Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Arizona Adoption Laws

Consent Laws
Who Must Consent to an Adoption
Citation: Rev. Stat. § 8-106(A), (C)
The court shall not grant an adoption of a child unless consent to adopt has been obtained and filed with the court from the following:
The birth or adoptive mother
The father, if he:
Was married to the mother at the time of conception
Is the adoptive father
Has otherwise established paternity
Any guardian of the child or agency that has been given the child to place for adoption
The guardian of an adult parent, if one has been appointed
Minority of the parent does not affect competency to consent.


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Age When Consent of Adoptee is Considered or Required
Citation: Rev. Stat. § 8-106(A)
A child age 12 or older must consent to the adoption in open court.

When Parental Consent is not Needed
Citation: Rev. Stat. § 8-106(B), (J)
It is not necessary for a person to obtain consent to adopt from the following:
An adult parent for whom a guardian is currently appointed
A parent whose parental rights have been terminated by court order
A parent who has previously consented to an agency's or the division's placement of the child for adoption
A potential father who fails to file a paternity action and who does not comply with all applicable service requirements within 30 days after completion of service of notice waives his right to be notified of any judicial hearing regarding the child's adoption or the termination of parental rights, and his consent to the adoption or termination is not required.

When Consent Can Be Executed
Citation: Rev. Stat. § 8-107(B)
Any consent given sooner than 72 hours after the birth of the child is invalid.

How Consent Must Be Executed
Citation: Rev. Stat. § 8-107(A)
All consents to adoption shall be in writing and signed by the person giving the consent and witnessed by 2 or more credible witnesses who are at least age 18 and who subscribe their names in the presence of the person giving the consent or shall be acknowledged by the person giving consent before a notary public.
The consent shall designate either of the following:
An agency or the division as authorized by the party giving the consent to place the child for adoption
The particular person or persons authorized to adopt the child by the person giving the consent
A consent other than to any agency or the division that does not designate a particular person or persons, or that purports to permit a third person to locate or nominate an adoptive parent, is invalid.

Revocation of Consent
Citation: Rev. Stat. § 8-106(D)
Consent is irrevocable unless obtained by fraud, duress, or undue influence.
Statutes
Citation: Arizona Revised Statutes, Chapter 1, Article 1, Sections 8-101 to 8-135; 8-141 to 8-145; 8-161 to 8-166; 8-171 to 8-173
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Arizona
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Web Site: http://www.azleg.state.az.us

Contact: Chief Clerk of the House
(602) 542-3032

Contact: State Senate Resource Center
(602) 542-3350

Fee: Yes

Fee: Yes
Consent Laws
Who Must Consent to an Adoption
Citation: Rev. Stat. § 8-106(A), (C)
The court shall not grant an adoption of a child unless consent to adopt has been obtained and filed with the court from the following:
The birth or adoptive mother
The father, if he:
Was married to the mother at the time of conception
Is the adoptive father
Has otherwise established paternity
Any guardian of the child or agency that has been given the child to place for adoption
The guardian of an adult parent, if one has been appointed
Minority of the parent does not affect competency to consent.


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Age When Consent of Adoptee is Considered or Required
Citation: Rev. Stat. § 8-106(A)
A child age 12 or older must consent to the adoption in open court.

When Parental Consent is not Needed
Citation: Rev. Stat. § 8-106(B), (J)
It is not necessary for a person to obtain consent to adopt from the following:
An adult parent for whom a guardian is currently appointed
A parent whose parental rights have been terminated by court order
A parent who has previously consented to an agency's or the division's placement of the child for adoption
A potential father who fails to file a paternity action and who does not comply with all applicable service requirements within 30 days after completion of service of notice waives his right to be notified of any judicial hearing regarding the child's adoption or the termination of parental rights, and his consent to the adoption or termination is not required.

When Consent Can Be Executed
Citation: Rev. Stat. § 8-107(B)
Any consent given sooner than 72 hours after the birth of the child is invalid.

