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Adoption Vs. Legal Guardianship Options In Arizona

Posted by on Feb 1, 2018 in Adoption | 0 comments

Adoption Vs. Legal Guardianship Options In Arizona

Many people are confused by the differences between adoption and legal guardianship, but when considering either of these options in Arizona, it’s helpful to better understand some of the details.

When you bring a child into a family – through either adoption or guardianship – you open your heart to an invaluably enriching and rewarding experience. By becoming better informed about the distinctions between the two, you’ll help ensure that your experience goes more smoothly.

Legal Status

In an adoption, the birth parents either voluntarily relinquish their parental rights or have their parental rights terminated by the court. As such, all those parental rights are passed to the adoptive parents.

In other words, adoption – much like giving birth to a child – represents a permanent legal relationship.

Guardianship, on the other hand, doesn’t provide the same level of legal status, and that legal status can vary dependent upon the situation:

• The birth parents’ rights may have been relinquished voluntarily or terminated involuntarily prior to guardianship – but this isn’t always the case.
• If the birth parents haven’t been relieved of their parental rights, they retain the right to request that the court remove their child from guardianship and return him or her to them.
• The guardian takes on the legal responsibility of taking custody of the child and of providing him or her with care and supervision.

Making Decisions Related to the Child

Adoptive parents assume all rights and responsibilities related to making decisions about the adoptive child. A guardian is usually granted the right to make most major decisions, including those related to the child’s education, medical care, and other important life decisions.

The Child’s Legal Name

When you adopt a child, you’re allowed to choose your adoptive child’s name, which means that your child can share your last name. If you become a child’s guardian, the child will usually retain his or her last name.

The Child’s Inheritance

An adopted child has all the rights of inheritance that a child born to you would have (if you have no Will). If you have a valid Will, your adoptive child’s rights will be established via your stated wishes (just as they would be for any children born to you). If a child of whom you are a guardian isn’t specifically included in your will, he or she has no legal rights of inheritance.

Adoptions and guardianships both serve important functions in children’s lives (and in the lives of their adoptive parents and guardians). An experienced Arizona adoption attorney will help you better understand your legal options and the path toward welcoming a child into your home and heart.

The Importance Of Discussing Your Options With An Attorney

While guardianship and adoption are similar, they confer significantly different rights and responsibilities upon either guardians or adoptive parents. In addition, the legal procedures and consequences of the two are vastly different, so it is important to fully consider all of your options.

A lawyer familiar with Arizona adoption and guardian law will be able to walk you through the process and help you determine whether pursuing a guardianship or adoption is appropriate in your case.

In addition, should you already bye the guardian or adoptive parent of a child, a lawyer can be of great assistance in ensuring that your legal relationship reflects your wishes with regard to issues such as benefits, the inheritance of property, or the ability to make important decisions regarding healthcare.

To Learn More About Arizona Adoption and Guardianship, Contact Stuart & Blackwell Today

Choosing to bring a child into your family through either adoption or guardianship is an enriching and rewarding experience, but it’s also a complex process. At Stuart & Blackwell, we work closely with our clients and take the time to fully understand their circumstances and goals. We have a thorough understanding of Arizona adoption law, ensuring we can resolve our clients’ issues quickly, efficiently, and favorably.

Allow the experienced adoption attorneys at Stuart & Blackwell to answer your questions and to knowledgeably guide you on the path toward welcoming a new child into your life. We’re here to help, so schedule your free consultation today by calling 480-420-2900.

Varying Degrees Of Openness In Arizona Adoptions

Posted by on Jan 15, 2018 in Adoption | 0 comments

Varying Degrees Of Openness In Arizona Adoptions

If you’re on an adoption journey, you know how exciting that is. Adding a new baby to your family is one of life’s most rewarding experiences.

Many couples who are new to adoption are leery of open adoption, but open adoptions come in all shapes and sizes, and there’s sure to be an option that works for your family.

An experienced Arizona adoption attorney can help you better understand open adoptions and their varying degrees of openness.

Openness In Adoption

The level of openness in an adoption relates to the amount of contact that the birth parents or parent and the adoptive parents (and thus the adoptive child) maintain. The amount of contact can vary from adoption to adoption and can even vary within the same adoption – over time.

The level of communication between the two parties can range significantly:

• The two families may have little or no contact;
• The two families may engage in contact that’s mediated through a third party;
• The two families may share occasional information through anonymous email accounts, the adoption agency, or a post office box;
• The two families may engage in ongoing open communication (sharing identifying information) via phone calls, texts, and/or social media; or
• The two families may even engage in occasional scheduled meetings, such as birthday or holiday visits (when both parties agree).

