• Adopting a Child in Arizona

    Adoption is the legal process of transferring the biological parents’ rights to a child to non-biological parents. Children are adopted by stepparents, relatives, foster parents, or unrelated parties. This process typically contains two stages: Termination of Parental Rights and the formal adoption.

Adopting a Child in Arizona

Adoption is the legal process of transferring the biological parents’ rights to a child to non-biological parents. Children are adopted by stepparents, relatives, foster parents, or unrelated parties. This process typically contains two stages: Termination of Parental Rights and the formal adoption.

How we can help you with Adoption in Arizona

Contested Adoption
Uncontested Adoption
Adult Adoption
Stepparent Adoption
Foster Care Adoptions
Kinship Adoptions
Foster Parent Adoptions
ICPC Adoptions
ICWA Adoptions
Termination of Parental Rights
Foster Care Help
Dept. of Child Safety Adoptions
LGBTQ+ Adoptions
Juvenile Adoptions
Private Adoptions

After termination is complete the adoption process begins. Adoption requires certification, filing multiple documents with the court and at least one court appearance.

Certification to adopt can take about six months to complete. This should be completed prior to starting the adoption process; however, it is not always an option and may require temporary custody.

Multiple private agencies offer certification and home studies. If you are a foster family the certification will be completed by the Department of Child Safety (DCS).

The court paperwork and hearing are all part of the same proceeding. The paperwork is detailed and requires specific affidavits, searches, statements, and agreements.

During the final stage of the adoption the Court will hold a hearing. Unlike many court hearings that are stressful this adoption hearing is a joyful experience finalizing the adoption.

Often family members attend and take pictures. This is also when the Court issues an order changing the child’s name.

More: Resources for Foster and Adoption Parents

Foster Care & DCS Adoptions

Adopting a foster child is a rewarding challenge. Lewis Labadie helps foster parent and kinship relatives navigate through this stressful time.  Our firm advises on the legal process and most importantly, your legal rights. We work together with the Department of Child Safety to finalize the adoption.

We can assist with adoptions that include the Interstate Compact of Placement of Children (ICPC) – placement of a child from one state to another. Our firm is skilled in adoptions involving the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) and help with other areas of tribal law.

Our special program for Foster Parents and Kinship Relative allows us to offer FREE initial consultations on any area of practice we handle. We know it is hard to be a foster parent and want to provide you with every opportunity for success.

“The world may not change if you adopt a child, but for that child their world will change”

“Being a parent wasn’t just about bearing a child. It was about bearing witness to its life.”

“It’s important to realize that we adopt not because we are rescuers. No. We adopt because we are rescued.”

“By choice, we have become family, first in our hearts, and finally in breath and being. Great expectations are good; great experiences are better.”

“Adoption is not the call to have the perfect, rosy family. It is the call to give love, mercy, and patience.”

“Whether your children are yours through biology or adoption, they are yours through love.”

“Adoption is less about getting a child for your family and more about giving your family for a child.”

“There are no unwanted children, just unfound families.”

“Adoption is a commitment that enter into blindly, but it is no different than adding a child by birth. It is essential that adopting parents are committed to parenting this child for the rest of their lives, and committed to parenting through the tough stuff.”

Termination of Parental Rights for Adoption

Termination of parental rights is done voluntarily or by the court’s order. Termination of parental rights is also the first step in the adoption process.

Voluntary termination is a consensual private adoption. Both the biological and non-biological parents agree to the terms, such as an open or closed adoption.

Involuntary Termination normally takes place when one or both parents are deemed unfit or have abandoned the child. The court can terminate parental rights without consent of the biological parents.

LGBTQ+ Adoption

Lewis Labadie is a welcoming place for the LGBTQ+ community.  Love is love. We fight hard for your rights, including assisting with same-sex, second parent, and Assisted Reproduction Technology (ART) adoptions.

Thankfully, the Supreme Court landmark case of Obergefell v. Hodges provides for equality, but it does not solve the established history. The Arizona state laws are outdated and create challenges.