How Consent Must Be Executed
Citation: Rev. Stat. § 8-107(A)
All consents to adoption shall be in writing and signed by the person giving the consent and witnessed by 2 or more credible witnesses who are at least age 18 and who subscribe their names in the presence of the person giving the consent or shall be acknowledged by the person giving consent before a notary public.
The consent shall designate either of the following:
An agency or the division as authorized by the party giving the consent to place the child for adoption
The particular person or persons authorized to adopt the child by the person giving the consent
A consent other than to any agency or the division that does not designate a particular person or persons, or that purports to permit a third person to locate or nominate an adoptive parent, is invalid.

Revocation of Consent
Citation: Rev. Stat. § 8-106(D)
Consent is irrevocable unless obtained by fraud, duress, or undue influence.
Who May Adopt
Citation: Rev. Stat. § 8-103
Any adult resident of the State, whether married, unmarried, or legally separated, is eligible to adopt. A husband and wife may jointly adopt.

Who May Be Adopted
Citation: Rev. Stat. § 8-102
The following persons may be adopted:
A child
A foreign-born person age 21 or less who is not an illegal alien
A person to be adopted must be present within the State at the time the petition is filed.

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Who May Place a Child for Adoption
Citation: Rev. Stat. §§ 8-106; 8-130
A child may be placed as follows:
The child’s parent may consent to a direct placement or an agency placement.
A licensed child-placing agency or the division may handle a direct placement or an agency placement.
A State licensed attorney may handle direct placements
Putative Fathers
Does State have a Putative Father Registry:
Yes

Putative father registry
Rev. Stat. § 8-106.01(A)-(B)

A person who is seeking paternity, who wants to receive notice of adoption proceedings, and who is the father or claims to be the father of a child shall file notice of a claim of paternity and of his willingness and intent to support the child to the best of his ability with the State Registrar of Vital Statistics in the Department of Health Services. The Department of Health Services shall provide forms for the purpose of filing the notice of a claim of paternity. Forms shall be made available in the Department of Health Services, the office of the clerk of the Board of Supervisors in each county, every hospital, every licensed child-placing agency, the Department of Economic Security, sheriff's offices, jails, prisons, State Department of Corrections facilities, and Department of Juvenile Corrections Facilities.
The Department of Health Services shall maintain a confidential registry for this purpose.

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Alternate means to establish paternity
Rev. Stat. § 25-812

This State or the parent of a child born out of wedlock may establish the paternity of a child by filing one of the following with the clerk of the superior court, the Department of Economic Security, or the Department of Health Services:
A notarized or witnessed statement that contains the Social Security numbers of both parents and that is signed by both parents acknowledging paternity or two separate substantially similar notarized or witnessed statements acknowledging paternity
An agreement by the parents to be bound by the results of genetic testing including any genetic test previously accepted by a court of competent jurisdiction, or any combination of genetic testing agreed to by the parties, and an affidavit from a certified laboratory that the tested father has not been excluded
On filing a document required above, the court shall issue an order establishing paternity, which may amend the name of the child or children, if requested by the parents. The clerk shall transmit a copy of the order to the Department of Health Services and the Department of Economic Security.
A voluntary acknowledgment of paternity may be filed with the Department of Economic Security, which shall provide a copy to the Department of Health Services. A voluntary acknowledgment of paternity made pursuant to this section is a determination of paternity and has the same force and effect as a superior court judgment.

Required Information
Rev. Stat. § 8-106.01(B)

The notice of a claim of paternity may be filed before the birth of the child but shall be filed within 30 days after the birth of the child. The notice of a claim of paternity shall be signed by the putative father and shall include his name and address, the name and last known address of the birth mother, and either the birth date of the child or the probable month and year of the expected birth of the child. The putative father who files a notice of a claim of paternity under this section shall notify the Registrar of Vital Statistics of any change of his address.

Revocation of claim to paternity
Rev. Stat. § 25-812

The mother or the father may rescind the acknowledgment of paternity within the earlier of:
60 days after the last signature is affixed to the notarized acknowledgment of paternity that is filed with the Department of Economic Security, the Department of Health Services, or the court
The date of a proceeding relating to the child, including a child support proceeding in which the mother or father is a party
A rescission must be in writing, and a copy of each rescission of paternity shall be filed with the Department of Economic Security. The Department of Economic Security shall mail a copy of the rescission of paternity to the other parent and to the Department of Health Services.
The mother, father, or child may challenge a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity established in this State at any time after the 60-day period only on the basis of fraud, duress, or material mistake of fact, with the burden of proof on the challenger and under which the legal responsibilities, including child support obligations of any signatory arising from the acknowledgment shall not be suspended during the challenge except for good cause shown. The court shall order the mother, her child or children, and the alleged father to submit to genetic testing. If the court finds by clear and convincing evidence that the genetic tests demonstrate that the established father is not the biological father of the child, the court shall vacate the determination of paternity and terminate the obligation of that party to pay ongoing child support.