Open Adoption

Almost all domestic infant adoptions in the United States are open to some degree. In most such adoptions, the birth mother (or parents) meet with prospective adoptive parents – and can even choose their infant’s adoptive parents.

In many of these adoptions, some degree of openness remains after the adoption is finalized. Determining the level of openness that both parties feel comfortable with is a critical factor in making healthy adoption matches.

Due to the personal experiences of adult adoptees and to emerging mental health research, open adoption has evolved over the past several decades. In fact, research and personal stories suggest that more-open adoptions are better for everyone – the adoptive child, the birth parents, and the adoptive parents.

Adoptive Parent Anxiety

Many couples in the process of adopting are fearful of open adoptions. Better understanding how open adoptions work, however, can help you allay your fears and help you embrace what open adoption has to offer you, your adoptive child, and the birth parents.

If You’re Considering Adoption, Contact Stuart & Blackwell Today

The decision to embark on an adoption journey is one of the most exciting and rewarding decisions you’ll ever make. Many couples, however, fear the unknown element of an open adoption.

At Stuart & Blackwell, we understand your trepidation, and we’re here to help you overcome your fears. Open adoptions come in varying degrees, and once you find the level of openness that you’re comfortable with, you’ll be that much closer to finding your adoption match.

The experienced adoption attorneys at Stuart & Blackwell are here to help, so please contact us to schedule your free consultation by calling (480) 420 2900 today.

Answers For The Birth-Mother-To-Be In Arizona Adoptions

Posted by on Jan 1, 2018 in Adoption | 0 comments

Answers For The Birth-Mother-To-Be In Arizona Adoptions

If you’re a birth-mother-to-be who’s planning on placing your newborn for adoption, you’re certain to be going through a very emotional experience. If you’re not sure about your decision, it can be more emotional still.

Experienced Arizona adoption attorneys, however, have the compassion and commitment to help you determine what’s best for you and your child and to help you calmly navigate through the process– if you do determine that adoption’s right for you.

At Stuart & Blackwell, we represent the rights of birth mothers and do everything we can to ensure that their experience goes as smoothly as possible.

As our client, all of our communication will be confidential, and if necessary we will put you in contact with free adoption counselors.

Your Rights As A Parent

Your rights as a parent in the United States are nearly unbreakable. If you’re grappling with the very difficult decision of consenting to place your child with another family, it’s important to remember that it’s entirely your decision (in nearly every situation).

A skilled adoption attorney can help you carefully consider your options and come to the decisions that are right for you. There are also, however, answers to some commonly asked questions that may help you feel more comfortable with the process:

Can I Choose My Child’s Adoptive Parents?

In private adoptions, you – as the birth mother – can choose the adoptive parents for your child. The adoption agency you’re working with will guide you through the necessary steps. Being able to choose adoptive parents whom you feel comfortable with can help make a difficult decision less difficult.

I’m Under 18; Do My Parents Need To Sign Off On My Decision To Place My Child In Adoption?

If you’re a minor, it’s unlikely that you’ll have to get your parents’ permission to place your newborn for adoption. Every adoption is unique, however, and a knowledgeable adoption attorney will help you better understand your specific situation.

What If I Change My Mind After I Sign The Necessary Paperwork?

Once you’ve determined that you’re prepared to go through with the adoption and have signed the consent, it can be extremely difficult to reverse. Only in very limited circumstances, such as if your consent was obtained via fraud, will you be able to revoke your consent.

Talk to your adoption attorney, and make sure that you’re comfortable with your decision to place your child for adoption.

What We Can Do To Help

Stuart & Blackwell is committed to helping birth mothers reach the decision that is right for them and offers and compassionate legal advice free from judgment.

If, after learning as much as you would like about the process, you chose to place your child for adoptions, there are many things that we can do to make the process as stress-free as possible.

Some of the services we offer birth mothers include the following:

• Financial assistance with housing, living expenses, and medical care
• Assistance choosing the adoptive family that matches your preferences
• A free evaluation of your specific needs
• Creation of an adoption plan that is tailored to meet your needs

When you meet with us, we will explain the adoption plan in detail and make sure that you are fully aware of every step in an Arizona adoption.

