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Preadoption Processes

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 most situations unless their 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 can be adopted you or an agency must get consent from:

  • the birth or adoptive mother
  • the father (if paternity is established)
  • any court-appointed guardian
  • the placing agency or Department of Child Services
  • the child (if they are over 12 years old)

Consent Requirements:

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

Consent is not 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
  • 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

Biological parents have a Bill of Rights in Arizona law, ARS § 1-601 and ARS § 1-602.  These statutes ensure that parenting rights are protected, but can make it difficult to have parenting rights legally terminated without the consent of the parents.  Parental rights are 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 this person(s) is not going to stop for a prolonged period of time.  You must provide ample proof 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, it is considered abandonment and your parental rights are 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 can seek legal decision making (custody) rights to the child.


Paternity Frequently Asked Questions