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Courting Adoption: Knowing Where to Go to Finalize the Newest Addition to Your Family

contributed by Law Clerk, Brittany Hawkins

Adoption has long been a beautiful way to create family. Welcoming a child into your home is an adventure unto itself, but an adoption can add unique twists and turns to the journey.

For instance, can an Arkansas court preside over the adoption of your prospective child? Let’s say you are wanting to adopt a baby whose mother lived in another state for part of the pregnancy. Which state has the legal authority to perform the adoption?

While a multitude of situations can play out in many ways, the general answer is that an Arkansas court will have authority over an adoption if the child or the adoptive parent is an Arkansas resident. A child will be considered an Arkansas resident if:

· the birth mother was a resident here four months prior to the birth of the baby OR

· the child was born in any border city that adjoins the Arkansas state line and is under six months old OR

· the child is over six months old and has resided in Arkansas for a six-month period, is currently residing in Arkansas, and is present in the state at the time of petition

The prospective, adoptive parent is considered a resident of the state if:

· they occupy a dwelling in Arkansas;

· they have the present intent to remain in Arkansas for a period of time; AND

· they have a genuine intent to live in Arkansas and that their presence is not merely transitory

*If the child you wish to adopt has a parent who is a member of a Native American Tribe, however, that particular tribe will have the ability to claim authority over the adoption.

Ensuring that the court overseeing your adoption is appropriate, is a step towards a successful adoption.

If adoption is something you are considering, come talk with us! Miller Butler can help you navigate those twists and turns to find a happy, new beginning.

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