If You’re A Birth-Mother-To-Be Who’s Considering Adoption, Contact Stuart & Blackwell Today

Deciding to place your child for adoption is one of the most difficult decisions that you’ll ever have to make, but sometimes it’s the best decision. At Stuart & Blackwell, we have the experience, commitment, and compassion to help you determine if adoption is right for you and your child.

We focus our practice exclusively on Arizona adoption law and we are committed to providing effective and solution-oriented legal advice and representation to individuals who are considering placing their child for adoptions. and we’re here to help – so please call us for a free consultation at (480) 420 2900 today.

Arizona Adoption: 5 Special Ways To Find A Match

Posted by on Dec 15, 2017 in Adoption | 0 comments

Arizona Adoption: 5 Special Ways To Find A Match

Once a family has determined that adoption is right for them, they are no doubt in a rush to bring that new family member home. It’s important to keep in mind, however, that adoption is not a race but, instead, is a process that takes time.

Getting matched in an Arizona adoption can be a lengthy process, but it is, of course, worth the wait.

While the adoption match process can take a considerable amount of time, there are special questions to consider in advance about one’s abilities as a potential caregiver. In the quest to bring home a new family member, special situations can occur and families can provide for a child in need.

The following are just a few of the special situations and considerations that come into play when it comes to finding a match during the adoption process.

1. Babies With Prenatal Exposure To Alcohol Or Drugs

Babies with prenatal exposure often have a shorter wait period. Prenatal exposure to alcohol and drugs can lead to considerable physical and emotional hardships, but these infants need loving parents.

Every adoption, just like every child, is different. Adopters should carefully consider the risks they feel comfortable taking on, and determine whether they are a good candidate to adopt a baby with prenatal exposure.

2. Babies From Families With A History Of Mental Illness

When a baby’s birth parent(s) or extended family has a history of mental illness, that baby may need placement quickly. Mental illness can have devastating effects on a child and a family, and there are inherent risks.

Because many mental illnesses may have a genetic component, it’s important for adopters to carefully take stock of their capacity to effectively parent a child who could potentially be more prone to mental illness.

3. Children Of Another Race

Sadly, non-Caucasian babies and children are harder to place. Being open to bringing a child of another race into the family allows the family and that child to experience diversity and acceptance right from the start in their own home.

Take time to consider how to bring the history and culture of the child’s biological background into the adoptive family. Talking to other families who’ve made this choice is a good place to start. An experienced adoption attorney and adoption case worker are also great resources.

4. Offer Support For Mom Prenatally

Arizona allows for a birth mother’s expenses to be paid by the adoptive family. So a family who is willing and able to afford to cover a mother’s expenses from early in the pregnancy may be considered a better match.

5. Timing, Luck, & Word Of Mouth

As with much else in life, luck plays a role in adoptions. Being ready, willing, and able to adopt when a baby becomes available or a child is in need is sometimes just the luck needed.

Also know that the birth mothers in most U.S. domestic infant adoptions choose the adoptive parents, so it’s in your best interest to get out there and network – talk about the desire to adopt (someone might just know somebody.) This could lead to being the lucky parents who are matched next!

It is important for anyone considering adoption to remember that adoption is fundamentally a legal process through which the adopter (and their spouse if applicable) form a legal relationship with another human being that will last for years.

Arizona adoption law underpins every aspect of the process from start to finish, so it is extremely helpful to have the advice and guidance of an attorney familiar with Arizona adoptions.

At Stuart & Blackwell, we work closely with individuals and families looking to adopt and do everything we can to ensure that the process goes as smoothly as possible.

We are qualified to help determine whether any issues may arise when trying to adopt, whether an open or private adoption is the right choice for a situation, and whether there is anything that can be done to maximize your chances that an adoption will go off without a hitch.

In addition, should any legal arise during the process, our lawyers will zealously represent your interests in court and ensure that your case is brought to the most favorable resolution possible.

Contact Stuart & Blackwell Today

Choosing to adopt a child is likely the most gratifying decision you’ll ever make. While the adoption match process can be daunting, the experienced adoption attorneys at Stuart & Blackwell are here to help.

We have the compassion, knowledge, and dedication to help you get matched. At Stuart & Blackwell, we specialize in adoption law so call us for your free consultation at (480) 420 2900  today.

6 Tips For Single-Parent Adoptions In Arizona

Posted by on Dec 1, 2017 in Adoption | 0 comments

6 Tips For Single-Parent Adoptions In Arizona

Families make the world go around, but happy, loving families come in all varieties and sizes – and that sometimes means single-parent families. Do not be deterred if considering parenthood as a single person.

