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ARIZONA STATUTE SUMMARY/Termination of Parental Rights


Termination of Parental Rights

At the bottom of the following summary you will find a link that will take you to the Arizona state code website. The citations in the summary will aid in your search for the full text of the relevant provisions on the state code website.


During permanency proceedings, if the court determines the child's best interests lie in the termination of parental rights, it shall:
• order a motion to terminate these rights be filed within 10 days of the permanency hearing;
• set a initial hearing date on the motion within 90 days of the permanency hearing. A trial date shall be set at the permanency hearing if the termination is contested.
Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 8-862(D).

Notice Rights

The termination motion must be served at least 10 days before the hearing on all parties specified by the rules of civil procedure, including any persons who have filed adoption petitions or have physical custody pursuant to a foster-adoptive placement. Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 8-863(A).


Termination of parental rights may be based on any of the following factors, in consideration with the child's best interests:
• the parent has abandoned the child;
• the parent has neglected or willfully abused a child, including serious physical or emotional injury or situations where the parent knew or reasonably should have known a child was being abused or neglected;
• the parent could not satisfy his/her responsibilities because of mental illness or deficiency or a history of chronic drug or alcohol abuse and there are reasonable grounds to believe this behavior will continue;
• the parent is incarcerated due to a felony conviction and the child will be deprived of a normal home for a period of years;
• the potential father failed to file a paternity action as required by statute;
• the putative father failed to file a notice of claim of paternity pursuant to Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 8-106.01;
• the parents have relinquished their parental rights to an agency or have consented to the adoption;
• the child is in out-of-home placement under the supervision of the juvenile court, the department or a child welfare agency, which has made diligent but unsuccessful attempts at reunification, and either:
• the out-of-home placement has been total period of nine months or longer and the parent has substantially neglected or willfully refused to remedy the circumstances that caused the placement; or
• the out-of-home placement has been for a total period of fifteen months or longer, the parent has been unable to remedy the circumstances that caused the placement, and there is a substantial likelihood he/she will not be capable of exercising proper and effective parental care and control in the near future;
• the parent's identity is unknown and continues to remain unknown after 3 months of diligent attempts to identify him/her;
• the parent had his/her parental rights to another child terminated within the preceding two years and is currently unable to discharge parental responsibilities due to the same cause;
• all of the following are true:
• the child in out-of-home placement pursuant to court order;
• the agency responsible for the child's care made diligent efforts to provide reunification services;
• the child, pursuant to court order, was returned to the legal custody of the parent from whom he/she was removed;
• within 18 months after the child was returned, the child was removed from that parent’s custody and is being cared for in out-of-home placement and the parent is currently unable to discharge his/her responsibilities.
Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. §8-533(B).


The termination petition must include:
• the petitioner's name and place of residence;
• the child's name, sex, date and place of birth and residence;
• the basis for the court’s jurisdiction;
• the petitioner’s relationship to the child, or the fact no relationship exists;
• the parents' names, addresses and dates of birth, if known;
• the names and addresses of the person with legal custody or guardianship of the child or acting in loco parentis to the child or the organization or authorized agency with legal custody or providing care for the child;
• the grounds on which termination is sought;
• the names and addresses of the persons or authorized agency to whom or to which legal custody or guardianship of the child might be transferred; and
• a notarized statement granting or withholding consent for the child to review subsequent adoption records when he/she is age 21 or older.
Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 8-534(A)-(B)

If a parent does not appear at the hearing, the court can determines the parent, if served as required, by failing to appear has waived his/her legal rights. The failure to appear is also deemed an admission of the allegations in the termination petition. Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 8-863(C).


A court's termination order must be in writing and recite the findings upon which it is based, including findings pertaining to the child’s placement and the court’s jurisdiction. The order is final and binding on all persons from the date of entry. Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 8-538(A)

Upon the termination of parental rights, the court shall do one of the either appoint an individual as guardian of the child’s person or appoint such an individual and vest legal custody in another individual or an authorized agency.
Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 8-538(B). If placement with a grandparent or other relative (including a person with a significant relationship with the child) is not in the child’s best interest, the court will make specific written findings in support of its decision. Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 8-538(C). The court order must also address responsibility for the child’s support. Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 8-538(D).

The one parent’s rights may be terminated without affecting the relationship between the child and the other parent. Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 8-538(D).

If parental rights are not terminated, the court must dismiss the petition or, if in the child’s best interests, order substitution or supplementation of parental care and supervision. Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 8-538(E).


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