After last week's post on our Colorado Springs family law blog concerning child custody questions at the end of a same-sex marriage, let's turn to the subject of same-sex partners who want to formally bring a child into their family. Sometimes, one legal parent of a child may want his or her same-sex partner to adopt the child, so they may raise the child together. Colorado same-sex family law provides for such adoption (Colorado Revised Statutes §19-5-200.2 through 19-5-212), even without a civil union.
There are some eligibility requirements. To adopt a child, a same-sex parent must be at least 21 years old. He or she will need to obtain three separate background checks: a state-level fingerprinted criminal background check, a federal fingerprinted criminal background check, and a Department of Human Services TRAILS background check (via the applicant's local office). Should any of these checks indicate a felony record of unlawful sexual behavior, child abuse or other violent crime, the individual will be disqualified from proceeding with an adoption.
Once that's done, there are five forms to complete, all of which are available on the Colorado Judicial Branch website. Note that the JDF 508 should be used for a child 12 years old or younger, and the JDF 511 for a child age 13 or older. Some forms will require information from both the legal parent and the adoptive parent.
The completed forms, along with all background check results, should be filed at the family's local district court. The court will schedule a hearing for the same-sex parent adoption. Although not required, same-sex parents may choose to have a legal professional present on their behalf. The information above is intended as general in nature only, and not specific legal advice.
Source: Colorado Judicial Branch, "Same Sex Parent Adoption-Without a Civil Union," accessed on Dec. 29, 2017