Which “type” of adoption is right for you and your family? The answer to this depends on the unique circumstances of your case. In the state of Colorado, there are different “types” of adoptions, each with their own legal requirements and subsequent processes.
Kinship adoption typically involves a prospective adoptive parent who has been caring for another family member’s child for at least one year. The court will usually look to see whether the child has developed a significant relationship with the adopting family member before granting a kinship adoption. There are also more specific requirements for kinship adoption. As discussed in part #1 of this blog, the child must be available for adoption.
The person adopting the child through the kinship adoption process must have a “familial relationship” to the child, such as a grandparent, aunt, half-sibling, or, even, first cousin.
The conditions to qualify for “custodial adoption” are very similar to conditions to qualify for kinship adoption, but there is one distinct difference. That being, a familial relationship with a child is not required to qualify for an adoption to fall into this category. Otherwise, the criteria required for both types of adoption are quite similar.
Stepparent adoption is typically the best option for stepparents who to formalize their parent-child relationship with their a stepchild. Similar to kinship adoption, stepparent adoption requires the termination of one parent’s parental rights, typically the parent who does not live with and/or have a relationship with the child. However, stepparent adoption also requires the “custodial” parent’s consent to the adoption. A stepparent will not be able to adopt, however, simply because their house is the “primary” home of the child or simply because they “show up” more than the child’s biological parent. The court will usually require a showing that the minor child has effectively been abandoned by the other biological parent of the child or that the biological parent has chosen to relinquish their rights to any legal relationship with the child.
Second Parent Adoption
Second parent adoption is typically the most popular form of adoption for couples in the LGBTQ+ community. Under Colorado’s second parent adoption laws, a second parent may petition to adopt a child who has only one legal parent. That parent does not lose their parental rights through this process, and no one’s rights have to be relinquished or terminated. Rather, the child will, as a result, have two loving parents, both of whom have a legal relationship with their child.
Co-Authored by: Adeline Sulentich, Associate Attorney and Jennifer Lepman, Law Clerk.