The divorce rate in the United States about 50%, and many people go on to remarry, so the chances of being involved in a blended family in Arizona are high. If your spouse already has a child from a previous marriage and you are considering adopting the child, here’s a guide on how to do it.
Requirements for adopting a stepchild in Arizona
- You must be a resident of Arizona: You must be a legal resident of Arizona for at least six months before filing to adopt your stepchild. If you’re eligible, contact the court in your county and commence the adoption process.
- You must get consent from the absent parent: The biological parent must give up their parental rights for you to be the new legal parent of your stepchild. If they refuse, you can go through a process known as “contest termination” to get your rights.
- You must be legally married to one of the biological parents: If you are not currently married to the child’s parent, you will need to get married before adopting them. If the birth parent is deceased, file an affidavit of marriage to prove to the court that you were once legally married to them.
- You must obtain consent from the child: If the stepchild is 14 years or older, the law requires them to give their consent to stepparent adoption. It would be very difficult for the process to proceed if they denied consent.
The adoption process
First, file a petition for adoption with the court. This petition will include information about the child, the parents and the stepparents. It will also include a request to terminate the birth parent’s parental rights.
Next, notify all interested parties. The petition must be served on all parties interested in the adoption, including the birth parents, other relatives, and any foster parents or guardians of the child.
Then, you will attend a hearing. The court will hold a hearing to decide whether to terminate the birth parent’s parental rights and approve the adoption. If approved, you will receive the final decree from the court, legally claiming you the legal parent of your stepchild.
Adopting your stepchild can be one of the best things you can do for them. You will give them a feeling of permanence and stability, make them feel loved and supported, and provide some financial benefits by making them your legal heir.