Adoption (step-parent & kinship)

Many step-parents consider adopting their step-children. Some courts prefer the biological parent and the step-parent be married for at least one year before the step-parent adopts the children. A step-parent who wishes to adopt his or her step-children in Colorado must live in Colorado and be over the age of 21, unless the court approves otherwise. The parent is required to file his or her consent to the adoption with the court.

A child under 18 years old is available for adoption if a court has terminated the legal relationship of the other parent or a court has approved his or her voluntary relinquishment of the parent-child relationship. If the child is between 18 and 21, the court must approve the adoption. If the child is 13 or older, the child is required to consent to the adoption as well.

If the parent-child relationship has not been terminated or relinquished, the custodial birth parent must provide an affidavit or testimony that the other parent has abandoned the child for at least one year or, has failed without cause, to provide reasonable support. The prospective adoptive parent must complete a background check and inform the court if they have been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor involving any of the following:

  • child abuse or neglect
  • spousal abuse
  • any crime against a child
  • any crime related to domestic violence
  • violation of a protection/restraining order
  • crime involving violence, rape, sexual assault, or homicide
  • felony involving physical assault or battery
  • felony involving drugs within the past five years

A person convicted of a felony involving child abuse, violence, or unlawful sexual behavior will not be allowed to adopt the child. If the background check reveals a felony or misdemeanor conviction, the court will review the conviction and determine if the child may be adopted. A child who is involved in a pending dependency and neglect proceeding is not available for adoption.

The adoption will dissolve the legal relationship between the other birth parent and his or her family, and the biological child. A new birth certificate will be issued and will reflect the former step-parent as the child’s birth parent.

Many of the requirements of step-parent adoption are also required in a kinship adoption. Kinship means either of the following: grandparent, aunt, uncle, brother, sister, or cousin. If the parents are deceased, a court-appointed guardian must give consent to the adoption unless written and verified consent has been signed by the parents. The child must have lived with the prospective adoptive parents for at least one year.

~The information above was taken in part from www.courts.state.co.us

Child Welfare

Child welfare issues involve the physical, sexual or emotional abuse and neglect of children, also referred to as dependency and neglect cases in Colorado.In addition to contracting with the Colorado Office of the Child’s Representative as Guardian ad litem, Gabriela is available as private counsel to assist with other legal issues that relate to children.

Smart Child Proofing for Your Home

  • Use safety latches and locks for cabinets and drawers to help prevent poisoning or injury
  • Use outlet covers to help prevent electrocution
  • Use safety gates to prevent children from falling down stairs or entering rooms with potential hazards. Ensure gates are certified by the JPMA.
  • Use door knob covers and door stops to help prevent children from entering potentially hazardous areas in or outside your home or getting little fingers caught in the door.
  • Use anti-scald devices for all sinks and showers to help prevent burns
  • Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors throughout your home and close to bedrooms.
  • Use corner and edge bumpers on furniture and ledges to guard against injury
  • Use window guards and safety nets to help prevent falls from windows or balconies.