Adoption in Arizona means that a new parent (or parents) will be put in place of the child’s former parent (or parents), and is governed by A.R.S. § 8-101 et. seq. Prospective adoptive parents are vetted by the state to ensure their ability to act as parents. After the legal adoption has occurred, the new parents (called the adoptive parents) are given the same parental rights and responsibilities as if the parents were the “natural” parents of the child. Most importantly, adoptions seek to further the best interest of children by supplying a secure, supportive and loving environment for the child.

An adoption can occur under different circumstances. Sometimes an adoption occurs surrounding a dependency and/or termination of parental rights proceeding. As part of a dependency proceeding, a termination of parental rights (or severance) proceeding is sometimes used to free up a child so that the child can be adopted by more fit parents. After a severance is final, the child is free to be legally adopted. In many instances, relatives or foster families of the child will become the adoptive parents.

Other adoptions occur as “step-parent adoptions,” in which a stepparent wishes to legally adopt his or her stepchild. These circumstances arise most often when a biological parent has been absent and the stepparent has been acting as the child’s parent. If the stepparent seeks adoption, the child’s biological parent might be willing to consent to the adoption because it relieves the parent of parental obligations such as paying child support. Often the biological parent will consent to the adoption and sign the appropriate papers. If the biological parent is unwilling to consent to the adoption, then a termination of parental rights proceeding must be initiated.

The experienced family law attorneys at Giordano & Heckele, PLLC can assist your family in adoption proceedings. Call today for a consultation: (520) 433-9031. Or email us at [email protected].