Foster Arizona Community Blog

Educating & Empowering Arizona's Families
04
Apr

Question: Does Arizona have open adoptions?

Although agreements can be made between the birth family and the adoptive family, the agreements are not legally binding and the adoptive family has the ability to decide whether or not to continue communication with the birth family post adoption. Here is the law listed in A.R.S 8 regarding communication post adoption. Note the bold section:

8-116.01. Agreements regarding communications

A. The parties to a proceeding under this chapter may enter into an agreement regarding communication with a child adoptee, the adoptive parents and a birth parent.

B. An agreement is not enforceable unless the agreement is in writing and is approved by the court. The court shall not approve an agreement unless the agreement is approved by the prospective adoptive parents, any birth parent with whom the agreement is being made and, if the child is in the custody of the division or an agency, a representative of the division or agency.

C. An agreement entered into pursuant to this section shall state that the adoptive parent may terminate contact between the birth parent and the adoptive child at any time if the adoptive parent believes that this contact is not in the child’s best interests.

D. The court shall not approve the agreement unless the court finds that the communication between the child adoptee, the adoptive parents and a birth parent is in the child’s best interests. The court may consider the wishes of a child who is at least twelve years of age.

E. An agreement entered into pursuant to this section is enforceable even if it does not disclose the identity of the parties to the agreement.

F. Failure to comply with an agreement that has been approved pursuant to this section is not grounds for setting aside an adoption decree or for revocation of a written consent to an adoption decree or relinquishment of parental rights.

G. The court retains jurisdiction after the decree of adoption is entered to hear motions brought to enforce or modify an order entered pursuant to this section. Before filing a motion, the party seeking to enforce or modify an order shall make a good faith attempt to mediate the dispute. The court shall not enforce or modify an order unless the party filing the motion has made a good faith attempt to mediate the dispute.

H. The court may order a modification of an agreement approved pursuant to this section if it finds that the modification is necessary to serve the best interests of the child adoptee and one of the following is true:

  1. The modification is agreed to by the adoptive parents.
  2. Exceptional circumstances have arisen since the agreement was approved that justify modification of the agreement.
  3. The court may consider the wishes of a child who is at least twelve years of age in determining whether to order a modification pursuant to subsection H.
  4. Every agreement entered into pursuant to this section shall contain a clause stating that the parties agree to the continuing jurisdiction of the court to enforce and modify the agreement and that they understand that failure to comply with an agreement approved pursuant to this section is not grounds for setting aside an adoption decree or for revocation of a written consent to an adoption decree or relinquishment of parental rights.

Thank you for your great question! If you have questions, send them to #youaskedfa or Kim@fosteraz.com

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