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Home Self Help Stepparent Adoption
Home Self Help Stepparent Adoption
Stepparent Adoption
These standard instructions are for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice about your case. If you choose to represent yourself, you are bound by the same rules and procedures as an attorney.

  • What is an adoption?
    • 1. What is a stepparent adoption?
      • A person indicates that he or she want to raise their child permanently with their husband or wife who is not the biological parent of the child.

    • 2. Where may I find more information about stepparent adoption?
      • For more information look at §19-5-200.2 through 19-5-216, C.R.S. (Colorado Revised Statutes), or Colorado law.

    • 3. Who may adopt a child in a stepparent adoption?
      • A stepparent of the child.

    • 4. Who may not adopt a child in a stepparent adoption?
      • A person convicted of a felony offense that involves child abuse, a crime of violence, or a felony offense involving unlawful sexual behavior shall not be allowed to adopt a child.

    • 5. How old is a child who may be adopted in a stepparent adoption?
      • The child should be under 18 years old. You must have approval from the court if the child is between the ages of 18 and 21.

    • 6. When may a child be adopted in a stepparent adoption?
      • *  When the petition for adoption is filed the child must be living in the State of Colorado or under the jurisdiction of a court in Colorado for at least 6 months.

    • 7. When is a child legally available for adoption in a stepparent adoption?
      • Legally available for adoption means one of the following:

        * A court has ended the parent-child legal relationship.

        * The other parent is deceased.

        * A Court has approved voluntary relinquishment of the parent-child legal relationship, meaning a parent has agreed to give up their rights as a parent.

        * Written, verified consent of the other parent.

         

  • How do I prepare to adopt a child in a stepparent adoption?
    • 1. Are there other requirements in a stepparent adoption?
      • You must be at least 21 years old. If you aren't 21 years old you must have the permission of the court to submit the paperwork for the legal custody adoption.

    • 2. Do I need to get a background check for myself?
      • You will need to get BOTH a federal and state finger-print based criminal history record check. You will also need a TRAILS background check through your local Department of Human Services.

         

        (1) Contact local law enforcement, police, or the sheriff to be fingerprinted

        The Court may give you 2 fingerprint cards. If your local court does not provide them, your local law enforcement, police, or sheriff should.

        Tips for filling out the fingerprint card

        * In the box labeled Reason Fingerprinted in the upper left hand corner fill in §19-5-207 Adoption.

        * Write your name, home address, and date of birth clearly on the card.

        * If the agency taking your fingerprints uses an electronic print system do not write on the cards. The agency will fill in the information.

         

        (2) Mail or hand-deliver the completed fingerprint cards to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Federal Bureau of Invesitgation (FBI)

        The FBI requires an Applicant Information Form to be submitted along with the fingerprint card. This Applicant Information Form, along with additional information regarding FBI requests, can be obtained at the following link: Federal Bureau of Investigation

        Mail or hand-deliver your completed CBI fingerprint card to the CBI at 690 Kipling, Denver, Colorado 80215, along with a money order. Do not fold the fingerprint card. If you hand-deliver the fingerprint card, you can also pay by cash. The following link will give you information about obtaining a CBI background check as well as the fees charged: CBI - Criminal History Record Information and Fees. You can also contact the CBI at 303-239-4208.

         

        Allow up to 13 weeks to process the criminal history check from the FBI. It can take 4 weeks to receive your criminal history check back from the CBI. The criminal history check must be done 90 days before the filing of the adoption paperwork. You may want to first mail your FBI fingerprint card and mail or hand-deliver your CBI fingerprint card some time later. The FBI and CBI will send a report of your criminal history to you.

         

        (3) Complete TRAILS Background Check

        Information about this background check may be found on the Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS) website, using this link from our website.  This background check looks for any child abuse cases. You must pay a fee.

  • How do I start a stepparent adoption?
    • 1. What paperwork do I fill out?
      • NOTE: If you are planning to adopt more than 1 child you will need a packet for each child.

         

        Complete the Paperwork

        * Download and fill-out the following forms:

        JDF 502 Petition for Adoption

        JDF 454 Verified Statement of Fees Charged

        JDF 509 Consent to Adoption - Custodial Parent

        JDF 511 Consent to Adoption  - Child Over Twelve Years of Age

        JDF 514 Notice of Hearing

        JDF 520 Petition to Terminate the Parent - Child Legal Relationship

        JDF 510 Consent to Adoption - Non-Custodial Parent

        JDF 507 Waiver and Acceptance of Service

         

        TIPS for completing the JDF 502 Petition for Adoption:

        * You are the petitioner.

        * You may need to read the Indian Child Welfare Act to complete the section on facts concerning the child.

        * Follow the prompts to complete the form.

         

        TIPS for completing the JDF 454 Verified Statement of Fees Charged:

        * Follow the prompts to complete the form.

        * You will fill in any fees that you have paid relating to this adoption. If you didn't pay a fee in a particular category you may fill in the number 0.

         

        TIPS for completing the  JDF 509 Consent to Adoption - Custodial Parent:

        * Only complete the top portion of the form above the Consent to Adoption title.

        * The remainder of the forms should be filled out by the custodial parent.

         

        TIPS for completing the JDF 511 Consent to Adoption - Child Over Twelve Years of Age:

        * Use this form ONLY if the child you are adopting is over 12 years old.

        * Only complete the top portion of the form above the Consent to Adoption title.

        * The remainder of the forms should be filled out by the child if he or she is over 12 years old.

         

        TIPS for completing the JDF 514 Notice of Hearing:

        * Only complete the top portion of the form above the Notice of Hearing title.

         

        TIPS for completing the JDF 520 Petition to Terminate the Parent - Child Legal Relationship:

        * Follow the prompts to complete the form.

