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What It Takes To Adopt Successfully

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

What It Takes To Adopt Successfully

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 480-409-3630 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) 409-3630 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 480-409-3630 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 480-409-3630 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 480-409-3630 for a free consultation.

Important Adoption Requirements In Arizona

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

Important Adoption Requirements In Arizona

Choosing to bring a new baby into the family is a momentous decision that’s sure to bring great happiness, and choosing to adopt can be one of the most rewarding decisions one could ever make.

Adoption varies somewhat from state to state, and while any adult resident of Arizona is technically qualified to adopt a child, it’s not that simple. The Arizona adoption process is lengthy, and there are many requirements that adoptive parents must meet before they can qualify to adopt a child.

An Arizona adoption attorney can help with this sometimes-arduous process while ensuring the best possible chances of adopting successfully.

Arizona Adoption Laws

Arizona’s adoption laws require that prospective parents first be certified by the court.

Certification requires that the parents file a detailed application with the court that includes an in-depth financial statement as well as a physician’s statement that details their physical health. Further, the certification process requires that parents attend adoption orientation and training classes.

Fitness to Adopt

The courts take Arizona adoptions seriously – the parents will be thoroughly investigated by either the court or an adoption agency. In consideration of whether a couple is fit to adopt, the court takes several factors into consideration:

  • A complete social history;
  • Financial status and stability;
  • Moral fitness;
  • Religious background;
  • Physical and mental health;
  • Any court actions against you regarding either child abuse or child abandonment;
  • The ability (including the ability of every adult member of a household) to successfully pass a fingerprint-based record check for criminal history; and
  • Any other factors pertaining to one’s fitness as adoptive parents that the court, agency, or division deems relevant to the adoption.

Arizona Adoption Process

The Arizona adoption process can be long and arduous, and the consequences are too important to leave to chance. After all, this is about bringing a new child into your family. Don’t try to navigate the process on your own; you need a skilled legal advocate. Experienced adoption attorneys have the knowledge, skill, and dedication to guide you on the path toward successfully expanding your family.

The Benefits of Adoption with an Experienced Lawyer

The decision to add a member to the family is a significant one. Once someone has made the decision to adopt a child, it is only natural that they would like the process to go as smoothly as possible and not cause months or even years of emotional stress. While adoption is an complicated process in Arizona that affects the rights of several parties, it does not have to be a difficult one. There are many ways in which an experienced adoption attorney can help to ensure that the process moves along as quickly and efficiently as it possible can. Some of the specific ways in which a lawyer can help individuals and families who are looking to adopt include the following:

  • Review the parents’ current circumstances and legal history in order to determine whether there may be any roadblocks to adoption
  • If there are, suggest actions to take to improve chances of being certified by the court
  • Help to determine whether public or private adoption is best
  • Assist in finding an agency that fits the parents’ specific needs
  • Fill out the required paperwork
  • Represent the parents’ in court should any serious issues arise

While there is no legal requirement to retain an attorney when adopting, it is important to keep in mind that should things go awry, it can stall an adoption for months or even years.

In extreme cases, issues during the process may result in an invalid adoption, which could be emotionally traumatic for everyone involved. For this reason, it is highly advisable for anyone considering adopting a child to speak to an attorney as soon as possible.

For Adoptions in Arizona, Contact Stuart & Blackwell Today

At Stuart & Blackwell, we understand how difficult and daunting the adoption process can be, but we also know how important the decision to adopt is to your family. We have the compassion and the commitment to help you smoothly navigate through the intricacies of the Arizona adoption process.

We make it our mission to keep you abreast of each step in the process and to ensure that you remain comfortable and confident throughout. At Stuart & Blackwell, adoption law is our specialty, and we’re here to help you with this most rewarding journey, adopting a child.

Contact or call us at 480-409-3630 for a free consultation today.

How Open Adoption Focuses On The Child

Posted by on Aug 18, 2017 in Adoption | 0 comments

How Open Adoption Focuses On The Child

The open adoption process keeps the focus on the adoptive child – the center of the relationship between both the birthparents and the adoptive parents.

Such adoptions demand that the involved parents share a significant level of trust. Open adoptions are uniquely focused on mutual respect and common love for the child involved. This process can allow both sets of parents to recognize, appreciate, and enjoy their own unique relationship with the child.

Benefits of Open Adoption

When both the birthparents and the adoptive parents join in support of the child, they provide that child with a healthy developmental foundation.

