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It’s naturally considered important that children remain with their biological parents, but that’s not always possible. Sometimes, it is not in the child’s best interests to be raised by his or her biological parents due to a variety of circumstances, such as neglect, abuse or abandonment on the part of the biological parents. In these cases, it makes sense for the children to be raised in a different home, and this is legally done by third-party adoption.

If you are already caring for a child in your home who you wish to adopt or you want to adopt a child who is outside of your home, speak to an experienced adoption attorney in Colorado about your case. Adopting is often complex and emotional because any mistake along the way can delay the entire process. Burnham Law’s diverse team of experienced professionals are well-versed in the Colorado’s adoption laws and processes. We will work with you to make the process as smooth as possible given your circumstances.

An Agency State

Colorado is what is known as an “agency state,” which means you must go through a private or county child placement agency. It is important to know about possible fees associated with the adoption process since private agencies charge fees that can run into thousands of dollars. Whether you will use a private or county agency generally comes down to cost and age; private agencies are more costly, but if you wish to adopt a child under the age of five, you will likely need a private agency to do so.

The Qualifying Criteria

Colorado has a commitment to inclusion in its adoption practices, so the state does not place any restrictions on people who want to adopt based on their religion, ethnicity, gender identity, marital status, sexual expression or orientation, or race. If the child you want to adopt is already in foster care, you do need to become a foster parent first.
New parents must be at least 21 years old to adopt in this state and income must be enough to support family and the child you want to bring into your home. They also need to be able to physically care for the child, pass criminal and child abuse background checks and be open to ongoing training and possibly working with a treatment team.

Custodial Adoptions

When a person is already caring for a child in his or her home for more than one year and that person already has guardianship or received allocation of parental responsibilities from a court, he or she can use custodial adoption to make the living situation permanent. Distant relatives, foster parents and other third-party caregivers can also pursue this type of adoption in these cases.

It’s important to note that there are some limits. The person who wishes to adopt must be at least 21. If he or she is married, both spouses must adopt jointly and meet the other criteria set by the state for adoptions. For a custodial adoption to be granted, the biological parents must either give their written consent or voluntarily terminate their parental rights in court, or the court must terminate those rights involuntarily. In a few situations, such as when both parents have passed away, the court-appointed guardian must give consent to a custodial adoption.

Having an Attorney Matters

Because third-party adoptions can be very complicated, it’s recommended that you work with an attorney who is knowledgeable about the procedures, all requirements, the relevant laws and the entire process. An attorney is particularly necessary if you’re dealing with a contested adoption – when the birth parents will not consent to it – because that will require a court hearing where the birth parents’ rights are involuntarily terminated. Naturally, the courts take parental rights termination very seriously, so you will need to demonstrate in court that this action is necessary and in the best interests of the child’s health and well-being. Your attorney must properly present your case in court and help ensure you do not miss deadlines or make mistakes that will delay the adoption or add to your expenses related to it.

Burnham Law has a team of aggressive legal professionals with vast knowledge of and experience with third-party adoption cases. If you are ready to bring a child into your home and formally legalize that parent-child relationship. Contact our firm today to discuss your case.