Adoption Lawyers in Denver, CO
Adoption is the legal process through which an individual joins a family that is different from his or her birth parents, or gains a new mother or father. Adoption is a permanent, lifelong commitment to a child. Once adopted, a child has the same legal and inheritance rights as naturally born children. This is an important and life-changing step not only for the child, but for the new parents and family as well.
Depending on the family situation, there are several different ways to proceed with an adoption. Hulse Law Firm, Denver adoption attorneys, understands the intricacies of the Colorado adoption process and legal issues. We assist with step-parent adoptions, kinship adoptions, and even adult adoptions. If you are embarking on the adoption process, you will want to be sure you have met every requirement to the letter of the law. Just as critical, you will need to have a clear and detailed understanding of your child’s, as well as your own, current and future rights.
Stepparent and Kinship Adoptions
Often, a stepparent, grandparents, or other family members have a desire to adopt based on complex family situations. Many times the issue is one of an absentee parent or parents, whether that is by choice, circumstances, or even tragedy. Adoptive parents wish to take on the parenting responsibility and care for a child as their own. Even for what seems like a rationale decision in the best interests of the child, the process to adopt can be somewhat complicated.
Background Check and Biological Consent
Before any adoption paperwork can be filled out, a federal background, state background, and TRAILS background checks must be obtained on the prospective parent or parents. It can take more than 10 weeks to obtain these background checks, so it is important to begin this step sooner rather than later if you want to proceed with an adoption. If you have any type of criminal background, you should consult with a Denver adoption attorney before you begin the process and be advised of the possible implications. Depending on the background check, in the case of a kinship adoption, the court may require that a home study take place.
With stepparent and kinship adoptions, there is a requirement to obtain written consent from the biological parent, if living, for terminating his or her rights. If the individual adopting cannot obtain the biological parent to sign this consent form, it must be proved that this person has either failed to provide financial support for a year, or has not had any contact with the child for a period of at least a year. If you are embarking on an adoption of a stepchild or family member and believe that the biological parent will not consent to the adoption, schedule a free consultation with a Denver adoption lawyer of Hulse Law Firm to discuss the specifics of your case. We can help you decide on the best course of action.
Petition for Adoption
Once you have obtained the criminal background checks and have determined whether the biological parent will sign a consent form, then it is time to file the petition for adoption and other related paperwork. If you cannot find the biological parent, you will need to provide notification to that parent through a public notice. If the biological parent contests the adoption a termination hearing must take place before the adoption hearing. In some jurisdictions, the hearing would take place the day before the adoption hearing.
Finally, after the background checks are done, all the paperwork is submitted, proper notice is given to the biological parent, and a termination hearing is completed, the adoption can take place. Adoptions can be an exciting moment in a child’s life and for the family adopting the child as well.
Sometimes an adult will want to be adopted by another adult so that the relationship is formally and legally recognized. This is often the case with a stepparent. An adult adoption is much easier to obtain than other types of adoptions. There must be consent by the individual being adopted and a few additional forms will need to be completed in order to file. Often, the Court will formalize the adoption without a formal hearing.
Complexities of Adoption
State laws are constantly changing and that is why if you are considering adoption, you owe it to yourself and to your child to involve a Denver adoption lawyer. Whether you are adopting a stepchild, family member, or child who was previously unknown to you, you will want to be sure that all agreements are transparent and enforceable, without loopholes. Each situation will present its own legal issues and you want to ensure that your adoption process is done correctly. Call Hulse Law Firm today for legal representation and answers to all your questions!