This teamwork approach allows children to piece their own identities together in a loving, supportive, and accepting environment. A healthy open adoption can allow both sets of parents to find peace within the adoption. Additionally, an open adoption has several distinct circumstantial advantages:

  • The adoptive family will know more about the birth parents, which can be helpful as the child matures;
  • The adoptive parents can share information more openly with the child, which can lead to a healthier, more open relationship; and
  • The child can forge a relationship with his or her birthparents later in life, which can be enriching for both the birthparents and the child.

Open Adoption: Paving the Way

Adoptions are often fraught with emotion as a new child is into a family. Naturally, everyone involved will want the process to go as smoothly as possible. An open adoption is a lofty goal, but there are things that can be done to better one’s chances of successfully achieving that goal.

Arizona has not implemented a standardized definition for open adoption, but the state does allow the involved parents to draw up a legally-binding contract that paves the way for both sets of parents to communicate within the adoption. Experienced legal counsel is crucial to getting this contract right and to forging a smooth open adoption.

Open Adoption – Be Yourself

If you are interested in pursuing an open adoption, you’re probably nervous about the process and about whether the birthparents will be drawn to you. The best advice is to be yourself. Relationships are strongest when they’re genuine and when they’re based on truth, integrity, and transparency. If you’re worried about something, express that fear. Share your feelings, thoughts, concerns, and observations and allow the connection between you and the birthparents to grow naturally. By so doing, you improve your odds of forging a strong and healthy relationship with the birthparents in the open adoption.

Considering an Open Adoption in Arizona? Contact Stuart & Blackwell Today

Open adoption is becoming more and more popular, and it can be a great option. At Stuart & Blackwell, we understand how important the adoption process is to you and your growing family, and we are here to help. We are invested in ensuring that your adoption journey goes as smoothly as possible. We specialize in adoption law, and we have the experience and the commitment to help you with your open adoption. Contact us online or call us at 480-409-3630 for a free consultation today.

Stepparent Adoptions in Arizona

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

Stepparent Adoptions in Arizona

Adoption is an exciting time in any parent’s life, and stepparent adoptions are one of the most common forms of adoption in the United States. When people remarry, they often already have children whom they bring together as members of a new larger family.

As family bonds grow and strengthen, many stepparents are drawn toward fostering stronger familial bonds by adopting the stepchildren they’ve come to love. Arizona adoptions comprise a complicated legal process that follows a prescribed course.

The Benefits of Stepparent Adoption

Many people who have married a person with children from another relationship live as a family and often wonder why they should devote the time and effort associated with adopting a stepchild. There are various benefits of adopting a stepchild, including the following:

  • Adopting a child expresses a long-term commitment to the relationship, often fostering a strong family bond for everyone involved
  • Adopting a stepchild allows the adoptive parent to make important decisions regarding the child’s life, including those that involve religion, education, and medical care.
  • Adopting a stepchild gives the stepparent parental rights in the event that their partner becomes incapacitated or the spouses later seek to divorce or separate.

The Acquisition of Consent to Adopt

To begin the adoption process, both biological parents of the stepchild must consent to the adoption. This means that the parent whom the stepparent is not married to must relinquish his or her parental rights and fill out and sign a Consent to Adopt form.

Typically, parents who are actively and healthily involved in their children’s lives will not relinquish their parental rights. Sometimes, however, the child’s other parent isn’t involved or willing to sign a Consent for Adoption. An attorney will know the proper way to pursue getting a Consent signed.

Petition for Termination

If the child’s other parent does not consent, an adoption attorney may file a Petition for Termination of parental rights. This could be appropriate if the other parent has a chronic drug problem, sexually abused, severely or chronically physically abused, psychologically abused, or abandoned the child.

Arizona has definitive statutes that will guide a stepparent’s eligibility in this endeavor, and the attorney will evaluate the suitability of the adoption situation before filing this petition.

Petition to Adopt

An attorney will guide the adoptive parent through filing out the Petition to Adopt form. If the stepparent and the child’s parent have been married for at least a year, and both biological parents have granted their permission, the adoption attorney may be able to move the adoption forward quickly.

The Complicated Adoption Process

Adopting a stepchild is undoubtedly very important – adopting a child is a formal strengthening familial bonds, after all. The adoption process, however, is complicated and is best left in the capable hands of a skilled Arizona adoption attorney who’s experienced in guiding stepparent adoptions.

Becoming a stepchild’s adoptive parent is extremely meaningful for all those involved, and so it is important for the process to go as smoothly as possible.

Do I Need an Attorney to Adopt My Stepchild?

