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The Florida Senate

2004 Florida Statutes

Prohibited acts; penalties for violation.
Section 63.212, Florida Statutes 2004

63.212  Prohibited acts; penalties for violation.--

(1)  It is unlawful for any person:

(a)  To place or attempt to place a minor for adoption with a person who primarily lives and works outside this state unless all of the requirements of the Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children, when applicable, have been met.

(b)  Except an adoption entity, to place or attempt to place within the state a minor for adoption unless the minor is placed with a relative or with a stepparent. This prohibition, however, does not apply to a person who is placing or attempting to place a minor for the purpose of adoption with the adoption entity.

(c)  To sell or surrender, or to arrange for the sale or surrender of, a minor to another person for money or anything of value or to receive such minor child for such payment or thing of value. If a minor is being adopted by a relative or by a stepparent, or is being adopted through an adoption entity, this paragraph does not prohibit the person who is contemplating adopting the child from paying, under ss. 63.097 and 63.132, the actual prenatal care and living expenses of the mother of the child to be adopted, or from paying, under ss. 63.097 and 63.132, the actual living and medical expenses of such mother for a reasonable time, not to exceed 6 weeks, if medical needs require such support, after the birth of the minor.

(d)  Having the rights and duties of a parent with respect to the care and custody of a minor to assign or transfer such parental rights for the purpose of, incidental to, or otherwise connected with, selling or offering to sell such rights and duties.

(e)  To assist in the commission of any act prohibited in paragraphs (a)-(d). In the case of a stepparent adoption, this paragraph does not preclude the forgiveness of vested child support arrearages owed by a parent.

(f)  Except an adoption entity, to charge or accept any fee or compensation of any nature from anyone for making a referral in connection with an adoption.

(g)  Except an adoption entity, to advertise or offer to the public, in any way, by any medium whatever that a minor is available for adoption or that a minor is sought for adoption; and, further, it is unlawful for any person to publish or broadcast any such advertisement without including a Florida license number of the agency or attorney placing the advertisement.

(h)  To contract for the purchase, sale, or transfer of custody or parental rights in connection with any child, in connection with any fetus yet unborn, or in connection with any fetus identified in any way but not yet conceived, in return for any valuable consideration. Any such contract is void and unenforceable as against the public policy of this state. However, fees, costs, and other incidental payments made in accordance with statutory provisions for adoption, foster care, and child welfare are permitted, and a person may agree to pay expenses in connection with a preplanned adoption agreement as specified below, but the payment of such expenses may not be conditioned upon the transfer of parental rights. Each petition for adoption which is filed in connection with a preplanned adoption agreement must clearly identify the adoption as a preplanned adoption arrangement and must include a copy of the preplanned adoption agreement for review by the court.

(2)(a)  It is unlawful for any person under this chapter to:

1.  Knowingly provide false information; or

2.  Knowingly withhold material information.

(b)  It is unlawful for a parent, with the intent to defraud, to accept benefits related to the same pregnancy from more than one adoption entity without disclosing that fact to each entity.

(c)  It is unlawful for any person who knows that the parent whose rights are to be terminated intends to object to said termination to intentionally file the petition for termination of parental rights in a county inconsistent with the required venue under such circumstances.

Any person who willfully violates any provision of this subsection commits a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083 In addition, such person is liable for damages caused by such acts or omissions, including reasonable attorney's fees and costs. Damages may be awarded through restitution in any related criminal prosecution or by filing a separate civil action.

(3)  This section does not prohibit an adoption entity from charging fees permitted under this chapter and reasonably commensurate to the services provided.

(4)  It is unlawful for any adoption entity to fail to report to the court, within a reasonable time period, the intended placement of a minor for purposes of adoption with any person not a stepparent or a relative, if the adoption entity participates in such intended placement.

(5)  It is unlawful for any adoption entity to charge any fee except those fees permitted under s. 63.097 and approved under s. 63.102

(6)  It is unlawful for any adoption entity to counsel a birth mother to leave the state for the purpose of giving birth to a child outside the state in order to secure a fee in excess of that permitted under s. 63.097 when it is the intention that the child be placed for adoption outside the state.

(7)  It is unlawful for any adoption entity to obtain a preliminary home study or final home investigation and fail to disclose the existence of the study or investigation to the court when required by law to do so.

(8)  Unless otherwise indicated, a person who willfully and with criminal intent violates any provision of this section, excluding paragraph (1)(g), commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084 A person who willfully and with criminal intent violates paragraph (1)(g) commits a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.083; and each day of continuing violation shall be considered a separate offense.

History.--s. 21, ch. 73-159; s. 13, ch. 75-226; s. 25, ch. 77-147; s. 1, ch. 77-174; s. 9, ch. 78-190; s. 6, ch. 80-296; s. 5, ch. 84-101; s. 8, ch. 87-224; s. 10, ch. 87-397; s. 1, ch. 88-143; s. 3, ch. 90-55; s. 23, ch. 90-306; s. 22, ch. 92-96; s. 13, ch. 97-101; s. 31, ch. 2001-3; s. 35, ch. 2003-58.