Court Jurisdiction and Venue for Adoption Petitions - Arkansas

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Jurisdiction

Citation: Ann. Code §§ 9-9-202(2); 9-9-205

The probate court shall possess jurisdiction over the adoption of a minor if the child or the person seeking to adopt the child is a resident of the State.

The circuit court shall do the following:

  • Retain jurisdiction to issue orders of adoption, interlocutory or final, when a juvenile is placed outside the State of Arkansas
  • Have exclusive original jurisdiction of proceedings for termination of parental rights for a juvenile under title 9, subchapter 27

If the juvenile is the subject matter of an open case filed under § 9-27-301, et seq., the adoption petition shall be filed in that case.

For the adoption of an adult, the physical presence of the petitioner or petitioners or the individual to be adopted shall be sufficient to confer subject-matter jurisdiction.

Venue

Citation: Ann. Code §§ 9-9-205(c); 9-27-307(a)(4)

Proceedings for adoption must be brought in the county in which, at the time of filing or granting the petition, the petitioner or petitioners or the individual to be adopted resides or is in military service or in which the agency having the care, custody, or control of the minor is located.

If the court finds in the interest of substantial justice that the matter should be heard in another forum, the court may transfer, stay, or dismiss the proceedings in whole or in part on any conditions that are just.

Adoptions and guardianships may be filed in a juvenile court that has previously asserted continuing jurisdiction of the juvenile.