3 important requirements for an Arizona stepparent adoption

On Behalf of | Mar 16, 2024 | Firm News

A stepparent adoption can be a beautiful and loving way to show a child how much they matter to the adults in their life. The stepparent who has begun fulfilling a parental role might decide that they would prefer to remove the prefix from their title.

A stepparent adoption is a legal process through which someone officially becomes the parent of their stepchild and secures all the rights and responsibilities that come with that role. There are three key requirements for a successful stepparent adoption in Arizona.

Appropriate family circumstances

Usually, adoptions in Arizona require a home study to ensure that the environment is appropriate for the child before placement. That may not be necessary in a stepparent adoption. However, there are two other requirements imposed by Arizona state law. The first is that the marriage between the stepparent and the parent of the child must have already lasted for at least a year. The second is that the stepparent needs to have cohabitated with the stepchild for at least six months. Provided that the family situation meets those standards, a stepparent could file the necessary paperwork to legally adopt their stepchild.

Permission from all living parents who retain legal rights

A stepparent requires the approval of their spouse to legally adopt their stepchild. They also need the permission of the other living parents unless the state has already terminated that person’s parental rights. Written authorization from the parents of the stepchild is crucial to the stepparent adoption process. In addition, the consent of the child may be required as well if the child is at least twelve years old.

Approval from a judge

The judge presiding over the case may look at many factors, including the opinion of the stepchild if they not yet old enough to be required to give consent. The process is not complete without a judge’s signature finalizing the adoption. Typically, a stepparent needs to be able to prove in court that the adoption would be in the best interests of their stepchild.

Those who meet all three of these standards may be in a position to legally change their current family dynamics. Learning more about Arizona’s family statutes and seeking legal support may benefit stepparents who are eager to solidify their relationship with a stepchild.