Arizona law allows any adult of any marital status to adopt a child – provided that certain conditions are met. While the world may seem to still prioritize the traditional family, single-parent Arizona adoptions are viable and worth pursuing.

In an Arizona adoption there are some tips to follow to help bolster single-parent adoption odds.

1. Prepare

When ready for the challenge of single parenting, one may face people with more traditional views who disagree. Prepare to face such disagreement in a calm but reasoned manner.

It is important to remember that the primary consideration of adoption authorities is the well-being of the child, so do everything possible to show the ability to providing a nurturing stable home environment that will allow a child to thrive.

2. Build Support Systems

Every parent – single or otherwise – needs a support system. Build support systems by sharing plans with family, friends, and loved ones. Raising happy, healthy kids truly takes a village.

Discuss plans to adopt with family members and find a way to have the support required to raise a child while continuing with existing obligations.

3. Consider Childcare Options

Most single parents are also working parents. Carefully consider childcare arrangements ahead of time. Being prepared, after all, is what parenting is all about.

If it’s feasible, talk to employers about plans and the options that may be available for adjusting schedules to maximize the time able to be spent with a new baby. In addition, make sure that finances can handle child care.

4. Research Different Types Of Adoption

Adopting as a single parent is nearly always a lengthy process, but researching the different types of adoption in Arizona – including open, closed, and foster-care adoptions – can improve the chance of shortening the wait.

An experienced adoption attorney can help determine the best adoption path and can help potential adopters do everything possible to prepare for the process.

5. Connect With Other Adoptive Single Parents

The adoption process can run very long, and this is often even more true for adoptive single parents. Connect with others who are walking the same path. Sharing the journey can help, and may also grow after-adoption support systems.

The internet is a great place to start, but also try to find in-person groups that can help teach more about adoption as a single parent and assist in the growth of child care support system.

6. Grow From The Experience

If facing disappointment such as being turned down by a birth mother or by another bump in the process, try to chalk it up to a learning experience and move on. Adoptions can be difficult and are almost always lengthy and unpredictable.

However once the momentous decision has been made to start a new family, the effort put into the process will not be regretted. Be resilient through the process!

These are just a few things that single people can do to prepare for adoption and maximize their chances of successfully becoming an adoptive parent.

The single most effective thing that can be done to make the process of adoption go as quickly, smoothly, and efficiently as possible is to retain an attorney from the outset.

Contact Stuart & Blackwell Today

Nothing can come close to the joy of starting a new family, but the adoption process is complicated and nearly always lengthy. If pursuing a single-parent adoption, the wait can be even longer.

Don’t let this fact get you down – the experienced adoption attorneys at Stuart & Blackwell are here to help. We have the compassion, skill, and commitment to help successfully maneuver the path toward a single-parent adoption.

At Stuart & Blackwell, we specialize in adoption law so call us at (480) 420 2900 today for your free consultation.

What It Takes To Adopt Successfully In Arizona

Posted by on Nov 15, 2017 in Adoption | 0 comments

What It Takes To Adopt Successfully In Arizona

When having made the choice to adopt, the thrill felt upon making the decision is often mixed with concern over facing a possibly long, legally complicated process. Don’t be scared. Adoption could be the most rewarding decision ever made, and it is well worth the journey.

After all, it culminates in the addition of a new member within a loving family. No two adoptions are alike, but most involve their share of uncertainty.

In the meantime, there are some ways to help successfully navigate through the adoption process with equanimity.

Get Organized

Adoption is a legal process, and the law necessitates paperwork – lots and lots of paperwork. Get and stay organized. Be diligent about getting paperwork and documents done correctly and timely, and keep copies of everything.

Instead of simply amassing this paperwork, however, keep documents neatly organized in easily accessible files so that, when something is needed, it is ready to go.

Keeping paperwork organized will facilitate getting through the home visit with confidence. The homework is done, so relax and consult an adoption attorney for guidance. He or she will know what paperwork and documentation to compile and will guide the process.

Be Courageous

Adoption is no time to be timid. With adoption comes uncertainty, which is stressful. However, after having bravely chosen to proceed with adoption, harness courage to get through.

Many who are new to adoption find that sharing their choice with other people can be difficult. Be prepared to get plenty of well-meaning but often unhelpful and unsolicited advice. Many people are ill informed about adoption. Have courage, heed an adoption attorney’s advice, and stay focused on adopting a child.

Be Patient With The Process

Adoption requires patience – with the process and all the parties involved. Once the momentous decision to add a child to the family has been made, it’s  naturally exciting, but good things sometimes take time.

