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Arizona Adoption Laws

Arizona adoption laws are important because they regulate the processes for adoption in the state. Have you thought about expanding your family by adopting? Or, have you considered placement of a child with a prospective adoptive family?

If you have, you may have found it difficult to understand the complex Arizona state adoption laws. While some components (like eligibility) are easy to comprehend, other requirements, such as the adoption home study, may be more complicated.

You may have questions about the Arizona laws on adoption, such as:

Making the issue more complex is the multiple types of adoption that are possible. For example, Arizona adoption laws for private adoption differ from international adoption legal requirements. That’s why it’s a good idea to fully understand Arizona child adoption laws before starting your adoption journey.

This guide will teach you about Arizona state adoption laws as you sort through the adoption process. This information shouldn’t be considered legal advice or guidance. It’s simply a helpful primer for those considering adoption in Arizona.

Keep reading to learn more about child adoption laws in Arizona and how they shape your adoption journey.

Laws and Qualifications for Adoption in Arizona

Eligibility qualifications in Arizona aren’t prohibitive. Few legal mandates prevent willing potential adoptive parents from adopting.

While there are significant differences in the laws regulating the three primary forms of adoption, the general state of Arizona adoption laws are similar. One such similarity is that an adoption home study must be performed before all adoptions.

Read below to learn specific details about Arizona adoption laws.

Who can adopt in Arizona?

Almost anyone can adopt in Arizona, so long as the person doesn’t have felony convictions related to violent crime, drug crimes, or child abuse and neglect. Other specific preferences may exist from individual adoption agencies, but Arizona adoption laws don’t restrict many aspects of adoption eligibility.

Arizona state adoption laws only require prospective adoptive parents to live and work in the state. They must also display good character and possess the financial and emotional resources to raise a child.

Below are some common questions regarding adoption eligibility in Arizona and their answers:

  • Do I need to be married to adopt? Anybody can adopt regardless of marital status. You don’t have to be married if you meet the other adoption requirements. While not required by Arizona child adoption laws, private adoption agencies might prefer marriage as an internal qualification to adopt. Some agencies prefer couples to be married for a specified time.
  • Can I adopt if I’m in a same-sex relationship? Same-sex couples can legally adopt under the adoption rules in Arizona if they meet the other legal criteria for adopting a child.
  • Can I be too old to adopt? There is also no maximum age limit for prospective adoptive parents, either. Private agencies may be reluctant to place a young child with a senior citizen, but it isn’t prohibited by law.
  • Can I adopt a child if I have a felony conviction? Prospective adoptive parents previously convicted of crimes related to violence, drugs, or child abuse and neglect may not be allowed to adopt under Arizona adoption statutes. The court has discretion to consider each case to decide whether adoption eligibility is warranted.

What expenses can be paid by prospective adoptive parents?

Arizona adoption laws prohibit prospective adoptive parents from providing compensation to birth parents. However, many expectant birth mothers may be concerned with paying expenses incurred during pregnancy.

Therefore, Arizona adoption laws allow prospective adoptive parents to pay some of the birth mother’s expenses related to the birth. Several classes of costs can be paid. If living expenses exceed $1,000, the adoptive parents must file with the court to allow payment.

The expense payments aren’t made directly to birth parents, but instead go directly to pay expenses. The court determines which living expenses are reasonable, and only those may be paid by adoptive parents. This adoption financial assistance is facilitated by your adoption professional — usually your adoption agency or adoption attorney.

Also, 10 days before the hearing is held, Arizona adoption laws require that a record of all expenses paid must be filed with the court. An affidavit is required from the birth mother stating that she understands the payments don’t obligate her to place her child for adoption. If she opts against placing the child, the expenses don’t have to be repaid.

Here are a few expenses that can be paid by prospective adoptive parents according to Arizona adoption laws:

  • Birth parent pregnancy expenses: Expenses accrued through the pregnancy and up to six weeks after birth can be paid by adoption agencies. This can include any reasonable living expenses.
  • Counseling fees: Fees for counseling service during pregnancy and after the child’s birth.
  • Agency fees: Fees charged to the birth parents by adoption agencies.
  • Legal fees for birth parents: Litigation expenses, court costs and legal filing fees.
  • Prenatal, pregnancy, and birth medical expenses: Adoption agencies can pay the cost of medical expenses related to the birth before, during, and immediately after the adoptee is born.

