There are a lot of good things you can do for your stepchild. You can teach her to read, you can throw her cool birthday parties and you can show her you love her by treating her better than Cinderella’s stepmom treated her. When you marry a man who already has a toddler of his own in Arizona, you have the option to choose to remain his stepmom or to legally adopt him and become his mother. Of course, this decision must be supported by your husband and your stepchild’s biological mother, if she is still alive and still retains her parental rights.
Speak to your stepchild’s biological mother about adopting her child. If she has maintained her parental rights, Arizona law requires that she fill out and sign a “Consent to Adoption” form. Signing this form will cause her to give up her own parental rights to the child. This form is not required if your stepchild’s biological mother no longer has parental rights or is deceased. This form is available at law offices, book stores or legal form stores in Arizona.
Fill out the “Petition to Adopt” form. This form is also available at law offices, book stores or legal form stores in Arizona. Both you and your husband must fill out and sign this form. On this form you must include information such as your names and address, your contact information and your Social Security numbers -- and similar information for the child you want to adopt.
File the “Petition to Adopt” form and the “Consent to Adoption” form – if applicable – at any Arizona Superior Court (azcourts.gov). You will then undergo a certification study to determine whether or not you are eligible to legally adopt your stepchild. The court will assess your financial situation, your home situation and your physical and mental health before certifying you as eligible to adopt your stepchild. This certification is valid for 18 months, which means you must complete the adoption process within that time frame.
Attend the court hearing that is scheduled for you. At this hearing, an Arizona judge will go over your application to ensure that all paperwork is in order. Provided everything is in order, you will be able to sign the adoption paperwork to legally adopt your stepchild, therefore becoming her legal guardian until she is 18 years of age.
Things You Will Need
- "Consent to Adopt" form
- "Petition to Adopt" form
You can fill out the necessary paperwork and handle the adoption process on your own or with the help of a licensed attorney in Arizona.