An experienced adoption lawyer will help bring a better understanding of the legal process and will provide guidance through the steps to be taken. The timeline can be unpredictable. Focus on preparing the family for welcoming a new child into the home, and be patient with the process and with those involved.

Everyone experiences adoption-process ups and downs. Keep in mind that it is natural to have jitters. Remember that an experienced Arizona adoption attorney is always there with accurate information when questions or concerns arise.

Persist

Adoption is a journey, and it requires persistence. Congratualtions on taking the important first step of choosing adoption. Now utilize persistence and it will pay off. Keep at it.

Though the adoption process is rarely streamlined and straightforward, it is worth it. When an adoption attorney assigns tasks to anxious adopters, it is important to get them done in a timely fashion. Be accurate and efficient in the work, and keep moving forward. Adoption is all about the endgame, and by persisting – adopters will get there.

Gotta Have Faith

The adoption process can have twists and turns, can go long, and may cause moments of  doubt regarding the initial decision to adopt. Have faith in that decision. It was made out of love and commitment, after all, and it may well be the most rewarding decision ever made.

Put faith in the adoption process. When carefully adhered to, this process will guide parents toward their goal of welcoming a child into their life.

Arizona Adoption Information

Educating oneself about Arizona adoptions and talking to others who have gone through the process can help one better understand and handle pre-adoption jitters. Adopting a child will enrich life in ways yet unimaginable. Once there, all the hard work of preparation will become a distant memory.

Ready To Begin The Arizona Adoption Process? Contact Stuart & Blackwell Today!

Choosing to adopt is an important decision that sets the often-laborious adoption process in motion, but it’s also a decision that one will never regret. Adopting a child is likely the most gratifying choice ever made. The adoption process, however, can be daunting.

The experienced adoption attorneys at Stuart & Blackwell are here to help navigate the path toward adding a child to your family. We have the compassion, skill, and commitment to help smoothly make the way through the intricacies of the Arizona adoption process.

At Stuart & Blackwell, we specialize in adoption law and we’re here to help grow your family. Contact us at (480) 420 2900 for your free consultation today.

Arizona Adoptions: 4 Frequently Asked Questions

Posted by on Nov 1, 2017 in Adoption | 0 comments

Arizona Adoptions: 4 Frequently Asked Questions

Adoption is a rewarding journey, but many would-be adoptive parents simply are not sure where to start. There is a lot at stake when placing a child in a safe and loving home and the process can seem overwhelming.

Many people who are considering adoption face similar questions, and becoming better versed in the adoption process can help you confidently move forward with your quest to adopt.

1. How Much Does An Arizona Adoption Cost?

Depending on how you go about the process, the cost of an Arizona adoption can vary significantly. An experienced adoption lawyer can help you better understand this cost range and choose the path that is right for you.

If you are committed to adoption, don’t let the issue of expense stop you. Consult with a reputable adoption attorney who will help you find your way.

Generally, private adoptions are less expensive, and you will need a skilled Arizona adoption attorney to guide this process. Every private adoption is unique, and the timeline can be unpredictable.

Adopting through the foster care system can be a less expensive way to lovingly welcome a child into your lives. There are different paths for adopting through the foster system and not all require you to foster children before you adopt.

Adoptions incorporate a lot of moving parts, but a knowledgeable adoption attorney will help you find the adoption route that is right for you.

2. What About Open Adoptions?

Open adoptions are becoming more and more common and successful. In an open adoption, the birth parents are allowed some contact with the adoptive parents and the adopted child post placement. This contact can vary from limited written communications to regular visits.

Open adoptions are child focused in the sense that they allow the child to genuinely connect with both sets of parents – adoptive and birth. Open adoptions require a significant degree of trust on all sides, but the benefits can outweigh the extra emotional effort.

Your adoption lawyer will help you consider open adoption from every angle. The laws for open adoptions vary by state and your adoption attorney will help you understand the options available to your specific case.

3. Is The Paperwork Overwhelming?

Like any important legal matter, Arizona adoptions involve a significant amount of paperwork, which will differ according to the kind of adoption you are pursuing. You will need to be part of a home study, and you will need to ensure that all your documentation is in order.

An adoption attorney will be well versed in these practices and will help ensure that your paperwork and documentation are both accurate and representative of you as prospective adoptive-parents.

