It's been almost 3 years since same sex marriage became legal in Colorado. Whether same sex couples choose to get married or not is a personal decision. These couples want what we all want, to live happily ever after. For some, that means starting a family together. Biology is obviously not on their side when it comes to having children, but there are some options, one being adoption.
Adoption is not an easy process and each state maintains it's own policies on adoption. If you are a Colorado resident, you'll want to work with an attorney for adoption who is familiar with the state laws and policies. Any relationship can change as time goes on, but it's important that all couples looking to adopt realize that it is a lifelong commitment. The process can be long and stressful for couples. But, if you have both determined that adoption is the route you want to go, here is what you need to know about adoption laws in Colorado. The following applies to couples who want to adopt and have not entered into a civil union.
Who Can Adopt in Colorado?
If you are 21 years of age or older, you can adopt a child in a same sex relationship. A person convicted of a felony offense that involves child abuse, a crime of violence, or a felony offense involving unlawful sexual behavior shall not be allowed to adopt a child.
The child that you want to adopt, should be under the age of 18. You will need approval from the court if the child you are wanting to adopt is between the ages of 18 and 21.
How do you Prepare for Same Sex Couple Adoption?
To prepare for same sex adoption, you will need to get a federal and state finger-print based criminal history record check. To get this done, contact your local law enforcement, police, or the sheriff. You will also need a TRAILS background check through your local Department of Human Services. Then, mail or deliver your fingerprint cards to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
How do you Start a Same Sex Parent Adoption?
You will need to complete paperwork to get your same sex couple adoption process started. The forms that you will need along with tips for completing the forms can be found here. Keep in mind that if you are planning to adopt more than one child, you will need to complete the paperwork for each.
Once completed, your paperwork will need to be delivered to the district court in the county where the adoption agency is located or where you live, if you're not using an adoption agency. You will also need to turn in your background check results at this time and pay a filing fee.
What Happens After the Paperwork is Submitted to the Court?
There will be an adoption hearing. The court will let you know the date and time, if it wasn't already set when your dropped off your paperwork. The Final Decree of Second Parent Adoption will be signed and the court will certify the Report of Adoption. You will fill out some additional paperwork and pay a fee for the new birth certificate.
Same Sex Stepparent Adoption
If one partner in the same sex relationship already has a biological child and the other partner wishes to adopt that child, then the process in Colorado would be the same as a stepparent adoption. Background checks are not needed and you will attend one hearing to show that you are a solid family unit.
The decision to adopt a child is a very emotional and exciting time for any couple. If you need more information on adoption laws in Colorado, reach out to us. We have family law attorneys that can help you and your partner navigate through the adoption process.