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Preadoption Processes

Arizona Civil Legal Needs Community Survey

Civil legal organizations in Arizona are seeking your input to increase their ability to meet the civil legal needs of Arizona's lower income residents. Please complete this survey to assist in improving civil legal services in Arizona.

Encuesta de Necesidades Legales Civiles de Arizona

Las organizaciones legales civiles en Arizona buscan su opinión para aumentar su capacidad de satisfacer las necesidades legales civiles de los residentes de bajos ingresos de Arizona. Por favor complete esta encuesta para ayudar a mejorar los servicios legales civiles en Arizona.

Understanding and Obtaining Adoption Consent

Information on how to and what is required for obtaining the biological parent's consent in an Arizona adoption proceeding. Consent is required in adoption situations unless there has been a court order, parents are deceased, parents are legally declared incompetent, or paternity was excluded. This article discusses what you need to know and understand about obtaining consent prior to an child. This includes consent requirements, who consent must be obtained from, and terminating parental rights.

Before a child may be adopted you or an agency must get consent from:

  • Birth or adoptive mother and father (if paternity is established),
  • Any court-appointed guardians,
  • Placing agency or Department of Child Services, and
  • The child (if they are over 12 years old).

Consent paperwork requirements:

  1. The consent paperwork needs to be formally written and signed in front of a notary with 2 witnesses (over the age of 18) present.
  2. May not be signed for any child under 72 hours old.
    • A child released from the hospital may either stay with the agency, adoptive parents, or an alternative home until this window passes.
  3. Designates the agency or person(s) who are authorized to adopt.
  4. Contains a statement that states that you are not being compensated for the adoption. (ARS § 8-114)
  5. Contains a statement that includes the consequences of giving consent. (ARS § 8-117)
  6. Contains a statement that states that you are aware that this is decision cannot be changed or reversed. (ARS § 8-106)
  7. Filed with the petition to adopt, unless the parental rights have already been terminated.

Consent may not be required when a parent has:

  • Been legally declared incompetent,
  • Had their rights legally terminated,
  • Already consented to putting the child up for adoption with an agency, and
  • Failed to establish paternity.

Incompetent Parent

To have a parent deemed "incompetent" a civil hearing must be held in a Superior Court and they must meet the standards in ARS § 14-5303.

Terminating Parental Rights

In Arizona, parents have legal protections under the Parents' Bill of Rights (ARS § 1-601 and ARS § 1-602).  These statutes ensure that parenting rights are protected, but may make it difficult to have parenting rights legally terminated without the consent of the parents.  Parental rights may be terminated if a parent is incapable of fulfilling their responsibilities because of some mental illness diagnoses, mental deficiency, or a history of the chronic abuse of dangerous drugs/alcohol/controlled substances.  There must also be a reason to believe that the condition of the biological parent is not going to stop for a prolonged period of time.  Ample proof must be provided to show that the situation is long-term and harmful to the child.


A birth mother is required to provide a list of all the potential fathers.  These men are then notified the same way people are served in civil cases.  If you were notified and do not take a paternity test within 30 days, may be considered abandonment and your parental rights may be severed.  You can appeal this if you provide clear evidence that it was not possible to file a paternity claim within the 30 days.

Fathers have the right to agree to a consent or to withhold consent to the adoption.  If you choose to withhold consent, you may seek legal decision-making (custody) rights to the child.


Paternity Frequently Asked Questions