4. Is The Home Study Complicated?

While the idea of a home study instills fear in many, there is no reason to let it get to you. The purpose of the home study is to ensure that you are ready, willing, and able to provide a child with a safe and loving home, which of course, you are.

It also provides you with an opportunity to tell your story – who you are and how you came to choose adoption.

The home study consists of three major components:

⦁ Your Documentation
This includes all the pertinent official documents that attest to who you are as adoptive parents, including birth certificates, marriage licenses, financial statements, and physicians’ statements of health. You will also need to be able to certify that no adult living in your home is awaiting trial or has been convicted of a crime. State and federal record checks will be conducted.

⦁ Your Interview
The interview is foundational to the adoption proceedings, but it’s not something you need to worry about. The interview simply provides the social worker assigned to your adoption case an opportunity to get to know you as prospective adoptive parents. It’s not so much a test as an opportunity to share your story and your adoption journey.

⦁ Your Home Inspection
The social worker’s goal in the home inspection is to ensure that your home is both a safe and welcoming environment for a child. The social worker will check for potential dangers that may need to be addressed before adoption can proceed.

Adoption is naturally steeped in emotion. You are, after all, bringing a new cherished member into your family. While the process can seem daunting, do not let it scare you. Adoption could be the most rewarding choice you will ever make. An experienced Arizona adoption attorney can help you get there.

If You Are Thinking Adoption, Contact Stuart & Blackwell Today

At Stuart & Blackwell, we understand just how stressful the adoption process can be. We’re here to help you find the path to adoption that’s right for you. Every adoption is as unique as the adoptive parents themselves, but the journey doesn’t have to be harrowing.

We specialize in Arizona adoption law, and we have the experience, knowledge, and compassion to help you welcome your child into your loving home. Contact us at (480) 420 2900 today for your free consultation.

Your Arizona Adoption Home Study

Posted by on Oct 15, 2017 in Adoption | 0 comments

Your Arizona Adoption Home Study

The process of adoption can obviously be a very exciting time for your family – after all, you’re bringing a new child into your loving home.

Adoption, however, can also be fraught with some emotional upsets – and one of these is the dreaded home visit. Don’t fret too much about the home visit. You’re ready to adopt, and there is a child out there who’s ready to accept your unconditional love – much of the rest is just legal details.

An experienced Arizona adoption attorney will help you navigate the process and bring your child safely home.

Home Study: The Overview

It’s natural to be nervous when you’re faced with a study that can have such a tremendous impact on your future. The home study isn’t as scary as all that, however. It’s merely a research report that encapsulates your familial life and your living environment.

The home study simply gathers important information to ensure that you are well prepared to add another member to your family.

Home Study: The Process

The Arizona home study is completed by an authorized division or agency, and it includes you (the prospective adoptive parents – or parent) and any other adults who live in your household.

The home study is comprised of three primary components:

  • Documentation

Adoption applicants must submit important official documents that include birth certificates, marriage certificates, financial statements, and physician’s statements of health. Further, all adult members of your household must certify whether they’re awaiting trial or have ever been convicted of a crime. State and federal criminal record checks will also be implemented.

  • Interview

The interview fills many applicants with trepidation, but this element of the procedure –though fundamental to the proceedings – simply allows the social worker to connect with you as prospective adoptive-parents. Don’t think of it as a test so much as a chance to share biographical information, including family dynamics, values, traditions, and hobbies. You’ll also be given the opportunity to share your reason for embracing adoption and your understanding of what it means to adopt.

  • Home Inspection

The social worker will also visit your home to ensure that it is a safe and appropriate environment for raising a child – checking for potential safety hazards that may need to be addressed before a placement can be made.

Your Story

While the prospect of a home study can seem somewhat clinical, there are important aspects of this study that focus on your story.

One of the primary purposes of the Arizona home study is to get to know you, and that’s where your autobiography comes in. You’ll be asked to write and share the story of your adoption journey.

This should begin with your life’s story, including your family, your childhood experiences, your familial relationships, and more. You’ll also include the story of your marriage, your path to adoption (including infertility issues if applicable), your career path, and other important factors that make you who you are.

Writing your autobiography provides you with the unique opportunity to share exactly how carefully you’ve considered adoption, how committed you are to the adoption process, and how ready you are to open your heart and home to a new family member.

Your Adoption Education

Adoption education is a critical element of every Arizona adoption, and your home study social worker will go over your adoption education experience with you. If you have questions or concerns, your social worker is a great resource.

The Arizona adoption process is all about placing children in happy, healthy homes with loving parents who are well prepared to care for them. Part of this process includes ensuring that prospective parents – like you – are well informed and prepared regarding what it means to be successful adoptive parents.

