Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions About Adoption In Arizona

There currently is no uniform adoption act in the United States. As a result, each of the 50 states that make up our country has a different set of adoption laws. It is important that you know the adoption laws for the state in which you reside, as well as those associated with the state the child is born and where the birth parents reside.

There are several different types of adoptions including international and domestic, private adoptions and adoptions from the foster care system.
The following are some of the questions we are most often asked about domestic adoptions.

  • How Do I Get Started On Adoption In Arizona?
    All persons wishing to adopt in Arizona must be certified to adopt unless they are adopting a step child, grandchild, niece or nephew or sibling. A certification study, also known as a home study, can only be conducted by a licensed adoption agency or the Arizona Department of Child Safety. The certification process includes FBI fingerprint clearances as well as local print checks and a DPS background check. Once the study and prints are completed, they are submitted to the court in the county in which the adoptive parent(s) reside. Once certified as acceptable to adopt by the court, the certification is good for the first 18 months.  It may be extended twice with each extension lasting 1 year.
  • Who may adopt in Arizona?
    In Arizona, a single person or a married couple may adopt.
  • Who may be adopted?
    A child must be under the age of 18 at the time of the filing of the petition to adopt and reside in the county where the adoption is filed. The child must be legally freed for adoption before the petition may be filed. A child 12 years or older must consent to the adoption.
  • What is the difference between a private and foster adoption?
    Generally speaking, a private adoption is one where a potential adoptive family is matched with a birth mother who chooses to place her child for adoption. The child is not a ward of the State in a private adoption. A State or foster Adoption is an adoption where the child is a ward of the State. The child being adopted can be a foster child, or a relative of the adoptive family.
  • What are the costs associated with an adoption?
    In a foster adoption, fees for the adoption (including legal fees) may be paid by the State’s Adoption Subsidy program. In a private adoption, the costs vary based on the situation. Expenses for adoptive families include: Certification costs, Living Expenses to the Birth Mother (if approved by the Court), Legal Fees for the Birth Mother, Legal Fees for Adoptive Couple, Post Placement Study, and counseling for the Birth Mother. While it is difficult to give an estimate, total costs relating to a typical in-state private adoption range from $7,000 to $17,000.
  • How long does the adoption process take?
    The adoptive process is unique for each family. However, once placement occurs and a Petition to Adopt is filed, an adoption hearing is held in approximately 6 months. If the child has resided in the home for at least 6 months or is under the age of 3, the adoption hearing is accelerated and held in approximately 90 days. If the child has resided with the adoptive parents for at least one year, the adoption hearing may be accelerated and held in approximately 60 days.
  • What is the adoption tax credit?

    The federal adoption tax credit may be applied in the year the adoption is finalized. Failed adoptions may also qualify for the tax credit in some circumstances. For adoptions finalized in 2018 the maximum credit is 
$ 13,840 per child. The credit is non-refundable, which means it can only be used to reduce your tax liability. Any portion unused may be carried forward for up to 5 years. The adoption tax credit is often misunderstood and may be misapplied. It is crucial that a person adopting consult with a tax expert to learn more and understand the income requirements and how they apply to your adoption.


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