Blended families are becoming increasingly common in Arizona. It is also becoming increasingly common for stepparents to legally adopt their stepchildren.
Often, the biological parent is not involved in their child’s life; they may not even be providing child support. As stepparents take significant responsibility, legal adoption is a natural next step.
Can you adopt your stepchild in Arizona?
A stepparent can adopt a stepchild provided the non-participating birth parent terminates their parental rights. The stepparent and the legal parent must have a marriage lasting at least one year, and have lived with the stepchild for at least six months. If the child is over 12 years old they must provide consent for the adoption as well.
What are the benefits of adopting a stepchild?
There are many benefits to adoption. It allows you to make decisions for the child regarding school, religion, medical care and other critical issues. Of course, the most important benefit is the love and security both of you receive from a cemented relationship.
Is adopting a stepchild difficult in Arizona?
If the non-participating biological parent is willing to relinquish parental rights, the process is fairly simple. If not, you must first petition for Termination of Parental Rights. From there, the steps are:
- File the petition to adopt
- Provide notice of hearing
- Obtain a termination of parental rights for the biological parent
- Pass a home visit by a state-appointed official
- Adoption hearing (where the child must be present)
- A final order entered: adoption is official
Adopting a stepchild can solidify your relationship and provide you with the right to make decisions regarding your family’s future. Most of all, it can provide the love and security you both need.