Your Home Study

Yes, your home study allows the State of Arizona to assess your suitability for becoming adoptive parents, but it also provides you with the opportunity to become more comfortable with the process and to prepare for one of the most rewarding endeavors you’ll ever experience.

Once your home study is complete, the social worker in charge of you case will create a report that demonstrates your preparedness for becoming adoptive parents.

If You Are Considering an Arizona Adoption, Contact Stuart & Blackwell Today

At Stuart & Blackwell, we understand that the adoption process can be stressful and that the home study is one of the most nerve wracking elements, but we’re here to help you navigate this unknown terrain.

Every adoption journey is unique, but our mission is to help you remain as comfortable as possible throughout. We specialize in Arizona adoption law, and we have the experience, skill, and compassion to help you fulfill your adoption dreams and welcome your new family member into your loving home. Call us at (480) 420 2900 today for your free consultation.

Arizona Adoption and Grandparent Rights

Posted by on Oct 1, 2017 in Adoption | 0 comments

Arizona Adoption and Grandparent Rights

Grandparents play a vital role in their grandchildren’s lives. In fact, grandparents often pinch-hit in the ongoing care and comfort of their grandchildren. In Arizona, however, grandparents have limited rights when it comes to adopting or obtaining legal visitation or custody of their grandchildren.

If you’re seriously concerned about your grandchildren’s welfare or safety, consult with an experienced Arizona adoption attorney today. The matter of your grandchildren’s well-being is too serious not to take immediate action.

Grandparents’ Rights in Arizona Adoptions

In Arizona, grandparents will typically first seek temporary custody of their grandchildren. If another party adopts your grandchildren in the meantime, however, your rights may be permanently terminated.

Under Arizona law, once children are placed for adoption (except for step-parent adoption) – all rights to visitation are terminated. In fact, you – as grandparents with the current right to visitation – may not even be notified that your grandchildren are involved in a pending adoption.

Arizona Requirements for Grandparent Adoptions

To adopt your grandchildren, you must meet specific legal requirements.

The first step is usually for you to seek temporary custody of your grandchildren, which may be allowed if you can demonstrate that your grandchildren’s well-being is deterred by remaining in parental custody and that you – as grandparents – provide much of their care.

In order to obtain legal or physical custody of your grandchildren you must also be able to prove that one of several additional conditions applies:

  • Your grandchildren’s parents were never married;
  • Your grandchildren’s parents are currently divorcing or separating; or
  • One of your grandchildren’s parents is deceased.

Ultimately, the Arizona court will predicate its decision on what’s in the best interests of your grandchildren. Because parents are presumed to be their children’s best caretakers, grandparents hoping to adopt must be able to succinctly prove that their grandchildren’s well-being will be jeopardized if they remain in parental custody.

Being able to adopt your grandchildren will also entail you terminating the parental rights of both the Mother and the Father. Again, this can be a complicated and lengthy process.

In the Shoes of the Parents

Arizona law ultimately provides that grandparents who have stood in the shoes of the children’s parents may be entitled to obtain custody of their grandchildren (when the situation warrants such action).

This legal concept is known as in loco parentis, and it means that an individual has acted as a child’s parent, been treated – by the child – like the child’s parent, and has formed a meaningful parental relationship – for a significant amount of time – with the child.

When you walk in the shoes of your grandchildren’s parents, you act as their parents and you demonstrate your ability to do so effectively.

Obtaining Custody of Your Grandchildren

To obtain custody of your grandchildren, several pivotal elements must be determined to be true:

  • You must stand in loco parentis of the children (as described above).
  • It would be significantly detrimental for the children to remain in custody of (or to be placed in custody of) either of their living parents who wish to obtain custody of them.
  • During the year prior to filing your custody petition, the court neither entered nor approved an order regarding your grandchildren’s custody – unless the court has reason to believe that the children’s present living environment could seriously endanger their physical, mental, moral, or emotional health.

Arizona grandparent adoptions are often fraught with legal complications, but if you believe that your grandchildren’s well-being is in jeopardy, act now.

What’s Best for the Grandkids

If you’re grandparents who are interested in pursuing your right to either adopt or get legal and physical custody of your grandchildren, you’re probably familiar with just how complicated and tenuous this legal process can be.

If you believe your grandchildren’s health, safety, or well-being are at risk, do not hesitate to immediately contact an experienced Arizona adoption attorney. While your rights as grandparents are limited, it’s never too early to involve yourselves in the legal process of adopting vulnerable grandchildren.

