Arizona Adoption by Relatives: Is It Really Easier?

State laws pertaining to adoption by relatives vary. Even the definition of "relative" can be different in different states. For example, Arizona defines a relative as an uncle, aunt, adult sibling, grandparent, or great-grandparent of the child. In contrast, Florida defines a relative as anyone related by blood and within the third degree of relation to the child. Despite these variances, children are adopted by relatives quite often. In fact, around 30 percent of all children adopted from foster care in Arizona are adopted by their relatives.

What do I need to know about relative adoption?

The good news is that most Arizona relative adoptions are treated less formally than adoptions by strangers. The bad news is that these cases can be confusing, and you will still need to go through the legal process. Although the specifics of state laws vary, you should keep in mind that:
  • Adoption by a relative is not treated the same as adoption by a stepparent.
  • Both biological parents generally must terminate parental rights to enable the relative to adopt the child.
  • Counseling is highly recommended due to the potential change or strain in your relationship with the child's parent or parents, since everyone knows each other.
  • The child may have questions about family relationships after the adoption or trouble transitioning, especially in very emotional cases.

As with any adoption, it's important to remember that the "hard part" of adopting a child doesn't end when your legal case ends. While your Phoenix adoption attorneys navigate the legal system, it will be up to you to deal with tricky relationships and focus on easing the child into your home.

Doing research on your own is always a great start, but there is no substitute for an experienced Arizona family law attorney. Every case is different, and we want to help you understand the details and unique challenges of your Arizona adoption case. Give us a call today at 602-258-1000 or 888-929-5292 to schedule a free and confidential consultation. For further information, don't forget to order a copy of our FREE book, Arizona Family Law: How to Handle Tough Issues in Tough Times.