We ensure that your legal paperwork reflect how you want to be identified. This includes during the legal process and on future documents, such as a child’s birth certificate.

Private Adoptions

Private adoptions are diverse. Thus, the requirements change on a case-by-case basis. It is important to understand your rights and the process. There are two main categories: contested or uncontested.

Uncontested adoptions are relatively easy. The reason for them being easier is that the formal Termination of Parental Rights is usually not required. This can save time, money, and energy. The parent or guardian executes a consent form to be filed with the adoption court. The consent is irrevocable, except if there is fraud or duress.

With the consent, the adoption court will set a hearing for the adoption celebration. Uncontested adoptions are common for stepparent or agency adoptions. An agency adoption usually matches birth parents with adoptive parent(s) and provides education for everyone.

Contested or complex adoptions usually require Termination of Parental Rights. This is because one or both parents do not agree with the adoption or other complicating factors exist.

Complex proceedings are needed for interstate, international adoptions, intercountry adoptions controlled by the Hague Adoption Convention, and Assisted Reproduction Technology (ART). If your adoption falls into one of these complex categories, we can help you determine the best route.

An open adoption can be a beneficial to all who are involved. Depending on circumstances, the parties may elect to execute a Post Adoption Contact Agreement. This “PACA” is a contract between the adopting parent and consenting parent. PACAs vary in terms.

A limited PACA may only include an agreement that the child will be provided with the parent’s name upon turning 18 or a photograph once a year. Some PACAs are extensive, including visitation times, restrictions, holidays, social media access, and many other terms.

Adult Adoption

Adult Adoption is a special adoption process involving two adults. Unlike other adoptions, these take place in the probate division. Usually, an adult adoptions involves an Adult ages 18-21 years.

However, stepchildren, some blood relatives, and foster children can be adopted without the age restriction. This adoption will secure inheritance and all right linked to a parent-child relationship. The parties can also change the Adult’s birth record to reflect their parent-child relationship. The Parent and Adult will execute a formal agreement that consents to the adoption.

Additional consents may be needed. Then the Adoptive Parent and Adult attend a ceremony hearing for finalization.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How long is the adoption process?

    The length can vary depending on circumstances. The most common delays are the termination of parental rights or waiting on an ICPC (Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children). Arizona provides for expedited hearings to finalize an adoption in several circumstances.  If the child has lived in your home for more than 1 year, a hearing should be complete in 60 days. If the child has lived in your home for more than 6 months, a hearing should be complete in 90 days. Other adoptions should be completed within 6 months.

  • What is required to adopt?

    Level 1 Fingerprint Clearance and DCS Central Registry Check for all adults in your home. Complete a Social Study. For a stepparent adoption, the parents must be married one year.

    Considerations for Who May Adopt A.R.S. 8-103

  • What is a Social Study?

    A Social Study is done by an independent agency or the State. An interview or several are conducted. You will be required to submit a medical statement regarding your mental/physical health.  The child’s wellbeing and adjustment to the home will be evaluated. It will also cover your finances.

    Details for Adoption Social Study A.R.S. 8-112

  • How much does an adoption cost?

    Our firm charges $2,000 per adoption petition. However, the cost can vary depending on the client’s needs, ability to pay, or if additional work will be needed.  Adoption legal fees are covered by several legal plans and the State of Arizona for foster children.

What our clients are saying…

If you are looking for a Family Law attorney contact Lewis Legal! Dan and Brittney are knowledgeable, honest, fair, and have reasonable rates. I’m happy to say I now have a solid legal team to help me whenever I’m in need! Thank you, Dan and Brittney!!

Best Legal Team Ever!!! As a Dad in a custody battle, the odds are not in your favor right from the start. BUT Dan and Brit did an amazing job making my case and getting everything I wanted and more. THANKS AGAIN

I’ve used them twice. Both times regarding custody issues and during both times I was nothing but impressed. They were fast, professional and very communicative and I highly recommend them to anyone

Great experience! Fast and efficient. Communication was awesome, and they truly work for your cause. Job well done!

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