Understanding Arkansas Adoption Laws
When you are anxious to adopt, Arkansas adoption laws can feel confusing and tedious. As with any significant legal or life event, there is often a great deal of stress surrounding adoption. But, understanding how the process works – and what your obligations are – can help you move through adoption with less stress and more confidence.
The following Arkansas adoption FAQs are intended as a helpful resource only and do not constitute legal advice. Adoption is a complicated legal process. If you are considering or pursuing adoption in Arkansas, you may benefit from seeking the services of an experienced adoption attorney.
- Who Can Be Adopted?
- Am I Eligible to Adopt in Arkansas?
- What Factors Are Considered When Petitioning for Adoption?
- How Do My Legal Rights and Responsibilities – and those of my adopted child – Change After an Adoption?
- What Does the Adoption Process Look Like?
- What Happens If My Situation Changes or I Realize I Can’t Handle a Child?
Who Can Be Adopted?
Arkansas adoption laws don’t restrict adoption to children, and it is possible adopt an adult. In either case, in order to adopt in Arkansas you and/or the person you are adopting must be a resident of the state. In some cases, a relative – by blood or marriage – may adopt a child. It isn’t necessary, however, to hold a relation to the individual you are adopting. Additionally, it should be noted, your eligibility to adopt will not be negatively impacted if there is no relation.
There are a variety of public and private agencies that can assist you in the adoption process, including the Arkansas Department of Human Services Division of Children and Family Services. You may also wish to consult with an experienced adoption attorney to help you understand and execute the various legal steps you will be taking.
Am I Eligible to Adopt in Arkansas?
There are a variety of potential issues that could impact your eligibility to adopt in Arkansas, including your financial situation and the stability of your relationship. As a general rule, however, you may adopt another person whether you are married or unmarried. If you aren’t married, you must be a legal adult. A married couple is eligible whether one or both are considered minors. Additionally, it is not necessary that both partners petition for adoption – as may happen when a step-parent adopts his or her partner’s child.
What Factors Are Considered When Petitioning for Adoption?
Adoption is a significant step that will impact almost every aspect of your life and the life of the adoptee. As such, you will need to complete an Adoption Assessment, sometimes referred to as a “Home Study”. You will be asked to consider and assessed on a wide variety of factors, such as your lifestyle, relationship stability, finances, communication skills and motivation for adoption. This can be an intimidating but important and insightful step in the adoption process. In addition to determining your qualifications as a potential adoptive parent, this process gives you an opportunity to gather valuable resources and information. You may wish to speak with other adoptive parents or applicants, for example.
How Do My Legal Rights and Responsibilities – and Those of My Adopted Child – Change After an Adoption?
Think of adoption the same way you would think of having a biological child. When you adopt a child, you are assuming legal responsibility for that child and his or her wellbeing. As such, your adopted child gains the same inheritance rights as a biological child would have. If you have questions about your legal rights and obligations during or following adoption, you may benefit from speaking with a licensed adoption attorney and/or a reputable public or private adoption agency.
What Does the Arkansas Adoption Process Look Like?
Adoption in Arkansas does not always follow the same route, and the process can vary to some degree with each adoption. Your adoption may include the following events and/or documentation, among others: Petition for Adoption; Consent (or Waiver of Consent) from the biological parents; Home Study by a social services worker or child-welfare agency; Hearing and Placement.
If you are going through the adoption process, it can help to have an experienced professional in your corner. There is a wide selection of adoption agencies, both public and private, and family law attorneys that are qualified to help you understand and move through adoption in Arkansas.
What Happens If My Situation Changes or I Realize I Can’t Handle a Child?
As with a biological child, you are responsible for any individual you adopt. So, if your financial or home situation changes, it is now affecting your adopted child as well. There is no return policy for adoption, and you need to be sure you are ready for the responsibility that comes with having a child. Additionally, after some controversy in the state, Arkansas’ governor Asa Hutchinson signed a statute that forbids adoptive parents from “re-homing” or reassigning custody of adopted children without court approval.
Laws and statutes frequently change, and – while we make every effort to keep our content updated – we cannot guarantee the accuracy of the Arkansas adoption information on this page.
Additional Resources on Arkansas Adoption
- Adoption Overview – Arkansas Legal Services
- Arkansas Governor Signs Adoption Law Banning ‘Re-Homing’ – Reuters