Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people have more legal rights today, especially when it comes to family law. In Colorado, LGBT individuals and couples can seek to adopt a child the same way that traditional parents can.
However, the legal landscape may still be susceptible to change when it comes to non-traditional parent adoptions. It was only recently that Senate Bill 241 was introduced, which would have allowed certain adoption agencies to decline service to LGBT people if it went against the agency’s religious conviction. The bill died at the state Senate, but the topic still continues to be highly debated everywhere.
Currently, LGBT parents or aspiring parents in Colorado may petition for various types of adoption, with the same requirements and procedures as any other petitioner. The basic requirement is that the adoptive parent must be at least 21 years old and must have never been convicted of a felony involving child abuse, a crime of violence, or unlawful sexual behavior.
LGBT Single Adoption
Current Colorado laws allow single individuals to adopt a child, without discrimination based on gender, race, or religion.
LGBT Couple Joint Adoption
Under the Colorado Civil Union Act, LGBT or same-sex couples in the state may enjoy the rights of married couples through civil union. When a same-sex couple is in a civil union, they can then petition for a joint adoption of a child who is unrelated to them.
If an LGBT couple is not married or not in a civil union, they would have to go through the adoption process separately as individuals.
If you and your partner are not married or not in a civil union, but you would like to adopt your partner’s child, you may petition for second-parent adoption. This is possible if the child currently has only one legal parent (your partner). When your adoption is successful, you can then share parenting rights and responsibilities with the original parent – that’s why this type of adoption is also known as co-parent adoption.
Second-parent adoption has more stringent requirements for a petitioner, including three background checks, a home study visit, and the completion of a parenting training course.
Step-parent adoption also means legally caring for your partner’s child as your own. The difference is that you and your partner have to be married or in a civil union before you can become a step-parent. You would be taking over the parental rights and responsibilities of a non-custodial parent, usually a biological parent of the child.
Parenting A Child In A Civil Union
If you and your partner are married or in a civil union, any child conceived within this legal union is presumed to be yours and your partner’s. However, it is possible for any party to refute this presumption – for example, if the union comes to an end or if someone else is claiming the child. If you are not the birth parent, you’ll want to solidify your parental rights to prevent this from happening. You may seek a court order to legally establish your parentage of the child.
Though LGBT aspiring parents in Colorado have the right to seek adoption, they could still face various challenges specific to their case. Don’t let this deter you from becoming a loving parent to a child. Talk to us at Goldman Law to learn about your options and next steps.