatives, adult adoptions, or adoptions of stepchildren shall not be required to file a separate termination of parental rights proceeding pending adoption. In such cases, all required consents, affidavits, notices, and acknowledgments shall be attached to the petition for adoption or filed separately in the adoption proceeding.
(a) A proceeding seeking to terminate parental rights pending adoption pursuant to this chapter must be initiated by the filing of an original petition after the birth of the minor.
(b) The petition may be filed by a parent or person having physical custody of the minor. The petition may be filed by an adoption entity only if a parent or person having physical or legal custody who has executed a consent to adoption pursuant to s. 63.082 also consents in writing to the adoption entity filing the petition. The original of such consent must be filed with the petition.
(c) The petition must be entitled: "In the Matter of the Termination of Parental Rights for the Proposed Adoption of a Minor Child."
(d) The petition to terminate parental rights pending adoption must be in writing and signed by the petitioner under oath stating the petitioner's good faith in filing the petition. A written consent to adoption, affidavit of nonpaternity, or affidavit of diligent search under s. 63.088, for each person whose consent to adoption is required under s. 63.062, must be executed and attached.
(e) The petition must include:
1. The minor's name, gender, date of birth, and place of birth. The petition must contain all names by which the minor is or has been known, excluding the minor's prospective adoptive name but including the minor's legal name at the time of the filing of the petition. In the case of an infant child whose adoptive name appears on the original birth certificate, the adoptive name shall not be included in the petition, nor shall it be included elsewhere in the termination of parental rights proceeding.
2. All information required by the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act and the Indian Child Welfare Act.
3. A statement of the grounds under s. 63.089 upon which the petition is based.
4. The name, address, and telephone number of any adoption entity seeking to place the minor for adoption.
5. The name, address, and telephone number of the division of the circuit court in which the petition is to be filed.
6. A certification of compliance with the requirements of s. 63.0425 regarding notice to grandparents of an impending adoption.
(5) SUMMONS TO BE ISSUED.--The petitioner shall cause a summons to be issued substantially in the form provided in Form 1.902, Florida Rules of Civil Procedure. Petition and summons shall be served upon any person whose consent has been provided but who has not waived service of the pleadings and notice of the hearing thereon and also upon any person whose consent is required but who has not provided that consent.
(6) ANSWER REQUIRED.--An answer to the petition or any pleading requiring an answer shall be filed in accordance with the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure. Failure to file a written response or to appear at the hearing on the petition constitutes grounds upon which the court may terminate parental rights. The petitioner shall provide notice of the final hearing by United States mail to any person who has been served with the summons and petition for termination of parental rights within the specified time periods. Notwithstanding the filing of any answer or any pleading, any person present at the hearing to terminate parental rights pending adoption whose consent to adoption is required under s. 63.062 must:
(a) Be advised by the court that he or she has a right to ask that the hearing be reset for a later date so that the person may consult with an attorney; and
(b) Be given an opportunity to deny the allegations in the petition.
History.--s. 16, ch. 2001-3; s. 17, ch. 2003-58; s. 8, ch. 2005-2.