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Adoption can be a big change for everyone involved, especially for the child’s biological parents and grandparents. You might have a lot of questions about what rights you have after the child is adopted.

It’s important to get clear answers and know where you stand. That’s where the Law Office of Daniel Hutto can help. Our Lawyers and paralegals understand how adoption works in Arizona and are ready to guide you through this process. We offer a free initial consultation, so you can talk about your situation, ask questions, and figure out your next steps without any pressure.

 Whether you’re wondering about staying in touch with the child after the adoption, your visitation rights as a grandparent, or what happens if the adoptive parents divorce, the Law Office of Daniel Hutto is there to give you the advice and support your needs.

This article covers the following topics:

women giving up her child for adoption

Can a Biological Parent Change Their Mind During the Adoption Process?

Arizona Revised Statutes (ARS) addresses the rights and responsibilities of biological parents during the adoption process, including the conditions under which they can change their minds and revoke consent to an adoption.

  • Validity of Consent and the 72-Hour Rule: ARS §8-107(B) specifically states that any consent to adoption given by a biological parent within 72 hours after the birth of the child is considered invalid. This provision recognizes the emotional and physical intensity surrounding childbirth and ensures that the biological parent has a period of reflection and recovery before making such a significant decision.
  • Irrevocability After Valid Consent: Once the 72-hour period has passed and consent is given, it becomes irrevocable, establishing a commitment to the adoption process. This irrevocability aims to provide certainty and stability for the child and the adoptive parents, affirming the finality of the adoption decision and minimizing the potential for future disputes or disruptions.
  • Exceptions to Irrevocability: Although consent becomes irrevocable after it is validly given, there are exceptions. Consent can be challenged and potentially revoked if it can be proven that it was obtained through fraud, duress, or undue influence.
  • Legal Process for Revocation: If a biological parent wishes to revoke their consent after the 72-hour period, they must present their case to a court. The court’s primary concern is the best interests of the child, and it will carefully consider whether the circumstances surrounding the consent warrant revocation.

Birth Parent Rights After Adoption 

After an adoption is finalized in Arizona, birth parents’ legal rights to their child are terminated, signifying a complete transfer of parental responsibilities and rights to the adoptive parents.

This transition, while legally straightforward, is emotionally profound, marking a permanent change in the relationship between the birth parent and the child.

Although direct legal ties are severed, there may be situations where birth parents and adoptive parents agree on post-adoption contact.

However, it’s important to note that in Arizona, such agreements are not enforceable by law unless they meet specific conditions and receive court approval.

The core of these arrangements is always the child’s welfare, with any contact or communication carefully considered in light of the child’s best interests.

For birth parents considering adoption, consulting with a skilled attorney can be beneficial in understanding your position and potential for maintaining a connection with your child.

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women signing a post-adoption contract

What is a Post Adoption Contract 

A post-adoption contact agreement is a formal arrangement that outlines how a child’s adoptive family and biological relatives will communicate after an adoption is finalized.

The content of these agreements can vary widely; some families might agree to regular in-person visits, while others might choose occasional updates through letters or emails. The agreement might also specify the sharing of photos or arranging phone calls.

The specifics of the contract depend on what both the adoptive and biological families believe is in the child’s best interest, and these preferences can lead to a wide variety of arrangements. 

However, it’s important to note that for these agreements to be more than just informal arrangements, they must be approved by the court. The court’s approval makes the agreement legally binding

Can You Regain Custody After Adoption? 

Under the Arizona Revised Statutes §8-117, an adoption decree is final, and it confers all rights, privileges, and responsibilities of a child born to the adoptive parents.

This means that once an adoption is legally completed, the adoptive parents are the child’s parents in every legal sense, and the biological parents’ rights and responsibilities are terminated.

However, under extremely rare circumstances and with strict legal scrutiny, there might be a path for biological parents to regain custody, typically involving cases where the adoption process was fundamentally flawed.

For example, if the adoption was finalized based on fraudulent information or misrepresentation, a biological parent might have grounds to challenge the adoption. This could occur if the adoptive parents deliberately misled the court or the biological parents about a critical aspect of the adoption, such as their ability to provide a safe home environment.

Another instance might involve duress or coercion, where a biological parent’s consent to the adoption was obtained through undue pressure or threats, undermining the voluntary nature of their decision.

grandparents playing with biological grandkids

Do I Have Visitation Rights as a Biological Grandparent?

In Arizona, when a child is adopted, the legal ties between the biological grandparents and the child are usually cut off.

This means that biological grandparents don’t automatically have the right to visit the child. The adoptive family is considered the child’s true family in the eyes of the law.

