My question involves adoption law for the State of: Arizona
My step-daughter is 17. My wife and I have been married for almost 15 years. My wife and the bio father share legal custody and she (we) have primary physical custody. The bio father has been in and out of her life. He is supposed to be paying child support, but hasn't paid anything in the last few years. My step-daughter decided (on her own) that she didn't want to see him or his family about a year and a half ago. She has been sending him the Consent to Adopt forms monthly for the last 16 months (again on her own) in an attempt to get him to allow me to adopt her, but he has not responded nor have the letters been returned. She occasionally stays in contact with some of her cousins and they have told her that even their family doesn't know where he is for the last few months. Her plan has been to wait until she turns 18 (since she assumes he won't consent) and then have me adopt her. She would like to begin her last year of high school with my last name (AZ law forces the use of legal names), however she doesn't turn 18 until the middle of the school year. I know that it is only about 5 months difference, but this means a lot to her. What needs to be done for me to be able to adopt her? Does the court take into account her age and her wishes? Any advise or direction of where to research would be appreciated.