An unmarried person may want to adopt a child for various reasons. As a single person, the question is: Can an unmarried person adopt children in Arizona?
The short answer: Yes! The marital status of a person does not prohibit someone from adopting a child because—in Arizona—any adult resident can adopt, regardless of whether they are single, separated, or married.
More specifically, this means you can be any kind of “single,” whether this means that you are in an (unmarried) relationship with another person, or you are thinking of raising a child by yourself. Either way, you can adopt.
Is the process different?
Generally, just as for married people, adoption can be conducted through a direct placement adoption or through private adoption agencies in Arizona for those who are not married at the time of adoption.
However, there is one small difference regarding being single but looking to adopt as an unmarried couple.
While this is permitted, there is a little bit of nuance to it. When married couples adopt a child, the child becomes the child of both parents. When an individual adopts a child, it becomes that individual’s child. But, when an unmarried couple adopts a child, one individual in the couple is the adoptive parent, because in Arizona unmarried couples cannot adopt together as one unit.
So in other words, while any adult can adopt, the situation is a bit different for unmarried versus married couples, because unmarried couples are not allowed to adopt a child jointly.
In addition, this can have important implications regarding child custody if you and the person you are with at the time of adoption, but are not married to, end up splitting up.
What does the law look into, if not the marital status?
Instead of concentrating on the marital status of the parent—which could limit great parents from adopting—the law instead focuses on the needs of the child. Whether married or unmarried, the child’s physical and mental health needs are centered as being the most important consideration.
However, the qualification criteria can include looking at the stability of the home, which can mean the marital status and length of a marriage. The other considerations that look to the child’s welfare include the financial ability of the adoptive parent to care for the child, an established relationship between the child and the parent, and the prospect of placing the child with siblings.
Certification and home study
Whether you are married or unmarried, you will still need to be certified by the Department of Child Safety in order to ensure the placement is best for the child.
This rule does not apply if you are a close relative, a step parent, or a licensed foster parent of the child and you wish to adopt him or her. If the rule applies to you, then you must be certified to adopt before you submit an adoption petition.
You will also need to do an adoption certification study, which is conducted by an individual from the court, adoption agency, or agency contracted with the Arizona Department of Economic Security and is designed to assess whether you and your home is suited to adopting a child.
This will include performing a complete social history, the applicant’s moral fitness, the applicant’s religious background, and any court actions against the applicant related to child abuse and other maltreatment of children.
Contact Stuart & Blackwell today!
Here at Stuart & Blackwell, we have seen a variety of family situations and believe that everyone should be able to build a family. Adoption can be a hard process to navigate alone or in a couple, one that takes energy, resources, and time. In providing legal counsel, we take this all into account in crafting our services to fit your precise situation, to make sure you get the best service possible as you go through the ups and downs of building the family you have always wanted. We will be with you every step of the way to provide legal counsel on all of the small legal details that might pop up.
Please contact us today to assist you with any and all legal issues around family law in Arizona. We are here to help. Contact us at (480) 420 2900 today for your free consultation.