But there are special situations where biological grandparents might ask for visitation rights. The Arizona Revised Statutes (ARS) §25-409 mention that grandparents can request to see their grandchild. The court will look at this request, especially if there’s been a big change in the family, like if the adoptive parents get divorced or if one parent dies.

However, asking for these rights can be complicated. The court’s main concern is what’s best for the child. They’ll think about how the grandparent and child’s relationship was before, and they’ll look at how visitation might affect the child’s life.

If you’re a biological grandparent and you want to see your grandchild after they’ve been adopted, the Law Office of Daniel Hutto can help you understand the law, tell you about similar cases, and represent you if you need to go to court. Remember, the most important thing in these situations is what’s best for the child.

Can the Adopted Parents Revoke Visitation Rights?

If adoptive parents want to stop visitation that’s been agreed upon in a post-adoption contract, the biological parents have options. For instance, if a contract says a biological parent can visit their child once a month, but the adoptive parents change their mind, the biological parent isn’t left without help.

  • Legally Binding Contracts: A post-adoption contract that’s been approved by the court is like a promise that both sides need to stick to.
  • Asking the Court for Help: If adoptive parents stop following the contract and cut off visitation, the biological parent can ask the court to step in and enforce the agreement.
  • Court Decides Based on Child’s Needs: The court will look at why the adoptive parents don’t want the visits to happen. Even though the contract is important, the court will always put what’s best for the child first. If the court thinks the visits aren’t good for the child anymore, it might agree with the adoptive parents.
  • Getting a Lawyer’s Help: Situations like this can be complicated, so it’s a good idea for biological parents to get help from a lawyer. A lawyer can explain the rights of the biological parents, help them understand the court process, and argue for their side, always keeping the child’s wellbeing in mind.

So, while adoptive parents have a lot of say in their child’s life, a post-adoption contract is a serious agreement. If they try to break it, the biological parent can ask the court to enforce the terms, but the court will make sure that whatever happens is best for the child.

What If the Adopted Parents Divorce? 

When adoptive parents go through a divorce, it naturally raises questions about the impact on the adopted child and the potential implications for the biological parents’ rights.

Generally, in the legal framework of Arizona, the divorce of adoptive parents does not alter the fundamental nature of the adoption, meaning that the rights of the biological parents remain as they were post-adoption.

  • Finality of Adoption: Once an adoption is finalized, the legal relationship between the biological parents and the child is severed. This means that the biological parents no longer have parental rights or responsibilities towards the child. The adoption decree establishes the adoptive parents as the child’s legal parents in every respect.
  • Divorce Proceedings: The divorce of adoptive parents is treated similarly to that of biological parents regarding custody and visitation rights. The focus is on the child’s best interests, ensuring stability, continuity, and well-being. The court considers various factors to decide on custody and visitation, but these considerations revolve around the adoptive parents and the child, not the biological parents.
  • No Legal Reinstatement of Biological Parents’ Rights: The divorce of adoptive parents does not reinstate the biological parents’ rights. The legal ties between the biological parents and the child were terminated at the time of adoption and do not get reestablished due to changes in the adoptive family’s circumstances.
  • Exceptional Circumstances: In rare and exceptional circumstances, if the welfare of the child is at stake post-divorce, and if all parties involved – including the biological parents – are in agreement, the court may consider arrangements that involve the biological parents. However, such cases are extremely rare and typically require extraordinary circumstances.

In summary, the divorce of adoptive parents does not directly impact the rights of biological parents.

The legal relationship between the biological parents and the child remains severed post-adoption, regardless of changes in the adoptive family’s structure.

The court’s primary concern during the divorce of adoptive parents is the welfare and stability of the child, with decisions made in the child’s best interests. Biological parents retain no legal rights over the child unless exceptional and agreed-upon circumstances present themselves, warranting court intervention.

How a Family Law Attorney Can Help

Divorce Attorneys in Phoenix AZA family law attorney can make the adoption process much simpler and clearer for everyone involved. They know all about Arizona’s adoption laws and can guide you through each step, making sure everything is done right. If you’re dealing with an open adoption or setting up visits with your child after adoption, an attorney can help create a solid agreement that looks out for the child’s best interests and makes sure everyone’s on the same page.

If things get tricky, like if there’s a disagreement or if adoptive parents split up, your attorney will be there to handle it. They’ll stand up for you in court and make sure your side of the story is heard. 

Having an attorney by your side means you’ve got support through the ups and downs of the adoption journey. If you need help or want to talk things over, you can reach out to the Law Office of Daniel Hutto at 602-833-0986  for a free initial consultation. 

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