Adoption by Stepparent Regulations in Arizona
Through the process of adoption, a person accepts all the rights and the responsibilities that stem from being a child’s parent. Depending on the situation, Arizona has a number of adoption procedures. The following guide will address the specifics of adoption by stepparent regulations in Arizona.
Stepparent Adoption Laws in Arizona
Whenever a stepparent expresses the desire to adopt their stepchildren, a simpler procedure will apply than in other adoption scenarios.
In this situation, a biological parent will have to consent to the adoption by relinquishing their parental rights. When a biological parent is not willing to participate in the procedure, an adoption cannot occur.
Adoption is also possible in the case of parental death and custody by the stepparent.
After parental rights have been relinquished, the necessary Arizona adoption documents will have to be filled out. The first important document is a Consent to Adopt form that is signed by the biological parents.
The stepparent looking to adopt a child will have to complete a Petition to Adopt and this document will also have to be signed by the biological parent who isn’t relinquishing their rights (for example, the document has to be signed by a mother and her new husband who wants to become the adoptive father of her kids).
If there are no issues with the forms and the other documents required by court, the adoption will typically go ahead. The only checks that will be required from a stepparent who is married to the biological parent of the children include a federal criminal records check and a central registry check.
When a Biological Parent doesn’t Consent
As already mentioned, it will be impossible to go through with an adoption when a biological parent refuses to relinquish their parental rights. There are solely a few exceptions in which consent will not be required.
The scenarios in which an adoption can go through without the approval of a biological parent include the following:
- A history of violence, physical, emotional and sexual abuse
- Prolonged period of absence or neglect
- Complete abandonment
- Mental illness
- Drug or alcohol addiction
In such scenarios, the court will have the right to relinquish the parenting rights of the biological parent without needing their consent. Keep in mind that the US Constitution protects the rights of biological parents. Thus, going through with the adoption when a biological parent isn’t willing to terminate their rights can be incredibly difficult.
Child Consent and Other Important Consideration
In Arizona, a stepparent must be legally married to the biological parent of a child for the adoption to take place. Currently, domestic partners can’t go through with the procedure for adoption by stepparent regulations in Arizona notwithstanding.
It’s important to take a look at whether the consent of the child is required for the adoption to occur. A child over the age of 12 in Arizona will be required to consent to the adoption.
A stepparent can adopt a child in cases when the biological parent is unknown or missing. A different procedure will have to be employed for the termination of parental rights in such a situation. An experienced family law attorney will know what it takes to move through the administrative specifics and ensure a quick adoption process in such instances.
After the completion of the adoption process, there will be no provision for visitation rights being given to the biological parent that had their rights terminated. The grandparents who are associated with the said biological parent will have no visitation rights either.
The adoptive parents and the biological parent who has had their rights terminated could eventually reach an agreement about visitation. If this is the case, Arizona court will grant the right to the biological parent. Such a procedure, however, is usually left to the discretion of the adopting parents.