Grandparent Adoption in Arizona

grandparent adoptionWhen it comes to adoption, many people think of couples looking to bring a child into their home. However, we know that many adoptions happen within families – including grandparents wanting to adopt their grandchildren.

Grandparents may want to seek custody and legally adopt a grandchild for various reasons. Today, we are going to discuss why this may be the case. We also want to talk about what the law says about grandparent adoption in Arizona.

If you need help with this issue, please contact a qualified Arizona family law attorney to assist with this process. These cases are not always easy, especially when a parent does not agree with the adoption.

Grandparent rights differ from parents’ rights

In Arizona, as well as other states, the right of parents over their children take precedence over the rights of grandparents. There is a presumption in all cases that the child’s best interests are to remain with their legal parent(s). Under state and federal laws, it is seen as a parent’s constitutional right to raise their child as they see fit.

However, this does not mean that the grandparents do not play important roles in the lives of their grandchildren. In fact, we recognize that there are times when grandparents are the primary caregivers, whether officially or unofficially, for their grandchildren.

Why would a grandparent need to adopt their grandchild?

There are various reasons a grandparent would want to adopt their grandchild. This can include, but is not limited to, the following:

  • One or both parents are deceased
  • One or both parents are missing
  • A parent is struggling with drug or alcohol addictions
  • A parent is abusive to their child (physically or sexually)
  • Parents have relinquished their rights to the child

What does the law say about this?

The adoption process for grandparents can be complicated but will generally begin with the grandparents petitioning the court for temporary custody pending the adoption. To petition for custody, a grandparent must be able to meet the following standards under state statute:

  • They must stand in loco parentis to the child, meaning they are acting as a parent by providing all or some of the care for the child.
  • It must be determined to be detrimental to the child’s best interests to remain in the care of their parent(s).
  • The custody if the child cannot have been determined within the previous year. The exception to this is that there is potential harm to the child.
  • The child’s parents were never married, are getting divorced (or separating), or one parent is deceased.

Grandparents are going to have to provide clear and convincing evidence that the child’s welfare would suffer if left in the custody of their parents.

  • Grandparents do not have to be certified by the state of Arizona to adopt, and a social study may not have to be conducted (or may be limited in scope) for an adoption to become final.

How an attorney can help you through this

If you are a grandparent seeking to adopt a grandchild, we know that this process can seem daunting. Arizona’s family law and adoption laws can become overwhelming. However, we know you want to do what is best for your grandchild. Please consider securing help from a qualified Arizona family law attorney to help you through this. There are many reasons why a grandparent may need to adopt their grandchild – the death of a parent(s), unfit parent(s), and more. Simply having a child come live with you is not enough. It is important to do this properly so that you have the right to make decisions on the child’s behalf.

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