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Denver Adoption Attorney

Denver Adoption Attorney

For all of your adoption needs, count on Ciancio Ciancio Brown, P.C. We are a team of dedicated and highly experienced Denver adoption lawyers who will work tirelessly on your case. We will treat your family like our family, and do what we can to reach your goals.

Adoption is a beautiful and powerful process. It demonstrates a parent’s commitment and love for the adopted child. However, it is also a complicated legal process in Colorado. Your family will benefit from hiring an adoption attorney in Denver to assist you with the steps that it takes to successfully adopt a child. Even if you are already the child’s stepparent or legal guardian, an experienced Denver family law lawyer can make the legal process easier.

Denver Adoption Attorney

What Does a Denver Adoption Lawyer Do?

The right adoption attorney in Denver can play a critical role in a successful adoption. Your lawyer will explain the steps involved in a Colorado adoption and guide you through each one for an optimal outcome. The services that your lawyer can provide include:

  • Finding adoption agencies
  • Dealing with local and state adoption laws
  • Making this arduous process faster and easier for you
  • Filing paperwork
  • Assisting you with background checks, home checks and interviews
  • Helping you meet the adoption requirements in Colorado

Your lawyer can also help facilitate adoptions by serving as a legal liaison between a parent or parents wishing to adopt and social services or licensed private placement agencies. Colorado is one of only four adoption states that don’t allow lawyers to act as facilitators in private adoptions but instead demand they work through the state system or recognized private adoption agencies.

An attorney can ensure prospective parents have access to all medical information and health records before taking steps toward formalizing the adoption procedures. Only in stepparent adoptions in Colorado is it not necessary to work through an official child placement agency.

You can focus on your family’s future while your adoption lawyer represents you in all meetings, appointments and hearings related to your adoption case in Colorado. A lawyer can carefully navigate the complexities of your adoption case using years of skill, knowledge and experience.

Understanding Adoption in Colorado

Colorado family courts always seek to prioritize the best interests of the child in all matters of family law, including adoption. To that end, Colorado’s Department of Human Services as well as private adoption agencies operate with the aim to seek a safe, secure, and supportive family for every child rather than a child for every couple or individual seeking to adopt.

Private agencies in Colorado serve to place foster care children in permanent homes through adoption and also keep databases of expectant mothers prepared to give up their children for adoption. For children under a year old, an expedited relinquishment procedure for children available for adoption may be filed four days after birth. The court may grant the petition as soon as 7 days after filing without requiring a hearing. This procedure requires 63 days’ notice to the putative father prior to the baby’s due date. Then the father has 21 days to contest the termination of his rights.

Prospective adoptive parents may not financially compensate expectant adoptive mothers outside of the adoption agency.

Types of Adoptions We Handle in Colorado

At Ciancio Ciancio Brown, P.C., our Denver lawyers can assist you with all types of adoption matters, including:

  • Adoption dissolution
  • Adoption from an agency
  • Contested adoption
  • Designated adoption
  • Foster parent adoption
  • International adoption
  • Intrastate and interstate adoption
  • Open adoption
  • Relative adoption
  • Stepparent adoption
  • Third-party caregiver adoption

Your lawyer can explain what to expect from your specific adoption case, so you avoid unwelcome surprises during an already emotional time. Our family law firm is here to help in adoption cases.

What are the Adoption Laws in Colorado?

Adopting a child looks different depending on the state where you live, as each state has its own adoption laws. Colorado’s adoption laws are complex and highly nuanced, and you may need an attorney to help you fully understand them. Here is a brief summary of some of the key adoption laws in Colorado:

  • The adopting parent(s) must be at least 21 years old.
  • Unmarried individuals can adopt children on their own.
  • Married individuals must file petitions with their spouses, except in stepparent adoptions.
  • The person who wishes to adopt must be approved by a licensed home study provider.
  • A minor’s biological parents must terminate their legal parental rights prior to adoption.
  • Children over the age of 12 must receive pre-adoption counseling and provide their written consent to the adoption.
  • Individuals between the ages of 18 and 21 can be adopted with court approval.

Successfully navigating these laws – and many others – is much easier with assistance from a licensed adoption attorney in Denver. An attorney can protect your rights and safety as an expectant parent. Your lawyer will help you avoid mistakes that could jeopardize your adoption, for example, and work effectively toward your goals.

