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In Colorado, a family court or a social worker may establish that a child’s biological parents or current legal guardians are unfit to care for the child. In such cases, the state looks to place the child with another family member whenever possible. This type of adoption is called intra-family or kinship. The process needs to meet Colorado’s general requirements for adoption and some specific to intra-family processes.

If you are considering adopting a minor relative, working with a reputable family law attorney can help you understand what the process involves and what your rights and obligations would be as an adopted parent.

What Circumstances Lead to Intra-Family Adoptions?

The birth parent or legal guardian must have “abandoned” the child or have failed to provide adequate financial, material, and emotional support for the child’s well-being for at least one year. A kinship adoption may also happen if the child’s parents or legal guardians die.

The relative the court or social services want to place the child with or who expresses interest in adopting the child usually has had the child live with them for a year or more.

Eligibility Criteria to Adopt a Family Member

Under Colorado laws, a prospective adoptive parent must be at least 21 years old or seek authorization from the court to move forward with their petition. The relative is usually a grandparent, an aunt, an uncle, or a cousin.

The birth parents must have voluntarily given up their parental rights or a court must have terminated their rights due to abandonment, neglect, or abuse. If the biological parents are deceased, the child’s legal guardian must provide consent for the adoption. If the child is at least 12 years old, they must give their consent to the adoption too.

The child must be under the age of 18, although a court may approve a kinship adoption if the adoptee is between 18 and 21.

What Is the Kinship Adoption Process in Colorado?

If all eligibility criteria are met and the court has received all the necessary paperwork, the prospective adoptive parent must go through background checks at the federal and state levels, along with any adults living in their home. They must complete background checks no more than 90 days before submitting the adoption petition. Colorado’s Child Abuse Registry (TRAILS) must also perform a check.

The hopeful adoptive parent must provide substantial evidence that they can care for the child’s material, educational, financial, and social needs to support their physical and emotional well-being. Family courts focus on the child’s best interests in Colorado to make a decision.

The court may require social services to conduct a home study to confirm the prospective adoptive parents’ evidence.

If the judge finds all elements satisfactory, they can issue the adoption decree and any additional documents that may apply to the child’s and adoptive parent’s situation.

Choose Clawson & Clawson, LLP as Your Colorado Adoption Lawyers

Our team has extensive experience supporting individuals and families through challenging life transitions. When it comes to kinship adoptions, we can educate you on the process and discuss your options. Our family law attorneys can accompany you at every step whether you need our assistance filling out all the necessary forms or preparing for court hearings.

If a judge assigns a home study for your case, our team can also help you prepare for it. We are here to address any questions or concerns you may have about intra-family adoption. Our attorneys leverage their deep understanding of family law with personalized representation to meet your specific goals. When you trust us with your kinship adoption, you can expect an honest assessment of your situation and regular communication to simplify the process for you and your loved ones.

If you are considering an intra-family adoption in Colorado Springs or its surrounding areas, call Clawson & Clawson, LLP, today at (719) 602-5888 or use our online form to schedule a consultation!