If Committed to Adopting Your Grandchildren, Contact Stuart & Blackwell Today

Adoption is a beautiful choice, and adopting your own grandchildren is the most natural choice of all.

While such adoptions aren’t without their challenges, an experienced Arizona adoption attorney can help you navigate toward your goal of permanently and legally welcoming your grandchildren into your loving home.

At Stuart & Blackwell, we understand just how effortless and how difficult grandparent adoptions can be. Nevertheless, we also appreciate how significant your commitment to your grandchildren’s healthy and happy upbringing is.

At Stuart & Blackwell, adoption law is our specialty and we’re here to help you with one of life’s most rewarding journeys – grandparent adoption. Please contact us or call our office at (480) 420 2900 today for your free consultation.

Special Challenges of Relative Adoption in Arizona

Posted by on Sep 15, 2017 in Adoption | 0 comments

Special Challenges of Relative Adoption in Arizona

Relative (or “kinship) adoptions are adoptions in which adults adopt children whom they’re related to (or who are close to their families). Kinship adoption can be a very effective means of lovingly including a child – who unexpectedly needs parental care – in an extended family.

Because an important bond exists with this child, the adoption process can often proceed more smoothly than adoptions where there is not a preexisting relationship.

This is not to say, however, that kinship adoptions cannot be challenging. In any adoption, the most prudent course of action is to consult with an attorney prior to starting the process in order to recognize and avoid any issues that may arise in the future.

Kinship Care

Kinship care refers to the full time nurturing of children by their own relatives – members of their tribe or clan, grandparents, aunts or uncles, godparents, stepparents, siblings, or other people with whom these children maintain close relationships. In fact, the term kinship in this context is meant to include a variety of cultural values and relational ties.

It indicates that there is a bond of kinship between the child or children and the adults with whom they’re entrusted to receive necessary care and protection. Kinship care and kinship adoption are designed to allow children to grow up within a familiar, loving environment.

Relative Adoption’s Special Challenges

Relative adoptions are a great option in many situations and can provide children with an authentic ready-made family, but there are also difficulties associated with this parental transition.

Relative adoptions are on the rise, and as their numbers grow, their special challenges continue to come under scrutiny. There are several common challenges that are worth considering.

Because relative adoptions occur within families, there is a tendency to forego pre-adoption education. When family members adopt, they often bypass this preliminary step.

It’s important, however, not to forget that the child in question is no doubt traumatized by the precipitating incident that’s left him or her an orphan. In fact, some of the highest adoption-dissolution rates occur with kinship adoptions.

Most adoptions involve couples who are actively seeking children, but kinship adoptions are usually prompted by unexpected event(s). Many people involved in kinship adoptions sidestep adoption-support services, but they often have heightened needs for such services.

Typical adoptions include plenty of financial and emotional planning and preparation. Relative adoptions, on the other hand, are often dropped unexpectedly into preexisting families, and they can be especially difficult to navigate in these regards.

How an Arizona Adoption Attorney Can Help Relative Adoptions

If you are considering adopting a close family member and everyone is “on board” with the arrangement, you may be wondering why you would need to hire an attorney to help you.

It is important to remember that adoption is one of the biggest decisions that you can make in your lifetime, and will affect you and your adopted child for years to come. As a result, it is important to make sure that your adoption is legally valid and that you avoid any issues that could arise.

Here are some of the specific ways that a lawyer can help you and your family if you are considering or pursuing a relative adoption:

  • Determine whether relative adoption is appropriate in your situation
  • Explain the adoption process to everyone involved and walk you through the steps
  • Help you with the adoption application and any other paperwork that is necessary in your case
  • Represent you in court should any issues or disputes arise during the adoption process

If You Are Considering an Arizona Relative Adoption, Contact Stuart & Blackwell Today

Adoption is a beautiful choice, and a kinship adoption can be the most natural choice of all. Kinship adoptions, however, are not without their challenges.

An experienced adoption attorney can help you navigate these challenges as you welcome your new family member with open arms. At Stuart & Blackwell, we understand just how effortless and how difficult kinship adoptions can be.

We appreciate the magnitude of your decision to adopt a family member and our mission is to compassionately guide you toward its successful completion.

At Stuart & Blackwell, we focus our practice on adoption and we’re here to help you with one of life’s most rewarding journeys. Contact us or call our office today at (480) 420 2900 for a free consultation.

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