Question: If I want to sign away my rights to my children so that they can be adopted by their stepfather,what steps do I need to take? How do I petition the court, or am I able to even do this?
Answer: This answer assumes that you are the biological father to all three children and either:
(1) you were married to the mother between each child's conception and birth;
(2) you adopted the children yourself on a prior occasion; *or*
(3) your paternity to all three children was legally established on a prior occasion under A.R.S. § 25-801 or A.R.S. § 36-334.
If these facts do not apply to you, and you simply fathered the children out of wedlock, then the stepfather may be able to adopt without any help from you at all. But assuming the above facts *are* true, you still don't have to take any affirmative steps yourself. All the stepfather has to do is petition for adoption under A.R.S. § 8-109, and then request your informed consent under A.R.S. § 8-106. (He may need consent from other people, too, including the children themselves.) A.R.S. § 8-107, in turn, prescribes the necessary timing and content of your consent. Here is the link to that statute: Finally, always remember that this is a permanent decision. If you are properly served with notice of the adoption, and you lawfully consent, and the procedure goes through as planned, you are permanently barred from asserting any legal interest in the child. In other words, you're out. Forever. See A.R.S. § 8-106(G)(1)-(7):
June 26, 2007