Filing your Arkansas stepparent adoption doesn’t have to be difficult.

We understand that filing for a stepparent adoption is an extremely important time in your life. It can be stressful and the process can seem overwhelming. We guarantee that your Arkansas stepparent adoption documents will be accurate and that the court clerks will accept them for filing as meeting or exceeding their standards, or you get your money back – 100%. We can make this guarantee because we make it our mission to make sure our documents are complete and up-to-date with the newest court regulations. If we don’t make it right, we’ll refund your money – 100%.

 

Arkansas Adoption – Information you should know.

We know how important is it for you to do the research on filing your Arkansas adoption online. Our highly experienced staff will help you through the process. Please review the information below to educate yourself on filing a stepparent adoption in Arkansas, and then our staff will help you with any questions.

 

In Arkansas, the person filing for the stepparent adoption is referred to as the “Petitioner” and the absent parent is referred to as the “Defendant”. The petitioning stepparent will file the legal adoption documents that we prepare for you with the court. This will start the adoption process. An uncontested adoption means that the other parent is not going to file additional documents with the court objecting to the adoption.

 

Most of the stepparent adoptions we do for customers have one of the following circumstances:

 

  • The absent natural parent is deceased.
  • The absent parent has abandoned the child or children, by failing to maintain a meaningful relationship with the child(ren), and failing to provide financial support for the child(ren). In many situations, the absent parent’s whereabouts are unknown.
  • The absent parent believes that the adoption is in the child’s best interest, and agrees to sign a consent to the adoption.

 

Please note that if the other parent has regular contact with the child and pays child support, you will not be able to complete a stepparent adoption in Arkansas unless the other parent is willing to sign a consent to the adoption.

 

Where will you file your stepparent adoption documents?

The adoption documents are filed in the Circuit Court in the county where you and the child presently reside. When the stepparent adoption is finalized by the Court, your adopted child will receive a new birth certificate, showing the new parent listed on the birth certificate, and also showing the child’s new name.

 

Prior to filing your Petition for Adoption with the Circuit Court in your county, you must have been a bona fide resident of this state of Arkansas for six months prior to the filing of the petition, which residency must be stated in the petition and proved at the final hearing (Driver’s License, etc.). If both parties currently reside in the state, then there is no time period required.

 

Grounds for the termination of parental rights.

The grounds which typically justify the termination of parental rights in a stepparent adoption involve abandonment, failure to support the child, imprisonment, certain abuse, and other grounds. The grounds for the termination of parental rights are different for each state, but all states accept the grounds of abandonment and lack of support, and some states include other grounds.

 

In Arkansas, the absent parent has given implied consent to adoption or relinquishment pursuant to ยงยง 31-19-9-8 to 31-19-9-10, and his/her consent is not required as long as the grounds have been met. The most common grounds are as follows:

 

  • Abandonment of the child for at least 6 months prior to filing a Petition for Adoption.
  • Failing to contact or support the child for at least 1 year when the child has been in the custody of another person.
  • The natural father failed to establish paternity or has failed to register with the putative father registry.
  • The parent has been declared incompetent or mentally defective.
  • The parent has been convicted of murder, manslaughter, rape, incest, neglect, battery, or causing the suicide, and the victim was the child’s sibling.

 

It is not required to terminate parental rights of a parent who is deceased.

 

Visitation by grandparents or the absent parent.

Most states do not have any provisions for the visitation rights of the parent losing parental rights, or the grandparents associated with that parent. The State of Arkansas will recognize agreements for visitation by the parent losing their parental rights, but this is typically up to the discretion of the adopting parents.

 

Arkansas Circuit Court: Address of some AR courts.

Our documents are for the entire State of Arkansas. If your county court is not listed below, then we will provided the court information when we send your documents to you.

 

You must file the adoption documents in the Circuit Court in the county in which you are filing. Some court addresses for larger counties are as follows:
 
Pulaski County Circuit Court:
401 W. Markham, Little Rock, AR 72201
 
Jefferson County Circuit Court:
101 W. Barraque St., Pine Bluff, AR 71601 Phone: (870) 541-5311

 
Jefferson County Circuit Court:
Washington County Circuit Court:
280 N. College, #300, Fayetteville, AR 72701 Phone: (479) 444-1538 Fax: (479) 444-1537

 
Sebastian County Circuit Court:
P.O. Box 1089, Fort Smith, AR 72901 Phone: (479) 782-1046 Fax: 784-1580
 

Sebastian County Circuit Court:
P.O. Box 310, Greenwood, AR 72936 Phone: (479) 996-4175 Fax: 996-6885

 
Craighead County Circuit Court:
511 S. Main St., Jonesboro, AR 72403 Phone: (870) 933-4530 Fax: 933-4534

 

 

Court filing fees.

The court filing fees for an adoption in Arkansas are approximately $154.

 

Serving the absent parent.

In many stepparent adoptions, the absent parent may be willing to sign a consent form which consents to the termination of their parental rights and consents to the adoption. If the absent parent is willing to sign a consent this will make the process a little easier because the court will know from the beginning that all parties agree to the stepparent adoption. Many of our adoption customers don’t know the whereabouts of the other parent, or the other parent has such a disinterest that he/she just won’t sign any documents. In this situation, you will file the adoption documents and then serve the absent parent by one of the following options:

 

1. Whereabouts of the other parent are UNKNOWN: If you are unable to locate the absent parent after a diligent search, then you can serve the parent by publication. This means that a notice is published in a local legal publication. Typically publication is once a week for 4 weeks. The publication fee for the newspaper averages around $85, but varies depending on where you live. Upon the filing of the Affidavit, the clerk shall direct that service of notice be made by publication in a newspaper of general circulation in the county in which the complaint is filed. We provide all the required documents for service by publication.

 

2. The parent just won’t sign, but grounds exist for the adoption: If you know the whereabouts of the other parent, but that parent won’t sign due to disinterest, you can have that parent served by the Sheriff’s department or a private process server. This can be done even if the other parent is incarcerated in jail or a federal prison.

 

Start your Arkansas Stepparent Adoption Today!

 


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