If you are interested in stepparent adoption, we can help. First and foremost, you should know that the adoption process could take time. More than likely, it will be a two step legal proceeding requiring more than one court appearance.
The initial step towards stepparent adoption involves terminating the biological parent’s rights. Parental rights can be terminated by consent (with permission) of the biological parent. The consenting biological parent would be required to execute a document advising of his or her consent or the biological parent could appear in court and advise the judge in person of the agreement to terminate his or her rights.
In some cases, the biological parent will not want to voluntarily relinquish his or her rights. If this is the case, a juvenile court judge will hold a hearing to determine whether termination of parental rights is in the best interest of the child. As in any case involving children, there are several factors the court will consider in making that determination including, but not limited to the following:
- Abuse and/or Neglect
- Mental Illness or Deficiency
- Alcohol or Drug Induced Incapacity
- Felony Conviction/Incarceration
- Failure of Reasonable Efforts
- Sexual Abuse
After a judge enters an order terminating the biological parent’s rights, the stepparent adoption can move forward. In considering whether or not to grant the request to adopt, again, the court will determine whether or not the adoption will serve the best interest of the child. According to Arizona statute, certain certifications, investigations and reports might need to be completed in your stepparent adoption case.
We have experience in both termination of parental rights cases, as well as in stepparent adoption cases. We will listen to the facts of your situation and provide information as to how a judge might view your particular circumstances.