        * The respondent(s) (hyperlink to glossary) is the other birth parent that the child is not living with.

         

        TIPS for completing the JDF 510 Consent to Adoption - Non-Custodial Parent:

        * Use this form only if the other birth parent agrees to the adoption.

        * Only complete the top portion of the form above the Consent to Adoption title.

        * You must provide a complete copy of the Petition for Adoption, Petition to Terminate Child-Legal Relationship, and Notice of Hearing to the non-custodial parent in order for the birth parent to fully complete the consent.

         

        TIPS for completing the JDF 507 Waiver and Acceptance of Service:

        * Use this form only if the other birth parent agrees to the adoption.

        * Only complete the top portion of the form above the Waiver and Acceptance of Service title.

        * Check the box next to Waiver and Acceptance of Service if the other birth parent decides that they don't want to or need to be served with a copy of the stepparent adoption paperwork.

        * This form should be signed in front of the clerk at the court.

         

    • 2. How do I give my paperwork to the court for a stepparent adoption?
      • (1) Decide where (which courthouse) to deliver your paperwork.

        Your legal custody adoption paperwork should be given to the district court in the county where you live or in the county where the adoption agency is located, if you are using an adoption agency. Use the courthouse finder to find a court in your area.

         

        (2) Give the Court the completed forms and background check results.

        JDF 502 Petition for Adoption

        JDF 454 Verified Statement of Fees Charged

        JDF 509 Consent to Adoption - Custodial Parent

        JDF 511 Consent to Adoption - Child Over Twelve Years of Age

        JDF 514 Notice of Hearing

        JDF 520 Petition to Terminate the Parent - Child Legal Relationship

        JDF 510 Consent to Adoption - Non-Custodial Parent

        JDF 507 Waiver and Acceptance of Service

        * Report results from finger print based FBI background check.

        * Report results from finger print based CBI background check.

        * Report results from TRAILS background check through the Colorado Department of Human Services.

         

        (3) Pay the filing fee.

        * Pay the filing fee. If you do not think you can afford the filing fee, go to the instructions and fill out form JDF 205 Motion to File Without Payment and Supporting Financial Affidavit and JDF 206 Finding and Order Concerning Payment of Fees to request a waiver of the filing fee. For more information check out the Filing Without Payment page.

         

  • What happens after I give all of the stepparent adoption paperwork to the court?
    • 1. There will be an adoption hearing.
      • You should receive a notice from the court about the date and time of the adoption hearing if you didn't set up a hearing date when you gave your paperwork to the court. You need to come to the court for the hearing.

         

        ON YOUR COURT DATE:

        * Be on time or early for your court hearing

        * Have all of your information, completed paperwork, exhibits (affidavits, etc.), and any other evidence with you. Evidence can include a copy of the information that tells the court why you should be allowed to adopt the child. Organize and label each piece of evidence as exhibits that you can share with the judge.

        * If you are the Petitioner, label your exhibits with numbers starting with 1.

        * If you are the Respondent, label your exhibits with letters starting with A.

        * Make copies of your exhibits for the other person in the case (respondent) and for the judge. You will have to pay for any copies that the
        courthouse staff makes for you.

        * Turn off your cell phone and respect everyone in the courtroom. Refer to the judge as "Your Honor" or "Judge."

         

        DURING THE HEARING:

        * The Petitioner will tell the judge why the judge should end the parent child relationship with the other biological parent and allow the petitioner to adopt the child.

        * The Respondent will tell the judge why their relationship with the child should or shouldn't end and why the petitioner should or shouldn't be allowed to adopt the child.

        * Focus on the facts. Present any exhibits to the judge and call witnesses to provide important information about your case.

        * Ask your witnesses questions so that they can testify (speak to the Court).

        * If the other person has an attorney, the attorney may object to or ask the judge to ignore exhibits and witnesses that you try to bring up in your case.

    • 2. Do I need any paperwork for the adoption hearing?
      • * Download and fill-out the following forms:

        JDF 521 Finding of Fact and Decree Pursuant to § 19-5-203, C.R.S.

        JDF 522 Final Decree of Adoption

        Report of Adoption-This is a Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment form and must be accessed from Public Health's website.

         

        TIPS for completing the JDF 521 Finding of Fact and Decree:

        * Only complete the top portion of the form above the Finding of Fact and Decree title.

        * The court will complete the remainder of the form and the judge will sign, usually at the hearing.

        * Make 1 copy of this form so you have 2 forms, 1 original and 1 copy.

         

        TIPS for completing the JDF 522 Final Decree of Adoption:

        * Only complete the top portion of the form above the Final Decree of Adoption title.

        * The court will complete the remainder of the form and the judge will sign, usually at the hearing.

        * Make 3 copies of this form so you have 4 forms, 1 original and 3 copies.

         

        TIPS for completing the Report of Adoption:

        * There are sections on the form for you to complete and sections on the form for your attorney to complete, if you have one. Contact the Department of Public Health and Environment if you have questions about this form.

        * Do not sign the form. The clerk at the court will sign the form after the adoption hearing.

        * Make 2 copies of the form.

    • 3. What happens after the adoption hearing?
      • The judge will sign the original and copies of the JDF 521 Finding of Fact and Decree and the JDF 522 Final Decree of Adoption, possibly on the day of the adoption. The court will certify 2 to 3 copies of the Final Decree. You will pay a fee for certifying documents

        The certified documents are for:

        * You

        * The Department of Public Health and Enviornment so you can request a new birth certificate

        * Your attorney, if you have one

         

        The court will certify the Report of Adoption and send it to the Department of Public Health, Office of the State Registrar of Vital Statistics. You will complete more paperwork and pay a fee with the Office of the State Registrar of Vital Statistics for the new birth certificate.

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