ADOPTION LAWS ARIZONA
The law of adoption in Arizona is governed by the Arizona Revised Statute Title 8.
ELIGIBILITY OF ADOPTOR AND ADOPTEE
A child or a foreign-born person may be adopted
- who is twenty-one years of age or less and
- who is not an illegal alien
- who is present within this state at the time the petition for adoption is filed.
Any adult who is 18 years or older, resident of Arizona whether married, unmarried or legally separated may adopt a child. A husband and wife may also jointly adopt a child.
Pre-adoption certificate is issued by the Superior court before any prospective adoptive parent may petition to adopt a child the person to certify that the person is acceptable to adopt a child.
The certificate may be issued only after an investigation conducted by an officer of the court, by an agency or by the division.
A written application for certification shall be made directly to the court, to an agency or to the division, in the form and content required by the court, agency or division.
The division is not required to accept every application for certification.
After receiving and accepting the written and completed application of the prospective adoptive parent or parents, which include
- a financial statement and
a physician's statement of each applicant's physical health
The court must conduct or cause to be conducted an investigation of the prospective adoptive parent or parents to determine if they are fit and proper persons to adopt children.
The court considers all relevant and material facts dealing with the prospective adoptive parents' fitness to adopt children of the report of the investigation which may include:
- A complete social history.
- The financial condition of the applicant.
- The moral fitness of the applicant.
- The religious background of the applicant.
- The physical and mental health condition of the applicants.
- Any court action for or adjudication of child abuse, abandonment of children, dependency or termination of parent-child relationship in which the applicant had control, care or custody of the child who was the subject of the action.
- Whether the person or persons wish to be placed on the central registry established in subsection L of this section.
All other facts bearing on the issue of the fitness of the prospective adoptive parents that the court, agency or division may deem relevant.
Within sixty days after receiving the investigation report the court certifies the applicant as being acceptable or non-acceptable to adopt children based on the investigation report.
A certification remains in effect for eighteen months from the date of its issuance and may be extended for additional one-year periods if after review the court finds that there have been no material changes in circumstances which would adversely affect the acceptability of the applicant to adopt.
PETITION TO ADOPT
The potential adoptive parent or parents, an agency or the division may file a petition to adopt with the Superior Court of the county. The petition shall specify:
- The full name, age and place of residence of the prospective adoptive parent and,
- if married, the date and place of marriage and the relationship if any to the child.
- that a certificate of acceptability to adopt has been issued in favor of the prospective adoptive parent and the date of its issuance or the reason preadoption certification is not required.
- The date when the prospective adoptive parent acquired custody of the child and from what person or agency, or, if not in custody, the present custodial circumstances.
- The date and place of birth of the child.
- The name of the child or the fictitious name to be used in the proceedings and, if a change of name is desired, the name.
- That it is the desire of the prospective adoptive parent to adopt the child.
- A full description and statement of the value of all property owned or possessed by the child.
- If the child being adopted is a ward of the court, that written consent to adopt has been given by the division or the agency that has been given custody of the ward or any reason that consent need not be given.
- Full disclosure of any fees or anything of value given or paid to any person or organization in connection with the adoption of the child.
- Any written consent required by this article may be attached to the petition or may be filed after the filing of the petition at or before the hearing.
Notice of hearing on petition to adopt; service.
After a petition to adopt has been filed, the clerk of the superior court shall set a time and place for a hearing by the court. Notice shall be as provided for the service of process in civil actions to:
- The petitioner.
- The agency, if any.
- The person or agency conducting the social study.
- Any person or agency required to give consent unless the consent with a waiver of notice of hearing has been filed before the hearing.
Any person who has initiated a paternity action.
SOCIAL STUDY REPORT
The division, an agency or an officer of the court shall conduct and submit a social study to the court ten days before the hearing on the petition to adopt.
The social study shall include the following:
- The social history, heritage and mental and physical condition of the child and the child's birth parents.
- The child's current placement in the prospective adoptive parent's home and the child's adjustment to that home.
- The prospective adoptive parent's suitability to adopt.
- The existing and proposed arrangements regarding the child's custody.
- Any financial arrangement concerning the proposed adoption made by the birth parents, the division, an agency, an attorney or the prospective adoptive parents.
- A state and federal criminal records check of the prospective adoptive parent and each adult who is living permanently with the prospective adoptive parent except a birth or legal parent with custody of the child.
- A central registry records check, including any history of child welfare referrals, with the division of the prospective adoptive parent and each adult who is living permanently with the prospective adoptive parent.
- Any other information that is pertinent to the adoption proceedings.
The social study conducted shall contain a definite recommendation for or against the proposed adoption and the reasons for that recommendation.
The social study conducted may consist only of the results of the state and federal criminal records check and the central registry records check if either of the following is true:
The prospective adoptive parent is the child's stepparent who has been legally married to the child's birth or legal parent for at least one year and the child has resided with the stepparent and parent for at least one year.
The prospective adoptive parent is the child's adult sibling, by the whole or half blood, or the child's aunt, uncle, grandparent or great-grandparent and the child has resided with the prospective adoptive parent for at least one year.
If the child being considered for adoption has resided with the prospective adoptive parent for at least six months and the prospective adoptive parent either has adopted a child or was appointed the permanent guardian of the child within three years preceding the current application, or is a foster parent who is licensed by this state, the social study conducted pursuant may consist only of the following:
- The results of the central registry records check to be conducted.
A review of any material changes in circumstances that have occurred since the previous adoption, permanent guardianship or license renewal that affect the prospective adoptive parent's ability to adopt the child or for the child to be placed in the prospective adoptive parent's home.
After the hearing and considering all the evidence placed on record, the court is satisfied that the requirements of the Code has been met and the adoption is in the best interests of the child, the court orders for the adoption of the child.
The court may order to change the name of the child to that of the adoptive parent or parents. The written order of the court shall include the findings of fact on which it based its order, including the court's jurisdiction and the date and place of birth of the child being adopted based on the best available evidence.
The order is conclusive and binding on all persons from the date of its entry subject to appeal.
An appeal may be made to the Court of Appeals against the order of the Superior Court.