Adopting Stepchildren In Colorado

How can I adopt my stepchild under CO law?

In Colorado, stepparents may adopt their spouse’s child through a stepparent adoption. For this type of adoption, the stepparent must be married to the custodial parent, and obtain written consent from both the custodial and non-custodial parents.

If the non-custodial parent refuses to consent to the adoption or cannot be located to receive notification of the pending adoption, the stepparent must provide substantial and convincing evidence to the Court that the non-custodial parent has either abandoned the child or has not provided reasonable support for at least one year. Before the stepparent can adopt the child, the Court will terminate the rights of the birth parent who does not have custodial rights.

Background Check

The prospective adoptive stepparent must submit to a fingerprint-based criminal history record check from both the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), as well as a background check through the Department of Human Services (sometimes referred to as a “TRAILS” check). The FBI often takes much longer to process background-check requests than do CBI or Department of Human Services, and the various background-check results will no longer be acceptable to the Court after a certain period of time. For this reason, it is important to carefully coordinate the times at which records check requests are submitted to each agency.

Second parent adoption

Another type of adoption recognized in Colorado is second parent adoption. This type of adoption is used when a child has only one legal parent. The sole parent may select another person to become an adoptive parent. The selected person must meet certain legal requirements, including submitting to a home study conducted by the Department of Human Services.

Certain felony and misdemeanor convictions preclude a person from becoming either type of adoptive parent. Both types of adoption require the written consent of the child if the child is over 12 years old.

Child’s best interest

As in all cases involving children, the Court must consider the best interests of the child. Those interests include how well each parent provides financial, emotional, and social support to the child. The Court is also likely to examine a prospective adoptive parent’s ability to support a relationship of love and affection between the child and the child’s extended family.

For legal assistance with a stepparent or second parent adoption in Colorado, contact an experienced Boulder child custody attorney at Ross Law Firm today for a confidential interview about your particular circumstances. We provide individualized attention to the unique needs of all of our clients.

As lawyers who specialize in family law, we have extensive knowledge of Colorado family and divorce law and the legal procedure involved with each.