Arizona Adoption Laws about International Adoption

International adoption differs from other types of adoption because the process involves laws in the home country of the adoptee, federal laws and Arizona adoption policy.

International adoption laws in Arizona require additional levels of clearance to adopt abroad and reenter the U.S. with your adopted child. Generally, the transfer of custody occurs in the child’s home country and adoption is finalized in the U.S.

After custody is transferred, you can apply for a visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate in the child’s home country. The visa allows you to bring the child into the U.S. The federal requirements for immigration must be satisfied before you can bring the child home.

Most international adoptions are finalized in the U.S. You can also pursue re-adoption to gain full citizenship and rights for your child. A revised Certificate of Foreign Birth can be requested to reflect the child’s new name.

Arizona Adoption Laws and Advertising

Arizona adoption policy doesn’t address adoption advertising — which is the process of finding adoption opportunities for prospective birth parents and hopeful adoptive parents. However, licensed adoption agencies and adoption attorneys are the only entities that can advertise regarding adoption. Attorneys can’t play a role in direct adoption placements, however, and must file an affidavit proclaiming their compliance with child placement laws.

Arizona Adoption Laws for Placing a Child

Arizona adoption laws also govern placement of a baby for adoption. If you’ve considered placing a child for adoption, you must understand Arizona adoption statutes regarding the rights and requirements of birth parents. Your first step is finding a great adoption agency that will ensure your adoption placement meets the legal Arizona adoption guidelines.

What is consent to adoption?

Consent can refer to the consent of the birth parents provided before parental rights are terminated or the consent given by children over 12 who are being adopted through the state foster system.

In most cases under Arizona adoption laws, consent to adopt means the birth parents have agreed to place a child for adoption. Signing the consent to adoption forms in Arizona is followed by termination of parental rights in private domestic adoptions, allowing the adoptive parents to gain legal custody of the child.

Consent also refers to the consent of a child over the age of 12 who is being placed through foster care adoption. Arizona adoption laws require children over 12 to give consent to be adopted before permanent custody transfer.

Who must consent to adoption in Arizona?

Arizona adoption laws require that all vested parties give consent to adopt before custody transfer. Consent is required of any person who is legally entitled to custody of a minor child. Usually, consent is required from the birth mother and birth father.

Consent of the parent is not required when:

  • The parent is unable to care for the child due to mental illness.
  • The parent has voluntarily terminated parental rights.
  • The parent has no right of consent after an abortion when the child survives.
  • A person is convicted of a crime resulting in the birth of a child.
  • The parent’s rights have been terminated on the grounds of abandonment, nonsupport, endangerment, abuse, or neglect.

Sometimes, the parental rights of the birth parents have been previously terminated, such as when the child is in the custody of a state agency. Arizona adoption statutes dictate that the agency can provide the consent to adopt. Additional consent may be required from the adoptee if the child is over 12 years of age.

When and how do birth parents provide consent?

In the case of a private domestic adoption, the birth mother can relinquish parental rights 72 hours after birth, which begins the process of terminating parental rights. Consent must also be witnessed by two credible witnesses who are at least 18 years old.

Birth fathers can relinquish parental rights at any point after the child is born. In some cases, a denial of paternity takes the place of a father’s relinquishment. To learn more about birth father rights, and the type of consent that your adoption will require, you should speak with an adoption professional.

Post-Placement Child Adoption Laws in Arizona

Arizona adoption laws require post-placement visits that are performed after a child is placed in the adoptive home. The purpose of post-placement visits is to determine if the adopted child is adjusting to the home.

The initial post-placement visit happens in the initial 30 days after placement and every 30 days thereafter until the finalization hearing.  

When placements experience hiccups, there may be additional post-placement visits. The adoption professional performing the visit may offer advice and identify post-adoption resources that may aid the child and adoptive parents.

Learn More Today

Arizona adoption laws are there to protect everyone involved in the adoption process: birth parents, adoptive parents and adoptees. They’re complex because they must meet the needs of all types of adoptions.

Thankfully, you’re not alone when it comes to the laws and regulations surrounding adoption. Many adoption agencies and attorneys in Arizona are waiting to assist you fulfilling the requirements of Arizona adoption laws. You can find the help you need by visiting this link.