Many people who are considering adopting their stepchild wonder whether they need the assistance of an attorney in order to do so. While there is certainly no law that requires prospective adoptive parents to enlist the assistance of a lawyer, it is generally a good idea to do so.

Adoption is a legally complicated process, and there are many ways that people unfamiliar with the process can delay or even derail it completely. When retaining an Arizona adoption lawyer, he or she will thoroughly explain the adoption process so that everyone knows exactly what to expect along every step of the way.

In addition, if there are any issues that have the potential to affect whether the stepparent is able to be certified to adopt, a lawyer will recognize them immediately and help to take steps to maximize the chances that the adoption goes as smoothly as possible.

Call Stuart & Blackwell Today

If you’re ready to adopt your stepchild, it’s an exciting and hopeful time for you and your family. Adoptions, however, are legally complicated, and you need a skilled Arizona adoption lawyer. At Stuart & Blackwell, we’re here to knowledgeably guide you through the process.

We have the experience and the dedication to help you successfully adopt your stepchild. Give us a call at 480-409-3630 for a free consultation or contact us online today.

How To Terminate Parental Rights In Arizona

Posted by on Jul 17, 2017 in Adoption | 0 comments

How To Terminate Parental Rights In Arizona

Adoption is a beautiful choice for growing a family, and there are few endeavors that are as rewarding or fulfilling when successfully accomplished. When the choice to adopt is made, however, there are some important legal considerations that need to be addressed, including the termination of parental rights for the child’s birth parents.

This can be a complicated issue that is crucial to the adoption process and that necessitates experienced legal guidance. If rights are not properly terminated, it can result in the reversal of an adoption, which could be traumatic for everyone involved.

As a result, anyone considering adoption should speak to an attorney prior to starting the adoption process to ensure that their legal rights are protected.

 

Termination of Parental Rights in Arizona

 

To proceed with an adoption in Arizona, the birth parents’ parental rights toward the child must first be terminated, either by consent or via a court order.

This process may be either voluntary or involuntary, and Arizona law requires that in order to terminate parental rights, it must first be determined that statutory grounds for termination exist and that termination is in the child’s best interests.

The grounds for the termination of parental rights in Arizona are as follows:

  • The child was abandoned by the parent;
  • The child was neglected or willfully abused by the parent (or knowingly placed in a situation in which the child could be neglected or willfully abused);
  • The child’s parent is unable to fulfill parental responsibilities due to mental illness or chronic abuse of dangerous drugs and/or alcohol;
  • The child’s parent has been convicted of a felony of such nature or of such duration of incarceration that it precludes fit parenting;
  • The child’s putative father failed to file the requisite Paternity Action and/or Notice of Claim of Paternity within the prescribed time limitations (more than one potential paternity further complicates the process);
  • A named potential father failed to file a claim of paternity within 30 days of being served with an Arizona Potential Father’s Notice
    • The child’s parents have relinquished their rights to an adoption agency or have consented to the adoption
    • The child is being cared for by a licensed child welfare agency that has diligently attempted to provide the appropriate family reunification services and certain other circumstances exist
  • The child’s parent is unknown after three months of diligent identification efforts; and
  • The child’s parent had parental rights for another child terminated for the same cause within the preceding two years and is currently unable to discharge his or her parental responsibilities because of that cause
  • The child was cared for in an out-of-home placement pursuant to a court order, the agency responsible for the care of the child made diligent efforts to provide appropriate reunification services, the child was return to the parent, and the child is removed from the home again within 18 months

 

If There Is A Legal Issue Related To The Termination Of Parental Rights, Get An Attorney

 

Legal issues related to the termination of parental rights are often extremely contested and can take months or even years to resolve. In addition, considering what is at stake, it is extremely important that anyone involved in a case in which parental rights are at issue retain legal counsel as soon as possible.

Here are some of the ways an attorney can help, regardless of whether the goal is to preserve existing parental rights or petition the court to terminate them:

  • A lawyer will evaluate the case and determine the best course of action to pursue
  • If litigation is the best choice, a lawyer will gather evidence in support of the proposed position and present it to the court in a way to which the judge will be responsive
  • A lawyer can help to advise an individual regarding actions that could be taken while a case is pending that may help to obtain a favorable result
  • An attorney can help preserve issues for appeal and file appeal if the case is not resolved favorably

These are just some of the ways that a lawyer can help to resolve a termination of parental rights case, and the specific things that an attorney will do depend on individual circumstances.

