Adoption Certification (AC) The Court is responsible for certifying that a prospective adoptive parent is suitable to adopt.
Per ARS (Arizona Revised Statute) ARS § 8-105, the Court will consider:
- A complete social history.
- The financial condition of the applicant.
- The moral fitness of the applicant.
- The religious background of the applicant.
- The physical and mental health condition of the applicant.
- Any court action for, or adjudication of, child abuse, abandonment of children, dependency or termination of parent-child relationship in which the applicant had control or custody of the child who was the subject of the action.
- The submission of a fingerprint card and the results of a check of official fingerprint records based on such submission.
- Whether the person or persons wish to be placed on the central adoption registry.
- All other facts bearing on the issue of the fitness of the prospective adoptive parents that the court, agency or division may deem relevant.
Per ARS § 8-105
Preadoption certification is not required for prospective adoptive parents when (refer to ARS § 8-105
for complete information):
- The prospective adoptive parent is the spouse of the birth or legal parent of the child to be adopted or is an uncle, aunt, adult sibling, grandparent or great-grandparent of the child of the whole or half-blood or by marriage or adoption.
- The birth or legal parent is deceased but at the time of death the parent had legal and physical custody of the child to be adopted and the child had resided primarily with the spouse of the birth or legal parent during the twenty-four months before the death of the parent.
- The grandparent, great-grandparent, aunt, adult sibling or uncle is deceased but at the time of death that person had legal and physical custody of the child to be adopted and the child had resided primarily with the spouse of the grandparent, great-grandparent, aunt, adult sibling or uncle during the twenty-four months before the death of the grandparent, great-grandparent, aunt, adult sibling or uncle.
- If the applicant has adopted a child within three years preceding the current application and is applying to adopt another child or is a foster parent who is licensed by this state, the division or agency or a person designated by the court to conduct an investigation shall only provide an update report on any changes in circumstances that have occurred since the previous certification or licensing report. (for complete information, refer to ARS § 8-105).
A Juvenile Adoption (JA) petition shall contain:
- The full names, ages and place of residence of the petitioner and if married, the date and place of marriage and the relationship, if any, to the child.
- The fact that a certificate of acceptability to adopt the child has been issued in favor of the petitioner and the date of its issuance, unless not required under ARS § 8-105.
- The date when the petitioner acquired custody of the child and from what person or agency, or, if not in custody, the present custodial circumstances.
- The date and place of birth of the child.
- The name of the child or the fictitious name to be used in the proceedings and, if a change of name is desired, the name.
- That it is the desire of the petitioner to adopt the child.
- A full description and statement of the value of all property owned or possessed by the child.
- Any reason that consent need not be given.
- Full disclosure of any fees or anything of value given or paid to any person or organization in connection with the adoption. ARS § 8-114.
Any adult resident of this state, whether married, unmarried or legally separated is eliglible to qualify to adopt children. ARS § 8-103.
The adoption of a child who is a member of a Native American Tribe or eligible for membership in a Native American Tribe is governed by the Indian Child Welfare Act.
Adoptions of adults are governed by ARS § 14-8101 and are handled through probate court. More information regarding adult adoptions is available at the Maricopa County’s Self-Service Center website:
We strive to provide excellent customer service to customers on adoption-related cases. Some of the services adoption unit staff offer are:
- Durango Juvenile Court Facility – Adoption Unit
3131 W Durango
Phoenix AZ 85009
- Southeast Juvenile Court Facility – Adoption Unit
1810 S Lewis
Mesa AZ 85210
Adoption cases are confidential and can only be discussed with the parties in the case.
We cannot give out information over the phone regarding specific case because we are unable to verify identification over the phone.
For questions about a specific case, you will need to email or visit the Adoptions Unit in person.
To obtain additional information about a case regarding hearing date/time, status of a case or result of a ruling, a party to the case must come to the Adoption Unit in person and verify their identification.
To obtain information about the Adoption Unit’s receipt of documents, you can email us or come to the Adoptions Unit in person.
The Adoption Unit will make every effort to return emails within 24 hours (1 business day) for standard inquiries. However, extensive or unusual requests may take longer.
- blank fingerprint cards and instructions for JA and AC matters,
- acceptance of completed fingerprints with appropriate payments on adoption matters for processing by Arizona Department of Public Safety, and,
- explanation of general information about the adoption process.
We can never provide legal advice, clarify judicial rulings, or advise whether or not a party needs to file a specific motion, notice or other document.
The Adoptions Unit can be reached:
Maricopa County Attorney's Office (MCAO)
- by telephone at 602-506-4000,
- by email at firstname.lastname@example.org,
- in person at the Durango first floor information desk, or
- in person at the SE adoptions unit office on the first floor outside Courtroom 9.
Although it is not widely known, the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office handles uncontested adoptions at no cost.
These uncontested adoptions include: Parent or other relative adoptions, Agency placed children adoptions, privately placed children adoptions, foreign adoptions, and foreign re-adoptions.
For more information, contact MCAO at 602-372-5437 or visit their website at: http://www.maricopacountyattorney.org/strengthening-communities/adoptions/
Maricopa County Superior Court Self-Service Center
In the event of a stepparent adoption, the child must be legally free from only the non-custodial parent, and in all other adoptions, the child must be legally free from all parents.
In both circumstances this is required whether the parent(s) location is known or not, whether their identity is known or not, or whether the parent is involved in the child’s life or not.
For information regarding severance proceedings (requesting to terminate the legal rights of a parent), forms with instructions are available for free download from the Maricopa County Superior Court website at: