While it can be a life-changing decision for both the parents and child involved, adoption has a host of legal guidelines and restrictions that make it a uniquely complex process to undertake. If you are unfamiliar with your obligations during this process, you may unfortunately have a difficult time successfully adding a new member to your family.
A knowledgeable Prescott adoption lawyer could provide custom-tailored guidance and support from start to finish of your adoption proceedings. Whether you want to adopt through the state-run foster care system or facilitate a private adoption, help from a compassionate family attorney could be beneficial.
Arizona state law does not impose any restrictions on adoption with regard to marital status, so any adult resident has legal standing to pursue adoption whether they are currently married, divorced, legally separated, or single. Same-sex couples have the same rights to jointly pursue adoption in Prescott.
Prior to beginning the legal process for adoption, a prospective adoptive parent or parents must undergo an adoption home study supervised by a qualified professional. In addition to determining whether the prospective adopter(s) is physically and emotionally capable of caring for a child’s needs and best interests, this study will also generally involve an examination of the prospective adopter’s employment history and current financial status, one or more home visits, and at least one criminal background check.
The earliest an adoption can be facilitated is 72 hours following a child’s birth, provided that all surviving birth parents consent to the adoption in writing and with credible witnesses present. As a Prescott attorney could explain further, individuals over the age of 12 must also consent to their own adoption.
People who wish to adopt a child currently in the custody of the foster care system must work with both the Arizona Office of Licensing and Registration and the Arizona Department of Child Safety to do so. This process has numerous steps and required legal procedures that can take over a year to complete, so seeking help from a seasoned adoption lawyer in Prescott may be crucial to facilitating a foster care adoption efficiently. The same can be said for private or independent adoptions, which instead proceed through private adoption agencies.
Either way, the prospective adoptive parent(s) is generally responsible for any legal fees, counseling fees, agency fees, and all other reasonable costs associated with their adoption as determined by the court. This may also include a prospective birth mother’s living expenses for adoptions arranged prior to a child’s actual birth. Qualified legal counsel could review these and other requirements in more detail as needed.
Adoption is invariably a thrilling step for prospective new parents to take, but it is far from a simple process to complete. In the interest of protecting potentially vulnerable children and preserving the rights of their birth parents, the state of Arizona enforces a number of rules and restrictions for adoptions that can be challenging for adoptive parents to navigate alone.
Representation from a Prescott adoption lawyer could simplify your adoption proceedings significantly and help you get through them smoothly. Learn more by calling today.
Willison Law, PC
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