Procedure for Terminating Parental Rights in Arizona

terminating parental rightsThere are times when we open our homes to a child not knowing the situation they were pulled from. There is an overview that is given, but no one can truly understand what the child may have been through. As the attachment grows stronger between you and a child, you may want to adopt them and make them your own.

To accomplish adopting the child, the first step that you have to do is petition for the rights of the parents to be terminated. How do you file this petition?

Petition and Corresponding Documentation

A petition is the most important document that is required when requesting that a parent and child relationship be terminated. The key components of the “Petition for Termination of Parental-Child Relationship” include:

  • Proof that the petitioner has a true interest in adopting the child in question
  • All available information regarding the birth parents of the child
  • All available information regarding the children of the parents
  • Current information on who or what agency is caring for the child in question
  • The proof that Arizona courts have jurisdiction in the petition
  • The grounds on which the petitioner is requesting the rights be terminated
  • The reason why terminating the rights of the parents is beneficial to the child
  • Information on if the child or their parents are an enrolled member of any Native American Tribe or Nation
  • The information from the social study or the reason why it should be waived and why it is in the best interest of the child to waive it

The next set of documents will be issued by the court once the petition has been filed. The “Order Setting Initial Hearing” and “Notice of Initial Hearing”. These contain important information about the date and time of the initial hearing for the termination of rights.

What to Do Before the Initial Hearing

There are many things that you are responsible for accomplishing prior to the initial hearing with the court.

  1. Fill out the petition properly and sign it.
  2. File the petition with the clerk’s office in the jurisdiction you plan for the case to be heard in.
  3. Obtain the order from the court, signed, setting an initial hearing.
  4. Obtain the order from the clerk of courts that specifies the date, time, and other important information of the initial hearing.
  5. Make copies of all the papers and assemble them into packets that will need to be distributed to interested parties.
  6. Complete the service of process in as timely of a manner as possible.

Service of Process

The service of process is the formal delivery of documents that need to be provided to all of the parties required at the initial hearing. This must be done in a timely manner and if it is not it can cause the case to be delayed.

The petitioner must distribute the packets with all the court documents to the following parties:

  • All biological parents, custodian, or Indian custodian
  • Tribe of any child, if applicable
  • Person or persons who have legal custody of the children
  • Guardians
  • Any other entity that the court deems necessary to the petitioner

These are the first steps to terminating a parent-child relationship in the state of Arizona. As with most judicial items, it is always important to know your rights and have counsel present to speak on your behalf.

In matters of terminating parental rights, family law lawyers are experienced with these types of cases. Make sure if you plan to pursue terminating rights that you call a family law lawyer for a consultation.

Find out what are the requirements to be an adoptive parent in AZ?

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