December 1, 2023

Arkansas Adoption Overview

There are several key steps to any adoption in Arkansas, regardless of the type of adoption (step-parent adoption, agency adoption, or private adoption).

1. Petition.

This is the document filed with the court having jurisdiction that initiates the legal action.  Under Arkansas adoption law, the petition must be signed for verification by the petitioners and those signatures must be notarized.

2. Homestudy.

If required, under Arkansas adoption law, the homestudy must be completed prior to placement of the child in the adoptive home.  However, often times the child has been placed with the adopting family for months or years, or is irrelevant as in a stepparent adoption.

In Arkansas, the homestudy will include acquisition of a criminal history and child maltreatment check with the appropriate state agencies.

3. Statement of Expenses.

If required, a statement of all expenses related to the adoption must be reported to the court.  Under Arkansas adoption law, any funds contributed to or paid on behalf of the birthparents must also be reported.  This document must be verified and notarized.

4. Putative Father Registry Clearance.

If required, the Putative Father Registry must be checked and a clear record confirmed with the court.  This is the case under Arkansas law when the biological father in unknown (i.e.: no man married to the mother on the day of birth; no man signing the birth certificate as father of the child; and no man co-habitating with the mother and holding himself out as the father near the time of the birth).

5. Decree of Adoption.

This is it, the key document you are waiting to have signed by the judge.  Every adoption proceeding in Arkansas requires at least a short hearing.  At that time, if the requirements have all been satisfied we will present your adoption decree to the judge for signature.

6. New Birth Certificate.

We will prepare and submit a Report of Adoption with supporting documents to the Arkansas Department of Vital Records.  This will result in a new birth certificate showing petitioners as the only true and legal parents of the adopted child.

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