kk-lauren_editedI have handled hundreds of adoptions including:  designated adoptions from birth parents, agency assisted adoptions, assisted birth adoptions and/or surrogate birth adoptions, step parent adoptions, single parent adoptions, multi-state adoptions, guardianship adoptions, custodial adoptions, relative adoptions, international adoptions and adult adoptions, along the front range and in the mountain areas.

Frequently asked questions:

Should I try to do my own adoption?

Many folks successfully complete their own adoption without an attorney.  However, in my experience, there are typically unique circumstances which are better handled by an experienced attorney.  This is one area of your life where you don’t want to make a mistake or make a mess which costs more to clean up than it would have cost to get the professional to do the work in the first place.  If you feel comfortable wiring your own house or changing your own timing belts on your car, you are probably confident enough to work through your own adoption.  If there is doubt as to your understanding or confidence, you will probably be more comfortable hiring an attorney.  Most attorneys will accept split payments so the proceeding is easy on your pocketbook and results in added peace of mind.

What are the typical costs and legal expenses for an adoption?

The current costs of filing an adoption in Colorado are: $167.00, with an additional cost of $20.00 for a certified copy of your adoption decree (the official court document evidencing the adoption).  You will usually want a new birth certificate, for which Colorado Department of Vital Statistics charges $37.50.  These costs change often as the state changes its own costs.

The usual attorney fees for doing all the paperwork, conducting the court hearing, assuring service of necessary papers upon interested parties, providing the decree and applying for and obtaining the new birth certificate will range from $650.00, in an agency adoption, to $750.00 for a typical step parent, designated adoptive family or kinship adoption, or may be hourly at $250/hour for a seriously contested adoption, i.e. one where one or both birthparents are contesting the termination of rights and the child’s availability for adoption.  Any travel time to outlying areas is charged at $75/hour, each way.  I usually require ½ of the projected fees and costs to be paid when the petition is filed and the remainder to be paid at the hearing.  This makes it much easier on the client’s pocketbook.

What must be done to adopt a child from another state?

Usually, there must be a valid custody arrangement under the laws of the other state, a valid interstate compact agreement allowing the child to be transferred to Colorado and a valid termination of parental rights, before the child is available for adoption in Colorado.

Can I adopt my step children who were born in another country?

Yes

Should I get a domestic decree recognizing a foreign adoption of a child?

Yes

Can an adoption proceed where the birth parent/s cannot be located?

Yes

Are there ways to complete an assisted reproduction agreement and terminate the natural parent’s rights and make the contracting parent fully legally empowered as the parent of the child?

Yes

Must I have the birth parents’ consent to proceed with an adoption?

Not in many circumstances, particularly in situations where a birth parent has abandoned (for one year) parental rights and/or  responsibilities concerning the child.

Is there an historical criminal records check of potentially adopting parents?

Yes, particularly relative to violence or abuse.

How long does it take to do the adoption?

Typically, it will take 1-2 weeks to get the petition back and get it filed.  Once all the required court documentation is filed, a hearing will be applied for and most of the courts along the front range are setting 6-8 weeks out.  The decree will be obtained at the hearing and the birth certificate applied for.  Colorado takes about 3 weeks to return a new birth certificate.  If the birth certificate comes from another state it may take longer, depending upon that state’s backlog.

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