Child Custody

questions & answers

Question: how would I go about signing my parental rights to my mother in law when I have an open cps case?

Answer: Generally, once the Department of Child Safety (“DCS”) initiates a legal case against a parent (known as “dependency” or “severance”), Arizona law controls the process of granting permanent guardianship to the child, not the parent. Any party to the case (DCS, parent, or the child’s guardian ad litem) may move for permanent guardianship of the child, naming a prospective guardian. See A.R.S. § 8-872(A). While a relative could file a petition to adopt the child, this is an expensive and time consuming process that requires court approval. See A.R.S. § 8-109; A.R.S. § 8-115. This also requires the consent of both parents, if the parents still possess parental rights to the child. See A.R.S. § 8-106. Fathers with outstanding paternity claims can contest the adoption of a child. A.R.S. § 8-106.01. In any case, a parent cannot freely “sign away” parental rights; court approval is always necessary. Relatives can always come forward to be a foster placement for the child which can ease adoption later. For fact-specific information and advice, please consult an attorney.

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