Your Complete Guide to Arkansas Adoption Laws
When it comes to adoption, each state has its own laws to keep the practice both ethical and legal.
If you’re thinking about pursuing adoption in Arkansas, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with those laws. Even though you’ll have the guidance of an adoption specialist and attorney throughout the process, understanding the basic adoption laws in Arkansas can make the process much easier.
Fortunately, when you work with American Adoptions, you’ll work with a trained professional who is well-experienced in Arkansas adoption laws. You’ll also be provided a local attorney, who will support you throughout your Arkansas adoption process. To learn more about how this will work, feel free to give us a call anytime at 1-800-ADOPTION or request free information online.
In the meantime, we’ve offered some basic information about Arkansas adoption laws below to get you started. Please remember that this article is not intended to be and should not be taken as legal advice. However, it can be a helpful starting point in your personal adoption journey.
Who can adopt a child in Arkansas?
Adoption laws in Arkansas state that both married and unmarried adults are eligible to adopt. In some instances, a married person can adopt alone; these include stepparent adoptions, instances in which the hopeful adoptive parent is legally separated from his or her spouse, or circumstances in which the spouse who isn’t joining the adoption has been absent, incapacitated, or is unreasonably withholding consent.
Single parent adoption laws in Arkansas may allow individuals to adopt, but American Adoptions only allows single parents to adopt on a case-by-case basis. Contact us at 1-800-ADOPTION to learn more about these policies.
Arkansas Adoption Laws on Prospective Birth Parent Expenses
Arkansas adoption laws allow adoptive parents to pay prospective birth parent expenses for prenatal, delivery and postnatal care. This includes all adoption service fees (such as counseling and matching support), as well as the prospective birth parents’ housing, food, clothing and other costs.
It’s important to note, however, that the adoptive parents have to file a full record of all money spent in an adoption with the court for a judge to review.
To be clear: These financial payments are offered as adoption financial assistance. They are not payment to prospective birth mothers for adoption. Paying a woman for her baby is illegal. Instead, the state of Arkansas recognizes that many women who choose adoption are under financial pressure, and the process allows for adoptive families to step in and take away some of that pressure.
For more information on how American Adoptions provides financial assistance for our prospective birth parents in accordance with Arkansas adoption laws, please call 1-800-ADOPTION.
Arkansas Adoption Laws on the Consent Process
Before an Arkansas adoption can be final, the legal consent process must occur. Consent to adoption happens when a prospective birth parent or other legal guardian voluntarily relinquishes their rights to a child, so that the child can be placed with an adoptive family.
Who must consent to adoption?
In Arkansas, people who may need to consent to the adoption (depending on the situation) include:
- The prospective birth mother
- The prospective birth father (in certain circumstances)
- Any person who has legal custody of the child
- The court having jurisdiction over the child if a parent does not have legal rights
When is a child required to consent to their adoption?
According to Arkansas state adoption laws, a child age 12 or older must consent to his or her own adoption, unless the court decides it’s within the child’s best interests and dispenses with the requirement for consent.
When is parental consent not necessary?
In some situations, prospective birth parent consent may not be necessary in adoption. Please keep in mind that this is rare, especially in domestic infant adoption.
Situations in which prospective birth parent consent may not be necessary include:
- If a parent has deserted or abandoned a child
- If a parent has failed to communicate with or support the child for at least one year
- If a parent has relinquished rights or has had his/her rights terminated
- If a parent has been declared incompetent or mentally defective
- If a legal guardian has failed to respond to a request for consent for 60 days or is unreasonably withholding consent
- If a putative father has acknowledged paternity or is listed on the Putative Father Registry but has failed to establish a relationship with the child
When can consent be withdrawn?
Arkansas adoption laws say a prospective birth parent can withdraw consent within 10 days of giving it. This law differs from state to state.
If you live in Arkansas but find an adoption opportunity in a different state, your adoption professional should familiarize you with the laws there. That way, you can know what to expect regarding prospective birth parent rights.
Arkansas Adoption Laws on Home Study Requirements
Any hopeful adoptive parent in Arkansas must complete a home study prior to adopting. A home study assesses each adoptive family member’s mental and physical health, financial standing, emotional stability, discipline practices and child-caring skills. Each study will also require three personal references, a safety assessment of the home and background checks.
Arkansas adoptions laws require that a state-licensed social worker or adoption agency complete the home study, and that all members of an adoptive family are assessed. Single parents can meet an Arkansas home study’s requirements, but a home study will be denied if a single parent is cohabiting with a sexual partner he or she is not legally married to.
If a home study was completed more than a year prior to placement, it must be renewed before a family can adopt.
As a fully-licensed national adoption agency, American Adoptions is able to perform home studies for Arkansas families. During this process, you will receive guidance from a specialist experienced in Arkansas adoption laws, whether or not you pursue the entire family-building journey with our agency.
To learn more about our Arkansas home study services or how we can guide you through every step of your Arkansas adoption, please call 1-800-ADOPTION or request free information online.
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