In Colorado, as a stepparent, you may be able to adopt your stepchild. There are certain requirements you must meet and a lengthy court process as well. The termination of the non-custodial biological parent’s rights will also need to take place.
Of all the adoptions, the Stepparent adoption is somewhat simplified and common in Colorado.
Before you can adopt, you must meet 3 requirements:
- Be a Colorado resident for at least six months
- Be over the age of 21 years
- Be able to successfully pass several background checks
The Stepparent Adoption Process in Colorado
4 Steps to Stepparent Adoption:
- Filing a petition for adoption with Colorado courts.
- Filing by the adoptive stepparent’s spouse (custodial parent) showing approval of the adoption.
- Gaining the consent of the child if he or she is over the age of 12 years.
- Filing the non-custodial parent’s consent to the adoption.
Typically, the one area where problems arise is Step 4: gaining the consent of the non-custodial parent. Even for the most unsupportive biological parent, giving consent for the adoption of a child can be difficult.
If a biological parent won’t give consent, the custodial parent and stepparent can file a petition to terminate the parental rights of the noncustodial parent. In this case, the stepparent and spouse will have to prove either abandonment or failure to provide support for a period of at least a year. If a biological parent has visited even occasionally or provided minimal support during that time, it can derail the adoption. Colorado courts require parents to pay some level of support even if they are unemployed, disabled, or incarcerated.
Once the stepparent adoption is finalized, the child will receive a new birth certificate listing the stepparent as a parent. At that time, the adoptive parent will assume all the legal rights of parenthood and the child will have the same inheritance rights as the stepparent’s natural heirs.
Thinking about filing for a Stepparent Adoption, but don’t want to go at it alone? Contact us today to set up an appointment.