Preparing For A Step Parent Adoption
The step parent adoption process and requirements can vary state by state. In Colorado, the general step parent adoption requirements are as follows:
- The petitioner (step parent) must be at least 21 years of age;
- The person to be adopted must be a minor;
- The minor must have lived in Colorado for the last 6 months; and
- The minor is “legally available” for adoption.
For a minor to be “legally available” for adoption, one of the following must apply:
- The parent-child legal relationship of one of the child’s natural parents must have been terminated;
- A Court has approved a voluntary relinquishment of the parent-child relationship as to one of the child’s natural parents;
- The parent whose rights will be terminated has abandoned the child for one year or more; or
- The parent whose rights will be terminated has failed, without cause, to provide reasonable support for the child for one year or more.
If you’re ready to create a legal parental relationship with your step child, here are some tips that can help you prepare:
Get a head start and research the experience of others. This will help you figure out what questions you have and how you would want to approach the adoption. In the case of abandonment, a step-parent adoption is often contested. It’s important to understand how an objection of a natural parent to the adoption will impact and complicate your case.
Have your finances in order and have money saved. An adoption can be inexpensive if uncontested. However, if contested, the process can become much more expensive.
Talk To A Lawyer
A lawyer can help you understand the step-parent adoption process. The process will vary from county to county. For example, some courts will appoint a guardian ad litem to investigate the best interests of the child prior to finalizing an adoption. Other courts may not and rather rely upon the parties to make their case without the use of guardian ad litem or expert witness.