Filing for Arizona Stepparent Adoption

arizona stepparent adoptionWith the divorce rate as high as it is, there are a lot of single parents out there. And, there are a lot of people who remarry. When people remarry, one or both spouses bring children into the marriage. The new spouse often wants to legally adopt the children. In Arizona, the court provides a process to make this happen.

Adopting a stepchild can be easy or hard. It depends on how the other biological parent feels. If that parent is deceased or out of the picture, the process can be easy and relatively fast. If, however, the other biological parent opposes the adoption, things can get difficult and expensive.

If the biological parent consent to the adoption, it can make things a lot easier. They can consent to terminating their parental rights. If they refuse to do this, they may contest the adoption and prevent it from happening.

Steps to Adopt a Stepchild in Arizona

A stepchild adoption in Arizona is also considered a joint adoption. This is because both the natural parent and the stepparent will consent and sign the adoption papers. Obviously, the spouse must consent to the adoption and would naturally do so. They are married to the stepparent and are seeking to have their new spouse adopt their children.

Adopting a stepchild in Arizona is quite simple. There are a few basic steps. Keep in mind that each step takes time. You may also run into obstacles along the way. However, the process itself is not difficult.

  • File petition for adoption – Arizona has forms for this petition. It is basic information regarding your identity and information related to the children you are looking to adopt.
  • Terminate current parental rights – Both parents must agree to the adoption. If the other biological parent doesn’t consent to the adoption, they may file an opposition to your petition for adoption. You can either get the parent’s consent to termination of parental rights or you can ask the court to terminate these rights. If the other parent is abusive or unfit, you can use this as a basis to have their rights terminated.
  • Get background check and fingerprinting done – After you file your petition, the court will set a hearing date. There may be several months between your petition and the court date. In this time, you will need to fill out court paperwork. You will also need to get your fingerprints done and have a background check completed.
  • Attend the adoption hearing – at this hearing, the court will either approve or deny your adoption
  • Finalize the adoption – To finalize the adoption, you’ll have to show the following:
    • Clean criminal background
    • Fingerprints came back with no issues
    • Prove that the child has lived with you for at least 6 months
    • Show consent of any children over 12
    • Proof that you have been married to their parent for at least 1 year

If you prove this information, the court will likely finalize your adoption.

Contact an Adoption Lawyer in Arizona Today

If you have recently decided to adopt your stepchildren, you should contact an adoption lawyer. The adoption process is simple, however, there are many obstacles along the way. An experienced attorney will help you navigate the system. They will also be able to help you if the other parent does challenge the adoption. You want this to go as smoothly as possible for the sake of the children involved.

Click here for information on whether a spouse can deny a divorce in Arizona.