What Is Adoption?
Adoption effectively bestows all of the legal rights and obligations on the adopting adult(s) that they would have if they were the birth parents of the child.
Colorado has specific statutory provisions for “custodial” and “kinship” adoptions as well as “step-parent” and “2nd Parent” adoptions. Adoptions that fall within these categories can be expedited (in most cases).
General Requirements For Adoption
Notice: Notice shall be given to the birth parent(s) upon the filing of the Petition for adoption, notifying them of who is filing for adoption and of the time and place for a hearing.
Hearing: A hearing date is set and will be held after all pre-requirements have been completed.
Other Requirements: There are other requirements in custodial, kinship and 2nd parent adoptions as well, including a criminal records check, consultation with the department of social services and possibly an abbreviated home study and or evaluation.
“The letters in the mail about the process and what to expect were helpful. I was treated with courtesy and professionalism.”
If you are married and wish to adopt your spouse’s child there is an expedited process you can use. Unlike other adoptions, (ie. a child to whom you are unrelated in any way) where you must generally wait at least 6 months from the date of filing to get a hearing, in step-parent adoptions “the court shall hold a hearing on the petition as soon as possible”. All hearings with reference to adoptions are closed to the public to protect the privacy of the family members.
How Does It Work?
A Petition for Adoption must be filed. The child’s birth parent (not your spouse) must be notified either personally or by publication, and other procedural steps must be followed, including the step-parent undergoing a criminal records background check.
There are other pre-requisites to a step-parent adoption involving either non-payment of support or abandonment of the child by the other birth parent for a period of at least one year.
When the court issues its final decree of adoption it must also issue an order terminating the other parent’s parental rights at that time.
A “custodial adoption” is an adoption where the person (and their spouse if they are married) adopting the child has been awarded custody or allocated parental responsibility by a court of law in a dissolution of marriage, custody or allocation of parental responsibilities proceeding, or has been awarded guardianship of the child by a court of law in a Probate court AND has had physical custody of the child for a period of one year or more.
“Kinship adoption” is an adoption of a child by a relative of the child (and such relative’s spouse, if they have one) who is either a grandparent, brother, sister, one half sibling, aunt, uncle or first cousin AND has had physical custody of the child for a period of one year or more and the child is not the subject of a pending dependency and neglect proceeding.
The birth parent or parents must have abandoned the child for a period of one year or must have failed to provide support for a period of one year or more.
2nd Parent Adoption
“2nd Parent adoption” is an adoption by a 2nd adult when there is a sole legal parent of a child who must consent to the 2nd parent adoption.
Pioneers In Adoption
Kurtz & Peckham, PC pioneered the early kinship adoption cases, drafting specific forms accepted in Colorado District Courts for these adoptions. These are some of our favorite cases as we feel we can really make a positive difference in the lives of children and families enabling abandoned or unsupported children to be a part of a caring, responsible family, to whom they are already related or bonded.
A Kurtz & Peckham, PC Specialty
We have handled numerous step-parent adoptions, 2nd parent adoptions, custodial and kinship adoptions, working closely with our clients from start to finish to efficiently and effectively obtain the adoption. We handle all of the details of the process, consulting with and advising you all along the way. This area of family law is one of the favorites of our practice as we are helping to form a family to the delight of the parents and in the best interests of the child. Our focus is on representing you in obtaining the results you wish in the fairest, most effective manner within the procedural and statutory limits of the law.
If you are interested in step-parent, 2nd parent, custodial or kinship adoption, please feel free to call Kurtz & Peckham, PC at (303) 893-3045 for a complimentary one half hour initial consultation with an experienced attorney.