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Adoptions Attorney | Miller & Steiert

Deciding to grow your family through adoption can be an exciting time that is full of promise and hope for the future. After all, you'll be welcoming a new child into your home and your life. It is, however, a complex process because the safety and well-being of a child is involved, so it's best to learn as much as you can about it even before you start the process of adopting a child.

Qualifying as an adoptive parent

The laws surrounding adoption and custody in Colorado are primarily focused on keeping children with their biological parents when it's possible and what is in the best interests of those children. When staying with a biological parent is not a real option for children, the law is aimed at finding the children permanent homes in which they can grow up with a loving adoptive family. To legally be allowed to go ahead with an adoption in this state, you need to be at least 21 years of age and have a criminal record free of any convictions of crimes against children, such as child neglect or abuse, free of crimes against a partner, such as domestic violence, and free of all violent crimes, including murder, rape and assault. You don't have to be married or own your own home to adopt. Renting is just fine, if you do have some room for the child you'll be bringing to live there. You can also be part of the LGBT community or over the age of 50 and still adopt, and adoption is an option for people who are members of the military, too.

A brief overview of the process

When it has been determined that you qualify to go ahead with an adoption in Colorado, the next steps are determined by the factors in your situation, such as where the child lives and whether the adoption is open or closed. In a closed adoption, there is no contact between the child and adoptive parents and the birth parents after the adoption is finalized. In open adoptions, everyone can remain in contact. While closed adoptions used to be the norm in the US, the trend has been toward open adoptions in recent years.

In most cases, when you want to proceed with an adoption in Colorado, you will need to take part in an adoption orientation session in the state, go through a complete background check, take and complete training classes on parenting, and undergo an assessment of your family with a case worker.

While this may sound simple, the reality is that the adoption process can be very complicated, especially when the child is from somewhere outside of the state. Adoptions in the state are handled by a licensed child care agency or the department of social services, as set out by state law, but you can receive outside help to deal with all these agencies. It's advisable to work with an experienced adoption attorney to help you avoid unnecessary delays or even a rejection of your petition to adopt. Delays or rejections mean you will have to wait even longer to welcome a child into your household, and they also add stress, anxiety and expenses to the overall process.

About stepparent adoption

The process of stepparent adoption, when a person wants to adopt the child of his or her spouse, can be expedited in Colorado when compared to the traditional adoption process in the state. This is because you are already living with the child and have the consent of one parent, as opposed to bringing a new child into your home for the first time. You still do need to meet some conditions and requirements to qualify, however. The nonresidential parent of the child has to have abandoned his or her child for at least a year and also failed to support the child during that time. If your spouse has legal custody of the child and the noncustodial parent has no objection to your adoption, the process will be expedited.

You will still have to go through a criminal background check before you can file the papers to adopt your stepchild. The nonresidential parent will have to be notified about the adoption, and you will need consent from both parents on paper. If the child is over the age of 12 years, he or she will also have to consent to the adoption. The parental relationship with the noncustodial parent is terminated once the court grants your petition for adoption of your stepchild.

While stepparent adoption is usually faster and simpler than a conventional adoption, you should consider speaking to an attorney for help. Unexpected roadblocks, such as being unable to locate the nonresidential parent or get consent, could cause delays and complicate the process.

If you need help with an Adoption case, contact the experienced attorneys at Miller & Steiert, P.C. Our attorneys' have help thousands of families with the adoption process.

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Phone: 303-798-2525
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