Blended families can be a wonderful thing. It is fantastic when a stepparent can provide an additional parental support role to a child who has undergone the separation of their parents. If you have decided to take the step of legally adopting your stepchildren as your own, here is a brief overview of the process you will have to go through in order to make it happen.
An expedited process for stepparents
The great news for you is that, in Arizona, adoption of a child is much easier for the child’s stepparents than it is for other prospective parents. This means that you will be able to go through a more streamlined process and avoid some of the tedious work that traditional adoptions entail.
The top priority of Arizona courts is the best interest of the child. This means that they tend to favor adoption by someone with an existing, close relationship with the child that will promote stability and a positive home environment for the child, such as a stepparent.
The forms you’ll need
You start the adoption process by filing a petition with the court. Once you file, the court will schedule all of the necessary hearings for you to attend.
You will, of course, need the consent of the child’s parent to whom you are married. If the child is at least 12 years old, you will need their consent as well.
If your stepchild’s other biological parent is still alive, you will have to seek their permission for the adoption. Depending upon their attitude, this might be the most difficult part of the process.
If you are fortunate, your stepchild’s parent will readily give you their signature. This will terminate their parental rights and clear the way for you to adopt uncontested. However, if they are unwilling to approve the adoption, then you might need to resolve the dispute through court proceedings to obtain a judicial termination.
The adoption process can be daunting, with many possible delays and snares. Once you get through it, however, you can celebrate with your new, legally recognized children.