I have started the adoption process of my 2 step sons ( I only use the term step to be clear these are my boys ). It has been their wish for me to adopt them as my own for about 3 years. Their bio is in prison for home invasion, kidnapping, and more. He is contesting even though he won't be out until the younger of the 2 boys is 9 months shy of being 18. Child support was never paid except when the state garnished his wages and he all of a sudden lost the job and went to work off the books ( a whopping $50 a week). The judge has basically told me I should get an attorney and I know it's the best way, but I truly cannot afford to supporting a household of 5 + my mother. We have a docket sounding on April 11. I've done some research and found a FL statute 39.806(1)(d) that states parental rights can be terminated if the parent will be incarcerated for a significant portion of the child's minority. How do I present this to the court? And yes I know I have a fool for a client, but would rather eat and have them know they are my boys no matter what their last name is. Thanks, Sean
Sean, I hate to say this in this way, but eat less and hire a lawyer. You are getting into a very complex area here, and you don't want to mess this up. A lot of times judges tell people to get a lawyer and sometimes they say that to make their job easier and sometimes they say that because the person should get a lawyer. This is one of those cases where you need a lawyer. There is so much going on here that it would be impossible for anyone to guide you appropriately.
This answer is for general purposes only and does not establish an attorney-client relationship.
In short, you really should not venture into this case without some form of legal representation. Besides traditional legal representation (which can be expensive), other attorneys offer unbundled services such as document preparation or document review to at least guide you along and provide coaching/guidance for a consultation fee or hourly rate. Termination of parental rights (to move forward with stepchild adoptions) are complicated and even though you may have a strong TPR case, you have to present evidence in a final hearing to prove your case. It's not enough to just go to the hearing and talk. Good luck!
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