Are you thinking about adopting your spouse’s children? In Colorado, stepparents can adopt their stepchildren if both biological parents consent.
Read on to learn about the state procedure for stepparent adoption.
Eligibility for adoption
For a stepparent adoption, the child must be younger than 18 or between 18 and 21 with approval of the court. He or she must live in Colorado for at least 6 months before the adoption.
In addition, the child’s other biological parent must agree to legally end his or her parent-child relationship and provide verified written consent for the adoption. Stepparent adoption can also occur if the other biological parent has died.
Disqualifications for stepparent adoption
Adoptive parents younger than 21 must have court permission to pursue stepparent adoption. If the adoptive parent has a felony conviction for unlawful sexual offenses, violent crime or child abuse, he or she may not adopt a stepchild. If the child is older than 12, the court requires his or her consent to the adoption.
The legal process
You must complete a petition for adoption for each stepchild you are adopting. Submit this form along with:
- A receipt showing that you paid the associated court fees
- Consent forms for the adoption from both the custodial and noncustodial parent as well as the child if he or she is 12 or older
- Petition to terminate the parent-child legal relationship for the noncustodial parent
- Waiver and acceptance of service form if all parties agree to the adoption
File the paperwork in the county where you live. The court will mail you notice of the date and time of the adoption hearing. The party petitioning for adoption will tell the judge why the court should give permission for the stepparent adoption, and the other parent has a chance to respond if he or she contests the adoption.
Bring the JDF 521 Finding of Fact and Decree and the JDF 522 Final Decree of Adoption to the hearing. If the judge agrees to the adoption, he or she will certify the final decree. You can then obtain a new birth certificate for your stepchild that lists you as the legal parent.