Each state’s adoption laws can vary, so it is important that if you are considering adopting a child in Arizona that you become familiar with Arizona’s adoption laws.
Arizona adoption laws are in place to protect the birth parents, the prospective adoptive parents, and the child being adopted. You will want to find an adoption agency or an adoption lawyer who is very knowledgeable in the Arizona adoption laws.
We will cover some of the legal specifics for those adopting in Arizona involving newborn adoptions through the domestic adoption process, as well as adopting an infant or older child through the foster care system.
Click on the following to jump to an area of interest:
- Adoption Requirements in Arizona
- Adoption Consent in Arizona
- Arizona Subsidies for Foster Care Adoption
- Arizona Adoption Advertising Laws
- Birth Parent Expenses in Arizona
- Accessing Adoption Records in Arizona
- Post Adoption Contact Laws in Arizona
- When are Adoption Birth Certificates Issued in Arizona?
With so many aspects of Arizona’s adoption laws and their corresponding policies, it is impossible to cover them all in one article. We will, however, dive into many facets of the adoption laws in Arizona.
You are strongly encouraged to contact a licensed adoption agency or an adoption lawyer for specific adoption laws and policies in Arizona, as laws and policies do change.
Can you adopt without a lawyer? How much do adoption attorneys cost? Learn all that and more by visiting Adoption Lawyers in Arizona: Do You Need an Adoption Attorney? where we also give you step-by-step instructions on how to vet an adoption lawyer.
Adoption Requirements in Arizona
- 18 years of age to adopt.
- Lawfully in the United States.
- Renting or owning is acceptable.
- May be single, divorces, married, or widowed.
- LGBT couple may adopt.
- Thorough background check.
It is common knowledge that adoption is costly, but that is not to be confused with a false expectation that a prospective parent should be well off financially. Financial security is important and expected when applying to adopt a child, yet being upper class is not one of those qualifications.
Financial security simply means that you are able to pay your bills, cover your rent or mortgage, and that you have a reliable means of income and transportation. What matters most is that a child is loved, cared for, and kept safe and comfortable.
Learn more about adoption attorneys in our article What Does an Adoption Attorney Do? We Find Out.
Adoption Consent in Arizona
Below is a summary including key points of the adoption consent laws in Arizona put together for your convenience and is intended to be quicker to digest. For a complete listing of all adoption consent laws in its legal format and in its entirety, visit Title 8, Chapter 106, courtesy of Justia US Law.
Section 8-106: Consent to Adoption; Waiver; Consent to the Release of Information; Notification to Potential Fathers
It goes without saying that consent to adopt is a huge part of the adoption process. We may forget, however, that there is more involved than the birth mother’s consent.
Other aspect may come into play that you will want to keep in mind.
- The adoptee who is 12 years of age or older must give their consent to the adoption. An exception to this would be if the child is mentally incompetent.
- The presumed father has the right to consent to the adoption, if:
- The father was married to the child’s mother at the time of conception or at any time between conception and the child’s birth unless his paternity is excluded or another man’s paternity is established pursuant to title 25, chapter 6, article 1, or
- The father has adopted the child.
- The father’s paternity is established under title 25, chapter 6, article 1 or section 36-334.
- The agency to which the adoptee has been relinquished or which holds permanent custody and which has placed the adoptee for adoption.
Arizona Subsidies for Foster Care Adoption
Adoption assistance, otherwise know as adoption subsidies, is available for foster children in Arizona who suffer from physical, mental, and developmental challenges.
These children are at a heightened risk of health problems, learning disabilities, as well as mental health issues. Subsidized adoption provides assistance to adoptive families for medical access, special equipment, therapies, tutoring, and other support services.
In the US, about 90% of the children in foster care are eligible for adoption assistance.
Special Needs Eligibility in Arizona
A child with special needs may qualify for adoption assistance if the child meets one or more of the following circumstances, courtesy of NACAC.
- Noted emotional, physical, or mental issues.
- Siblings of two or more being placed for adoption in the same home at the same time.
- A child six years of age or older.
- Due to underlining issues in the past, the child is likely to suffer emotional, physical, or mental struggles in the future.
- Racial or ethnic factors when such factor(s) impede the child’s adoptive placement; and
- High risk of severe emotional disturbance if removed from the care of the child’s foster parent or relative as diagnosed by a psychiatrist or psychologist.
Arizona Adoption Advertising Laws
Adoption advertising is defined as using a public medium to express an interest in adopting a child or sharing that a child is available for adoption either by print or electronically.
Common means of advertising include:
- Printed Flyers
While researching the adoption advertising laws for Arizona, we found that there are currently no mentions of adoption advertisement use in the state of Arizona. Per ChildWelfare.gov, as of July 2020, adoption advertising is not addressed in the statues reviewed.
There are currently 18 states without regulations on adoption advertising, and Arizona is one of those states.
Birth Parent Expenses in Arizona
In all states, no person or agency is allowed to accept payment for assisting, placing, or organizing the placement of a child, as this is illegal.
There are some things, however, that adoptive parents may be allowed to pay for in Arizona. These things include:
- Legal fees
- Adoption agency fees
- Prenatal visits
- Living expenses
- Hospital costs
Adoptive parents are required to file a complete record of expenses related to the adoption that they are covering, and this must happen prior to making a payment toward those expenses.
The affidavit filed by the adoptive parents must be signed by the birth mother confirming the receipt of the listed expenses.
Your licensed adoption liaison will help to ensure that all financial aspects of the adoption process run smoothly and legally.
What do you do, though, if said expenses are paid and the birth mother changes her mind in the end? Adoption Disruption insurance is available for adoptive parents to protect them from such a misfortune for those adopting domestically.
Courtesy of the Arizona Legislature.
Accessing Adoption Records in Arizona
As of today’s date, Arizona law prevents an adult adoptee from accessing their own original birth certificate. A new law that takes effect in 2022 will change that, but for now, an adoptee would need a court order to access their original birth certificate.
There is a loop hole, however, in this new law that some refer to as a discriminatory donut hole. If an adoptee was born between June 20, 1968 and September 28, 2021, they will be prevented from requesting and obtaining their own birth certificates.
Adoptees born before that time period or after may request and receive their original birth certificates. This new law takes effect in January of 2022.
To learn more, visit the Adoptee Rights Law Center.
Post Adoption Contact Laws in Arizona
Adoptive parents have a right to decide who has contact with their adopted child and when. Many times in an open adoption, the adoptive parents and the birth family have a mutual and informal agreement regarding contact with the adopted child.
The state of Arizona permits enforceable contact agreements granting postadoption visitation rights. The courts in Arizona require the adoptive parents and the birth parents to have a written and signed document submitted to the courts prior to the finalization of the adoption.
If the adoptee is 12 years of age or older, the courts must take the wishes of the child into consideration.
Courtesy of ChildWelfare.gov.
When are Adoption Birth Certificates Issued in Arizona?
When your adoption is finalized, court proceedings should immediately include beginning the process of obtaining a new birth certificate for the adopted child that reflects the child’s new last name and adoptive parents.
Do not hesitate to ask your adoption attorney or adoption agency if you need to initiate that process, or if the courts will do that on your behalf.
DISCLAIMER: The above state law information is provided to our readers as a courtesy and is meant to be helpful in offering some insight as to what to expect during your adoption journey. This information is not meant to be viewed as legal advice. In addition, possible changes to state laws may have taken place since the publishing of this article in July 2021.