Actions to Set Aside Judgments of Adoption in Florida

An action to set aside a judgment of adoption must be filed w/in one year after entry of the judgment. “Two years later, the biological mother moved to vacate the court’s judgment, arguing the adoptive parents fraudulently obtained her consent. The adoptive parents moved to dismiss, contending that Florida’s statute of repose barred the biological mother’s claim. The trial court denied the motion to dismiss, and this petition followed. On petition for certiorari or prohibition, the adoptive parents assert that the trial court erred in denying the motion to dismiss because Florida’s statute of repose strictly limits motions to vacate adoption orders to one year. There are no exceptions. The biological mother contends that the trial court correctly ruled that Florida’s statute of repose is not applicable where there is an allegation of fraud. We agree with the adoptive parents and reverse. Florida has an independent statute of repose for adoptions. § 63.182, Fla. Stat. (2009). The statute provides that ‘an action or proceeding of any kind to vacate, set aside, or otherwise nullify a judgment of adoption or an underlying judgment terminating parental rights on any ground may not be filed more than 1 year after entry of the judgment terminating parental rights.’ §63.182 (emphasis added).” Martin v. Martin