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Colorado Adoption Laws

In Colorado, both children and adults can be adopted. Children are adopted through different sources and for different reasons. For example, stepparents or other family members often adopt children within their families, private agencies connect young moms with unplanned pregnancies with adoptive families, and state agencies connect prospective families with adoptable foster children.

An adult can also be adopted in Colorado to be a person’s heir. The adult potential adoptee must consent to the adoption. Also, the adult adoptee can change his or her name to the adopted parent’s name during the legal procedure for the adoption. Generally, adult adoption follows the same procedure as the adoption of children.

The following table outlines the main parts of Colorado adoption laws.

Code Sections Colorado Revised Statutes Title 19: Children’s Code, Article 5: Relinquishment and Adoption, and Section 14-1-101: Adoption of Adults
Who Can Be Adopted? Any child under 18 years may be adopted or an adult between the ages of 18-21 upon court approval may be adopted as a child, under the Children’s Code.

Additionally, any adult may be adopted to be a person’s heir under the Domestic Matters law.
At What Age Must the Child or Adult Consent to Being Adopted? Any child 12 years and older and any adult must consent to the adoption for the legal adoption to be completed.
Who Can Adopt? Any adult over 21 years old can adopt. Additionally, a child or adult under 21 can also adopt with court approval.

Married persons or persons in civil unions must petition for adoption with their spouses, unless the spouse is the natural parent of the child, has previously adopted the child, or the parties are now legally separated.

There’s no prohibition against same-sex adoptions and civil union stepparent adoption is explicitly permitted.
Home Residency Required Prior to Finalization of Adoption No
State Agency and Court The state agency in Colorado that helps adoptions through county child welfare and family services departments (i.e. foster care) is the Department of Human Services. However, Colorado contracts out with a profit, non-profit organization, The Adoption Exchange, to help recruit and connect families with children.

The court that hears adoption related matters is the juvenile court. However, in smaller counties or judicial districts there may be only one court that handles all cases. In that case, there’s likely one day of the week or month that’s devoted to juvenile cases, including adoption.
Statute of Limitation to Challenge Generally, for defects in the legal adoption procedure or with jurisdiction (the court where the adoption was granted), the statute of limitations or time period to challenge the validity of the adoption is only 90 days.

In cases of stepparent adoption or when there’s been a fraud on the court or one of the parties (the child, birth parent, adoptive parent, or other relevant person in the case), than a challenge to the adoption can be brought within one year.

Note: State laws change frequently, it’s important to verify these state laws by conducting your own legal research or contacting an experienced Colorado adoption attorney.

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