Phoenix Adoption Attorney

In many cases, adoption law in Arizona goes hand-in-hand with the termination of parental rights. However, these are two distinct entities. In Arizona, adoption is frequently a question that involves prospective stepparents who wish to adopt their stepchildren. As with most family law proceedings, these processes can become complicated, so it is best to retain the services of an experienced professional to ensure a seamless transition. Here is an idea of how the adoption process in Arizona works:

Types of Adoption

Adoptions by stepparents can be relatively painless, provided that the other biological parent consents. Often, a parent will voluntarily revoke his or her parental rights because it relieves the legal responsibilities that come with being a guardian, like paying child support.

This can be the circumstance for stepparent adoption. It may also hold true for cases like grandparents wishing to adopt their grandchildren when the biological parents are unfit to care for them. Lastly, young, unwed couples may be more willing to terminate their parental rights if it means it will give their child a better chance at life through adoption.

Adoption Procedure

If you are looking to adopt, you will first have to schedule a home study with a social worker, though this rule does not always apply to stepparent adoptions. During a home study, a social worker will evaluate your ability to care for a child. This means a thorough background investigation, as well as a check into your criminal and financial history. You may also be required to complete a medical examination. Lastly, a social worker will visit your home to assure it is a safe place to raise and provide for a child.

There are not many restrictions in the U.S. as to who can adopt; however, it is generally more difficult for unmarried couples to adopt than it is for married ones. The adoption procedure becomes more complicated when a parent is unwilling to terminate his or her parental rights. In these sorts of cases, you can pursue avenues that will forcibly terminate biological parents’ rights, but these can be hard to pursue.

There is a precedent set by the Supreme Court that states that the courts can forcibly sever parental rights, but only if the parent has never played a significant role in the child’s upbringing. In other words, the burden is on the prospective adoptive parent to prove:

  • The other biological parent is unfit
  • The severance of paternal rights is in the best interest of the child

If an attorney thinks you have a case to pursue the severance of paternal rights, he or she will file the necessary paperwork. The court will appoint a lawyer on behalf of the child to ensure his or her rights remain protected during the proceedings.

Selecting the Best Adoption Attorney

Adoption cases can be convoluted and cause significant emotional strife. Though adoptions involving the voluntary severance of rights can be legally straightforward, you may still experience a degree of uncertainty until the process is complete. For cases in which you must pursue the forcible severance of parental rights, proceedings can be drawn out and take a toll on the whole family.

At Gillespie, Shields, Durrant & Goldfarb, we are committed to doing what is in the best interest of the child. We will review the facts of your case and determine whether or not we think you have a chance of legally severing paternal rights. If we decide you do, we will work tirelessly to get you and the child the outcome you deserve. If you have any questions or would like to schedule an initial consultation, call our office today.