 

If You Are Interested in an Arizona Adoption, Call Stuart & Blackwell Today

 

If you are considering an Arizona adoption, it’s an exciting time for you, but it can also be legally complicated. At Stuart & Blackwell, we’re here to guide you, and we have the experience and the dedication to help your adoption go smoothly.

Give us a call at 480-409-3630 for a free initial consultation.

Adoption: How To Find The Right Match In Arizona

Posted by on Jul 3, 2017 in Adoption | 0 comments

Adoption: How To Find The Right Match In Arizona

Once you’ve decided that adoption is right for you, it’s a very exciting time in your life. The waiting, however, can be especially daunting – and confusing.

When you’re counting the minutes to match while other prospective adoptive parents are moving ahead in the process, it can be frustrating and painful.

Don’t take it personally, however; some people do get lucky with timing, but it’s more likely that they’ve made sure they fit the match parameters that can speed things along.

If you are considering adoption, you should discuss your options with a lawyer. Even if you ultimately choose to pursue adoption without the assistance of an attorney, discussing the process with a lawyer will help determine whether adoption is right for you and give you a general idea about the adoption process in Arizona.

The Match Process

There are four specific ways that you can improve your chances of finding your match more quickly:

Specify Fewer Limitations

The fewer limitations that you place on your adoption match, the more likely you are to be placed with your match more quickly. This can include being open to adopting a child who’s been exposed to prenatal alcohol and drug abuse or to a child who has a history of mental illness in the family.

If you have fewer limitations you will be presented with more opportunities and you can then decide on a case by case basis.

Don’t Specify A Race Or Gender Preference

When you specify a preference for either race or gender, you delay the match process until that specific match can be made. Again, the more limitations, the longer the process is likely to take.

Be Prepared To Make A Significant Financial Outlay

It can be hard to reconcile money with adopting a child, but your financial resources do play a role in adoption.

When matching an expectant mother with an adoptive family (or parent), there are financial considerations to be assessed, including the cost of the adoption, the birth mother’s medical and additional expenses (did she have to leave school or her job while pregnant, for instance), and the cost of the agency’s adoption outreach to expectant mothers (if you choose to work with an agency).

Engage In Adoption Networking

While networking sounds more like a career move, it can also be important in the adoption process. Infant adoptions in the U.S. allow the expectant mother or the birth parents to choose the adoptive parent(s).

When you share your dreams of adopting with your network of friends, family, and acquaintances, you get the word out, which can lead to a speedier match.

Your family and friends are your best advocates and successful matches are made this way all the time. If you find a possible match through a friend or family member, then you can reach out to your attorney to help with the next steps.

Making The Match

It’s nearly impossible to say what attracts birth parents or expectant mothers to a specific match in the vital decision of who will parent their children. Some try to recreate their own childhoods, while others go in the opposite direction.

What’s important for you to focus on is that you shouldn’t take the match process personally but, instead, should share your decision to adopt and stay committed to the process. Your match is out there!

Remember, An Attorney Can Help Along Every Step Of The Way

Many people who are anxious to adopt make the mistake of attempting to navigate the confusing and often frustrating process of adopting a child on their own.

If you are trying to adopt, it is important to keep in mind that an attorney familiar with state adoption law and procedure can make the entire process go much more smoothly.

Some of the specific ways that an attorney can help prospective adoptive parents include the following:

  • Explain and simplify your options
  • Determine whether there are any legal issues that may arise during the adoption process and develop a plan to deal with them if and when they do
  • Help you prepare for the Arizona home study
  • Develop and implement an outreach plan
  • Discuss multiple ways for you to search for your match
  • Make sure that your adoption is in compliance with all relevant state and federal law
  • Assist you with any post-adoption legal issues that may arise

While it is completely legal and permissible to adopt without the assistance of an attorney, a lawyer who is familiar with the process will ensure that you are able to add a new member to your family as soon as possible and without any unnecessary delays.

It is always easier and less expensive to do it the right way from the beginning than to hire an attorney to clean up a mess after it’s been made. Anytime you represent yourself on a legal issue, the law holds you to the same standard as an attorney.

Mistake and ignorance are not permissible defenses. We’re here to help make sure your process is smooth, in compliance with the law and as easy for you as possible.

If You Are Considering Adopting in Arizona, Contact Stuart & Blackwell Today

At Stuart & Blackwell, we know how difficult waiting for an adoption match can be, and we are here to help. We make it our mission to ensure that you remain comfortable and confident throughout your adoption journey.

We specialize in adoption law, and we have the experience and the commitment to help you find your match – your child. Call us at 480-409-3630 today for a free initial consultation.

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