Access to information
Rev. Stat. § 8-106.01(B)

The department shall only respond to written inquiries of the confidential registry that are received from the court, the division, a licensed adoption agency, or a licensed attorney participating or assisting in a direct placement adoption.

Birth Parent Expenses Allowed
Citation: Rev. Stat. § 8-114(A)-(B)

The court may approve any monies paid to a parent of a child placed for adoption or another person for the benefit of the parent or adopted child for reasonable and necessary expenses incurred in connection with the adoption. These expenses may include costs for medical and hospital care and examinations for the mother and child, counseling fees, legal fees, agency fees, living expenses, and any other costs the court finds reasonable and necessary.
A person who wishes to pay the living expenses of a birth parent that exceed $1,000 shall file a motion with the court to permit that payment. A maximum of $1,000 may be advanced for birth parent living expenses without a motion.
In determining what living expenses are reasonable and necessary, the court shall consider, but not be limited to, the following factors:
The current standard of living of the birth parent
The standard of living necessary to preserve the health and welfare of the birth parent and the unborn child
The existence of alternative financial resources for the birth parent


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Birth Parent Expenses Not Allowed
Citation: Rev. Stat. § 8-114(G)
Expenses that the court finds to be unauthorized or unreasonable are not allowed.

Allowable Payments for Arranging Adoption
Citation: Rev. Stat. § 8-114(D)
An attorney may be paid for services in connection with an adoption but only in such amounts as the court approves as reasonable and necessary.

Allowable Payments for Relinquishing Child
Citation: Rev. Stat. § 8-114(C)
Except as provided, a person shall not be directly or indirectly compensated for giving or obtaining consent to place a child for adoption.

Allowable Fees Charged by Department/Agency
Citation: Rev. Stat. § 8-133
The Department of Economic Security may charge fees for studying and certifying adoption applicants and for providing placement supervision services to cover the costs of providing these services.
If an investigation is conducted by an officer of the court, the court may charge a reasonable fee. The court may waive, reduce, or defer this fee if the fee would cause a hardship.

Accounting of Expenses Required by Court
Citation: Rev. Stat. § 8-114(E), (F), (H)
No fewer than 10 days before an adoption petition is heard, the prospective adoptive parent shall file with the court a verified accounting of all fees, payments, disbursements, or commitments of anything of value made or agreed to be made by the prospective adoptive parent in connection with the adoption. The accounting shall include all living expenses and be accompanied by an affidavit that is signed by the birth mother, either before or after the birth of the child, that verifies that she has been given written notice; she understands that the payment of these expenses does not obligate her to place her child for adoption; and she may give a valid consent to the adoption only after the child's birth without regard to any cost or expense paid by any person in connection with the adoption. This subsection does apply to an agency placement adoption or to a direct placement adoption made through an agency.
The court shall allow, disallow, or allow in part fees, payments, disbursements, and commitments as shown in the accounting. All adoption cases shall be reviewed by the juvenile court for reasonableness and necessity of expenses
Infant Safe Haven Laws
Infant's Age
Rev. Stat. § 13-3623.01

A newborn infant may be relinquished. ''Newborn infant'' means an infant who is 72 hours old or younger.

Who May Relinquish the Infant
Rev. Stat. § 13-3623.01

The child may be relinquished by the parent or an agent of the parent.

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Who May Receive the Infant
Rev. Stat. § 13-3623.01

The child may be left with a designated safe haven provider. ''Safe haven provider'' means any of the following:
A firefighter who is on duty
An emergency medical technician who is on duty
A staff member at a hospital or an outpatient treatment center
A staff member or volunteer at any of the following that posts a public notice that it is willing to accept a newborn infant:
A licensed private child welfare agency
A licensed adoption agency
A church


Responsibilities of the Safe Haven Provider
Rev. Stat. § 13-3623.01

If a parent or agent of a parent voluntarily delivers the parent's newborn infant to a safe haven provider, the safe haven provider shall take custody of the newborn infant if both of the following are true:
The parent did not express an intent to return for the newborn infant.
The safe haven provider reasonably believes that the child is a newborn infant.
The safe haven provider shall report the receipt of a newborn infant to child protective services as soon as practicable after taking custody of the newborn infant and offer written information about information and referral organizations.

