This memo will give you a general idea of possible legal options after a Dependency action closes with an Allocation of Parental Responsibilities (APR) to a family member. Termination of Parental Rights remains a possibility under the kinship adoption statute, Colo. Rev. Stat. §19-5-203.
For information for parents, see Allocation of Parental Rights
If you are a family member who was granted parental responsibilities:
You may consider petitioning for Kinship Adoption if you believe adoption would be in the best interests of the child/ children and one or both of the following circumstances would be found:
- Abandonment. If the parents have had minimal meaningful contact with the child/ children for 12 months before the day you file the petition, the court might find that they have demonstrated an intent to abandon the child/children. If parents’ contact with the child/children is sporadic, you may want to keep a log for yourself. If the parents are prevented from contact by criminal or civil protection orders that they cannot petition to change, a court is not likely to find that the parents
intended to abandon the child/children.
- Failure to support without cause. Parents should either pay child support or give you money or supplies regularly and for the whole time that the child(ren) are out of a parent’s care. The court will consider the 12 months before the day you file the petition, but will also look at longer patterns. If parents are providing support outside of a traditional child support case, you may want to keep track of any support the parents give you.
Petitions for kinship adoption and termination. If you feel that it is in the best interests of the child / children to pursue adoption, petitions for kinship adoption and termination are filed at the same time. A separate petition must be filed for each child. Courts will consider all motions in these cases together to see the whole picture. Petitions for kinship adoption and termination are not usually filed until at least one year after the closing of the Dependency case.
For more information on petitioning for kinship adoption and termination, look for self-help forms regarding “adoption by a family member”: https://www.courts.state.co.us/Self_Help/adoptionbyfamilymember/
The Larimer County Self-Help Center is on the first floor of the courthouse at: 201 LaPorte Avenue, Fort Collins. The online self-help center is: https://www.courts.state.co.us/Self_Help/Index.cfm
DISCLAIMER: THIS POST IS NOT INTENDED AS SPECIFIC LEGAL ADVICE FOR YOUR SITUATION; YOU ARE ADVISED TO CONSULT AN ATTORNEY REGARDING THE SPECIFICS OF YOUR SITUATION.