Adoption and Termination of Parental Rights
We can help you bring a new child into your family, via standard adoption, grandparent adoption or stepparent adoption.
You should be focusing on preparing yourself and your family
for the new addition, not dealing with anxiety about the process. We take the
stress off your shoulders so you can focus on what is truly important. Since 1959, our lawyers have taken great pride in helping
people through the adoption process.
Helping You Understand the Adoption Process
We help make the process of adoption work for you and help
you understand the process. We do so in two ways:
We take the time to learn about
you, your family and your vision for the future. As we move through the
steps, we always have your needs in mind.
We provide you with the information you need to understand
the process. We educate you about the steps involved and inform you about
your choices. We help you make informed decisions about your family's
Our attorneys can assist you with every step of the adoption
process. This includes first terminating the biological parent's rights, either
with consent or through a contested hearing. Then we assist you in obtaining
your adoption certification by coordinating the necessary home study with an
adoption certification agency. Finally, we prepare all of the necessary
paperwork and attend the final adoption hearing at the Juvenile Court.
We are experienced in assisting individuals involved in all types of
adoptions, including interstate adoptions, grandparent adoptions and step-parent
adoptions. We guide individuals through the adoption process, including the
termination of parental rights.
Termination of Parental Rights
The first step in an adoption is to obtain a termination of the biological
parent's parental rights.
Before the adoption is approved, there must be grounds for a termination of
parental rights. Pursuant to A.R.S. § 8-533, a Petition for Termination of
Parental Relationship must show that the termination is in the child's best
interests and at least one of the following:
A parent has abandoned the child.
A parent has neglected or willfully abused the child.
A parent has mental illness, mental deficiency or history of chronic abuse of
dangerous drugs, controlled substances or alcohol. There must be reasonable
grounds to believe that the condition will continue for prolonged and
A parent is convicted of a felony. The felony should prove the unfitness of that
parent to have future custody and control of the child, or the sentence should
be of such length that the child would be deprived of a normal home for a period
The potential father failed to file a paternity action within thirty days of
completion of service of notice.
The father failed to file a Notice of Claim of Paternity.
The parents have relinquished their rights to a child to an agency or have
consented to the adoption.
The child is being cared for in an out of home placement under the supervision
of the juvenile court.
The identity of the parent is unknown following three months of diligent efforts
to identify and locate the parent.
The parent has had parental rights to another child terminated within two years
for the same cause and cannot currently raise a child.
Contesting a Petition for Termination of Parental Rights
After the petition has been filed, the Juvenile Court sets an initial hearing to
determine whether or not the petition is being contested.
If the Petition is contested, then the Court will hold a Termination
Adjudication Hearing. In most instances, the Court appoints an attorney to
represent the child's legal interests, as well as a best interest attorney to
represent the child's "best interests." Additionally, the Court may appoint an
attorney for either of the parents contesting the termination if that parent is
unable to afford an attorney of their choice.
At the Termination Adjudication Hearing, the Court determines whether at least
one of the grounds for termination has been proven and whether the termination
is in the child's best interests.
Filing for Adoption
If a parent is successful in obtaining the termination of parental rights, then
the parent can proceed to file a Petition for Adoption in Juvenile Court.
Once you file a Petition for Adoption, a social or home study will help
determine whether the adoption is in the minor child's best interests. In
addition, a person must be certified as acceptable to adopt children. An
investigation is conducted that reviews the adoptive parent's fitness to adopt
A complete social history
Financial condition of the applicant
Moral fitness of the applicant
Religious background of the applicant
Physical and mental condition of the applicant
Whether there has been any court adjudication of child abuse, abandonment or
dependency against the applicant
Criminal history of the applicant
If the prospective adoptive parent is a stepparent of the child or is an uncle,
aunt, adult sibling, grandparent or great-grandparent of the child, the
pre-certification process is unnecessary.
Once a prospective adoptive parent obtains the certification, the Court sets the
matter for an Adoption Hearing.
Completing the Adoption Process
The entire process from the Petition to Terminate Parental Relationship through
the adoption takes approximately six months depending upon the Juvenile Court's
calendar. Upon completion of the Adoption, the child gets a new birth
certificate with the adoptive parent's name listed as a biological parent.
Additionally, the child's last name may be changed to the last name of the
Whether you are involved in a standard adoption, a
grandparent adoption or a stepparent adoption, we can help. Our goal is to help
you navigate the process efficiently and effectively. We will address all legal
matters as you bring a new child into your family.