If a person indicates that they would like to raise a child permanently with their spouse, and that spouse is not the biological parent of the child and the non-spouse parent’s relationship has been or could be terminated, then they can apply for step parent adoption under statutes 19-5-200.2 through 19-5-216, C.R.S (of the revised statutes of Colorado law).
This type of adoption grants the parent full legal custody of the child. A step parent who is looking to adopt a child will get that custody through adoption and will be able to maintain it even if the biological parent dies. They will also maintain visitation rights if the couple divorces.
By having legal custody, the step parent is able to make financial, educational and medical decisions as if they were the biological parent. Custody also allows a child to inherit property from their step parent.
Step parent adoption is a significant commitment, and there are some caveats. It will terminate the other biological parent’s existing parental rights. The parent is no longer eligible for child support requests. The rights and responsibilities will all transfer to the step parent. This means that if the marriage ends then the step parent will have to pay child support.
Understanding Step-Parent Adoption
This legal adoption process is used when a parent remarries and the other parent is no longer involved with the child. It is important to seek legal advice and to have someone guiding you through each part of the process. Our attorneys are happy to help you and to explain:
- The adoption process
- How long it will take
- How much adoption might cost
- What you can do if your child has been abandoned by the other parent
- Whether it is worth trying to enforce any unpaid/outstanding child support
- Whether you should try to initiate contact with the biological parent if they are not responding
This is a significant endeavor, however, it is something that needs to be done only once. It will help to solidify the rights and responsibilities of the couple and will carry through death, divorce and any other challenges in life.
You will see your name on the child’s birth certificate, which can be incredibly rewarding.
If you and your family want to take that step, then contact Mary Daugherty for an initial consultation to learn more about the process of step parent adoption and how she can help you.