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Colorado Adoption Lawyers

The Power of the Adoption Process

Adoption is a powerful process. It is a way of affirming your commitment and love to a child that is not even biologically related to you. The process speaks to the best of what we are as human beings, offering a way to turn a biological stranger into the closest kind of family member.

From a legal perspective, adoption turns a person into the emotional, psychological, financial, and legal parent of a child. What distinguishes an adopted parent from a legal guardian is that a legal guardian possesses all the obligations of a parent, but the actual parental relationship still exists between the child and the biological mother and father. Adoption permanently severs that legal tie and assigns all parental rights, and responsibilities, to the adoptive parent.

Common Types of Adoptions

Adoption is a legal process through which a person or couple becomes the legal parent(s) of a child who is not biologically their own. This process permanently transfers all parental rights and responsibilities from the biological parents to the adoptive parents. Adoption is a significant commitment and is intended to provide a stable, loving, and permanent home for a child.

In Colorado, several common types of adoption are recognized, including:

  • Domestic Infant AdoptionInvolves adopting a newborn or very young child within the United States. Prospective adoptive parents often work with private adoption agencies or attorneys.
  • Foster Care AdoptionInvolves adopting a child from the foster care system. These children have been removed from their biological families due to abuse, neglect, or other issues and are legally free for adoption.
  • Step-Parent AdoptionOccurs when a step-parent adopts their spouse’s biological child. This type of adoption often requires the consent of the non-custodial biological parent unless their parental rights have been terminated.
  • Relative or Kinship AdoptionInvolves adopting a child who is a relative, such as a grandchild, niece, nephew, or sibling. This type of adoption helps maintain family connections and continuity.
  • International AdoptionInvolves adopting a child from another country. This process is typically more complex, requiring compliance with both U.S. and the child’s home country’s laws and regulations.
  • Second Parent AdoptionAllows a second parent to adopt a child without the first parent losing any parental rights. Common in same-sex couple situations where one partner is the biological or legal parent of the child.

Each type of adoption in Colorado has its legal requirements and processes. Prospective adoptive parents are usually required to undergo background checks, and home studies, as well as meet specific eligibility criteria. Working with experienced adoption professionals, such as attorneys or agencies, can help navigate the complexities of the adoption process.

Who May Adopt a Child?

Any person twenty-one years of age or older, including a foster parent, may petition the court to decree an adoption. The individual must pass certain specific background tests, not be convicted of certain violent crimes relating to a spouse or a child, and sufficient financial stability.

Who May Be Adopted?

Colorado law allows that any child legally available for adoption as provided for in Colorado Statutes, is under eighteen years of age, and either present in the state at the time the petition for adoption is filed or under the jurisdiction of a court in Colorado for at least six months may be adopted. Further, under certain circumstances, a person eighteen to twenty-one years of age may be adopted.

How Long Does the Adoption Process Take in Colorado?

The length of the adoption process in Colorado varies depending on the type of adoption. Domestic infant adoptions typically take between six months to two years, while adopting from foster care can sometimes be quicker, particularly if the child is already legally free for adoption. International adoptions often take one to three years due to the complexity of international laws and regulations. The process includes several steps, such as completing a home study, waiting for a match, and finalizing the adoption in court, all of which can affect the overall timeline.

How Does the Home Study Process Work in Colorado?

The home study process in Colorado is a comprehensive assessment of prospective adoptive parents to ensure they can provide a safe and nurturing home for a child. Conducted by a licensed social worker, the home study includes background checks, interviews with the prospective parents and other household members, and home visits to evaluate the living environment. The social worker will also review the family's financial stability, health, and readiness for adoption. The home study concludes with a written report that recommends whether the prospective parents are suitable for adoption. This process is crucial for ensuring the child's best interests are met.

Adoption & Family Law Attorneys

Lawyers play a crucial role in a successful adoption. They file the necessary paperwork and represent the adopted parents in all necessary court hearings and appointments. Lawyers can even conduct adoptions between private parties, often serving as the liaison between hopeful couples and parents looking to offer their child for adoption. Attorneys are able to ensure adoptive parents have full access to a child’s health records and medical history. They can also ensure the biological parents are emotionally prepared for putting the child up for adoption. If you are seeking to adopt a child, The Harris Law Firm is more than happy to help. Our experienced and passionate family law attorneys are familiar with all local and state laws regarding children and adoption, and our guidance can help make the process quicker and easier. In addition, our firm offers “unbundled” legal services, meaning we can bill for limited, specific legal actions. If you only require an attorney to file paperwork, we can offer that specific service, making us a cost-effective choice for you. Whatever the scope of your need for an adoption attorney, our firm is eager to help you in every step of the process.

For questions regarding adoption, or for a consultation, call our firm at (303) 622-5502!

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