An Arkansas adoption can take place in Arkansas only if the adoptive parents or the child being adopted are Arkansas residents. This might seem straightforward and obvious, but sometimes it isn’t.

The laws for adoptions are different in each state. Arkansas has laws that make adoption easier than it is in some other states. So a couple in another state might decide to apply for their adoption in Arkansas. However, this is only possible if there is an Arkansas resident involved.

Is the child an Arkansas resident?

An infant six months of age or younger is an Arkansas resident only if the baby’s mother has lived in Arkansas for four months before the baby was born. So a baby born in Arkansas in June is only an Arkansas resident if his or her mom lived in Arkansas in February.

The baby must still be living in Arkansas when the adoption takes place. If the adoptive parents don’t live in Arkansas, they can request Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC) approval and take the baby home, returning to Arkansas for the adoption to be finalized.

A baby who is older than six months must have lived in Arkansas for six months to be considered a resident. So that baby born in June, if the biological mother came to Arkansas in March, can become an Arkansas resident in December. The baby must continue to live in Arkansas when the petition for adoption is filed and when the adoption is finalized.

Are the adoptive parents Arkansas residents?

The people who want to adopt a child are Arkansas residents if they live in Arkansas and show an intention to continue doing so. For example, if they have bought a house, they may be considered residents. If they are staying in a hotel or at a campground, they might not be.

There is no specific amount of time they must stay in Arkansas to be considered residents of the state.

Out-of-state adults may adopt an Arkansas resident child in Arkansas. However, that June baby whose birth mother came to Arkansas in March cannot be adopted by out-of-state adults in Arkansas until residency kicks in once December rolls around.

It’s complicated

Heimer Law can assist with complicated issues like these. We specialize in adoption law, and have extensive experience with a wide range of issues relating to Arkansas adoption. Call for a free consultation or use our simple inquiry form.


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