What You Need to Know About Terminating Parental Rights in Arizona
If you believe it is in a child’s best interest to end the parental rights of their biological family, then you may be curious about the procedure to follow in your state. Here’s everything you need to know about how to terminate parental rights in Arizona.
If you live in Arizona and see that a child was abandoned, neglected, abused, or their parent has a history of substance abuse that will likely continue, you should file for a termination of parental rights. To terminate parental rights in Arizona, a court must hear a case and determine what is in the child’s best interest.
When to Terminate Parental Rights in Arizona
According to Arizona Revised Statutes (A.R.S.) Section (§§) 8-531-544, one might choose to permanently terminate a parent-child relationship if the relationship will likely harm the child.
To file for the termination of parental rights in Arizona, an individual must have a legitimate interest in the welfare of the child in question. They must also seek a court order to permanently terminate the legal rights, privileges, and obligations between a parent and their child, except the right of the child to receive support and inherit from the parent.
Additionally, one of the below must be true:
- The parent is neglectful, willingly abusive, or abandons their child through the failure to provide support or maintain contact
- The parent does not have civil liberties or is incarcerated due to a felony conviction
- The parent is proven unfit due to violent crimes against another parent/child
- There is a sentence against the parent that deprives the child of a normal home for an extended period
- The person who claims to be the father has not filed for a claim of paternity as understood in A.R.S. Section 8-106
- The parents have signed papers to give their rights of the child to an agency or consent to adoption
- The parent’s identity is unknown and cannot be found despite at least three months of diligent efforts
- The parent had their parental rights to another child terminated within the past two years for identical reasons as those in the current case
- The parent committed a sexual assault against the petitioning parent, and the child was a result of the sexual assault
Filing to Terminate Parental Rights in Arizona
You will need to collect relevant documents before the initial hearing to terminate parental rights in Arizona. You must collect the following:
- A petition with the name of the petitioner, and
- Available information on the child, the parents in the case, and the person or agency currently taking care of the child
- Proof of jurisdiction of the Arizona Superior Court (usually in the form of residency)
- Information about the grounds for termination of the parental rights and why termination is in the child’s best interest
- If the child or parent are enrolled members of the Native American Tribe or Nation, and if they are completing the social study required by A.R.S. § 8-536(A)
- An order setting an initial hearing
- A notice of initial hearing
After filling out the petition, obtaining an order signed by the court setting an initial hearing on the petition, and obtaining a notice of initial hearing, you must serve the papers to:
- all parents, and if applicable, each custodian or Indian custodian;
- tribe of children as defined by the federal Indian Child Welfare Act, 25 U.S.C. § 1901, et seq. (and sections that follow);
- person(s) having legal custody of the children;
- person(s) standing in loco parentis to the children
- guardians ad litem of the children, an
- any other individual or entity that the court requires to receive the papers.