Sometimes, when a custodial parent decides to remarry, their new spouse wants to do more than take on the role of stepparent; they want to legally adopt their stepchildren. This is especially true in cases where the non-custodial parent is deceased or has abandoned their parent responsibilities. If you find yourself in a position where you wish to legally adopt your new stepchildren, a Colorado Springs family law attorney can help.
In the state of Colorado, cases like these require the stepparent to file a petition with the Court for legal adoption. Whenever possible, the absentee parent is required to consent to the adoption, which means they will be signing over their parental rights to the adopting stepparent. In addition, while there is no legally enforceable waiting period for the adoption to become final, many Colorado courts will wait until the couple has been married for one year before entering the final decree of adoption.
Basically, Colorado Stepparent adoption requires the following steps:
1. The consent of the child if he or she is 12 years of age or older.
2. A hearing to officially terminate the parental rights of the non-custodial parent
3. A background check of the adopting parent
4. The issuance of a new birth certificate.
The legal adoption by a stepparent essentially gives them all the same rights and obligations, with regard the children, as the custodial birth parent. This means that the adopting parent bears the right to parental custody as well as an obligation to support the child. However, because stepparent adoption also cancels out the non-custodial birth parent’s rights and obligations that parent will no longer have any legal right to spend time with the children. In cases where the absentee parent has voluntarily abandoned his or her parental responsibilities, the impending adoption by a stepparent can be a major emotional adjustment for the children.
If the birth parent does not consent to the adoption, the laws in Colorado allow for the custodial parent to provide an affidavit showing that the other birth parent has failed to be involved with the child for at least one year, and failed to support them financially during that time. Ultimately, the Courts will base their decision on what is in the best interests of the child.
Most parents have concerns about the stepparent adoption process. Working with a Colorado Springs family law attorney will put your mind at ease, and allow you to focus on making this process a positive one for everyone involved.