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I want to adopt my stepchild: What do I need to know?

If you are a stepparent in Denver, you may be aware that you do not have the all of the same legal parental rights as a biological mother or father. In order for you to gain such rights, you can choose to adopt your stepchild and formally become their parent in the eyes of the law. The process do so is different in each state, so here is what you need to know about stepparent adoption in Colorado.

According to the Colorado Judicial Branch, you will have to meet certain criteria in order to be eligible to adopt your stepchild. To begin with, if the child is over 12 years of age, you will need his or her approval to complete the adoption. You will also need consent from the child’s custodial parent, who is likely your spouse. The child’s non-custodial parent must have either approved the adoption, relinquished parental rights to the child or been deemed by the court to have abandoned the child.

You will also need to undergo a background check and be fingerprinted for a criminal history check. If you have been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor, you may still be able to proceed with the adoption of the child depending on the nature of the crime. Felony convictions of crimes involving domestic abuse, violent assault or child abuse will disqualify you from being able to adopt.

You will need to complete all of the proper paperwork and submit it to the court, along with any applicable filing fees. You will then be granted a hearing and, if you are approved, a final decree of adoption will be issued. This is provided as general information on this topic and should not be considered legal advice.

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