Immunity for the Provider
Rev. Stat. § 13-3623.01

A safe haven provider who receives a newborn infant is not liable for any civil or other damages for any act or omission by the safe haven provider in maintaining custody of the newborn infant if the safe haven provider acts in good faith without gross negligence.

Protection for Relinquishing Parent
Rev. Stat. § 13-3623.01

A person is not guilty of abuse of a child solely for leaving an unharmed newborn infant with a safe haven provider.
A parent or agent of a parent who leaves a newborn infant with a safe haven provider may remain anonymous, and the safe haven provider shall not require the parent or agent to answer any questions.

Effect on Parental Rights

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.

Use of Intermediaries/Facilitators
Citation: Rev. Stat. §§ 8-130; 8-114; 8-134

Except as provided below, a person shall not do any of the following unless the person is employed or engaged by and acting on behalf of a licensed adoption agency:
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Solicit or accept employment or engagement, for compensation, by or on behalf of a parent or guardian for assistance in the placement of a child for adoption
Solicit or accept employment or engagement, for compensation, by or on behalf of any person to locate or obtain a child for adoption
An attorney licensed to practice law in this State may assist and participate in direct placement adoptions and may receive compensation to the extent the court finds reasonable if the person granting consent to the adoption has chosen a specific adopting parent without prior involvement of the attorney or if the choice is made only from among persons currently certified by the court as acceptable to adopt children.
An attorney may be paid for the attorney's services in connection with the adoption only the amount the court approves as being reasonable and necessary.
Postadoption Contact Agreements Between Birth and Adoptive Families

What may be included in postadoption contact agreements?
Citation: Rev. Stat. Ann. § 8-116.01

The parties to a proceeding under this chapter may enter into an agreement regarding communication with an adopted child, the adoptive parents, and a birth parent.
The agreement shall state that the adoptive parent may terminate contact between the birth parent and the adopted child at any time if the adoptive parent believes that this contact is not in the child's best interests.

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Who may be a party to a postadoption contact agreement?
Citation: Rev. Stat. Ann. § 8-116.01

The court shall not approve an agreement unless the agreement is approved by the prospective adoptive parents, any birth parent with whom the agreement is being made, and if the child is in the custody of the division or an agency, a representative of the division or agency.

What is the role of the court in postadoption contact agreements?
Citation: Rev. Stat. Ann. § 8-116.01

The court shall not approve the agreement unless the court finds that the communication between the adopted child, the adoptive parents, and a birth parent is in the child's best interests. The court may consider the wishes of a child who is at least 12 years old.
The court retains jurisdiction after the decree of adoption is entered to hear motions brought to enforce or modify an order entered pursuant to this section. Before filing a motion, the party seeking to enforce or modify an order shall make a good faith attempt to mediate the dispute. The court shall not enforce or modify an order unless the party filing the motion has made a good faith attempt to mediate the dispute.

Are agreements legally enforceable?
Citation: Rev. Stat. Ann. § 8-116.01

An agreement is not enforceable unless the agreement is in writing and is approved by the court.
An agreement entered into pursuant to this section is enforceable even if it does not disclose the identity of the parties to the agreement.

How may an agreement be terminated or modified?
Citation: Rev. Stat. Ann. § 8-116.01

The court may order a modification of an agreement if it finds that the modification is necessary to serve the best interests of the adopted child and one of the following is true:
The modification is agreed to by the adoptive parents.
Exceptional circumstances have arisen since the agreement was approved that justify modification of the agreement.
The court may consider the wishes of a child who is at least 12 years old in determining whether to order a modification.
Every agreement entered into pursuant to this section shall contain a clause stating that the parties agree to the continuing jurisdiction of the court to enforce and modify the agreement and that they understand that failure to comply with an agreement is not grounds for setting aside an adoption decree or for revocation of a written consent to an adoption decree or relinquishment of parental rights.