Fostering A Child Before Adoption

Fostering to adopt a child is accomplished through Colorado’s Department of Human Services. Foster homes offer a temporary safe placement for a child with the ultimate goal of reunion with their family after their biological parents resolve issues, learn new skills, or become able to provide a safe, secure home environment. However, in some cases, reunion with biological parents or previous guardians becomes impossible for a variety of reasons. In these cases, a child may become available for adoption as the state’s secondary goal becomes finding a safe, suitable permanent home.

There is always a need for foster parents with a goal to adopt, especially for older children, teens, and sibling groups. To foster a child with a goal of adoption, the prospective parent must undergo a number of hours of training, classes, a background check, and a home study. Once certified as a foster parent, individuals wishing to adopt can request one or more foster children who are already cleared for the adoption process.

What is the Process for Adoption in Colorado?

Adopting a child in Colorado begins with an understanding of the types of adoptions available in the state so you can choose the best option for growing your family. Many prospective parents adopt through the foster care system, but others choose international adoption. Some adoption processes address the needs of a stepparent who wishes to adopt the child of their spouse.

For most adoptions the general steps are as follows:

  • Interested parties must attend an informational session to address the questions of prospective parents and help them identify the right agency for their goals
  • Attend and complete core training including courses in CPR and first aid as well as any other training required by individual agencies. For two-parent households, both parents must attend all classes and courses
  • Prospective parents must go through a home study process, typically with a child welfare service evaluating the family and home environment for fostering and adoption. In most cases, the parents must become certified as foster parents to qualify for adoption through the foster care system or privately, which includes passing a background test. The home study process takes up to 6 months
  • Prospective parents and children undergo a matching process where certified families may seek specific “types” of children available for adoption. In foster care, the children available for adoption are those who cannot be reunited with their biological parents, which is the primary goal in most cases. Parents may specify children based on age, health, disabilities, gender, and sibling groups if they have preferences.
  •  Before placement, parents receive more information about the child or sibling group including medical history, personal history, and whether or not the child’s parents are living and if their parental rights have been terminated.
  • The child or children are slowly transitioned into the new home through scheduled visits before placement with the family. Once placed, caseworkers make monthly visits for six months before finalizing
  • The court sets a date to finalize the adoption through a hearing in the jurisdiction of the child welfare agency. At the end of the hearing, the child’s adoption is finalized.

Stepparent adoption is a different process. In a stepparent adoption, the stepparent must pass a criminal background check and must have the legal consent of the child’s noncustodial parent before an adoption hearing can take place. For children over age 12, the court also requires the child’s consent to adoption by the stepparent.

International adoptions are also a unique process. Internation adoptions require validation through the court in order to issue the child a U.S. birth certificate. Parents must provide proof of a finalized adoption in a foreign country.

Understanding Stepparent Adoptions in Colorado

When a stepparent plays a full parental role in a stepchild’s life they may wish to formalize their status as the child’s legal father to match the emotional bonds already in place. Without a formal adoption, a stepparent has no legal parental rights. Before taking the step of legalizing this type of parent-child relationship it’s important to understand the following implications:

  • Becoming the child’s legal parent gives the stepparent full parental rights and legal custody rights
  • The stepparent and spouse forfeit the right to child support from the child’s biological non-custodial parent
  • The biological parent must forfeit their parental rights except in cases of abandonment
  • The forfeiting biological parent gives up all rights to visitation and may only see the child if the custodial parent and adoptive stepparent agree to the visitation.

It’s important for all involved adults to discuss the full implications of this decision. Children over age 12 should also play a role in this important life-changing process including the decision to change their last name.

What are the Requirements to Adopt a Child in Colorado?

In Colorado, unmarried individuals can adopt children and so can same-sex couples. You must be at least 21 years old to legally adopt a child in Colorado, but individual agencies may have further age requirements. In some instances, the courts may allow an individual under age 21 to adopt, especially in the case of an older sibling wishing to adopt their younger siblings.

Contact a Denver Adoption Attorney Today

At Ciancio Ciancio Brown, P.C., we provide compassionate, personalized and innovative legal solutions to our adoption law clients in Denver and throughout Colorado. Your attorney will be on this journey with you, helping you add to your family while reducing the emotional toll typically involved in this type of family law case.

From deciding whether adoption is right for you to attending adoption hearings on your behalf, our Denver adoption attorneys will provide the services that you need. We are your lawyers for life. Please call us at (303) 395-4771 or contact us online today to request a free consultation.