How to Adopt a Stepchild in Colorado

A stepparent can fill an important role in a stepchild’s life 1. You must be at least 21 years old to adopt your stepchild, and you can only adopt a stepchild in Colorado if the non-custodial parent agrees to the adoption and waives his rights or if the custodial parent can prove the non-custodial parent has abandoned the child. You still must go through a lengthy process in order to complete the adoption.


Set up an appointment with your local law enforcement office for two sets of fingerprints. Your local court or the law enforcement agency supplies the fingerprinting cards.


Fill in the personal information on the card and write “19-5-207 Adoption” in the box labeled “Reason Fingerprinted.” Don’t fill in any information if the law enforcement agency does electronic fingerprinting.

Print the applicant information form from the Federal Bureau of Investigation website and fill it out

Mail the applicant information form, one fingerprint card and check or money order for the required fee to:

Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) Division Attn: SCU, Mod. D-2 1000 Custer Hollow Road Clarksburg, WV 26306

Mail or hand deliver the other fingerprint card and required fee to the Colorado Bureau of Investigations seven to nine weeks later. It is important to wait seven to nine weeks because the criminal history results must be performed 90 days before filing your adoption petition.

CBI 690 Kipling Denver, CO 80215


Fill out and return the Background Investigation Unit Individual Inquiry Form, available on the Colorado Department of Human Services website.

Fill out the following adoption forms: “Petition for Adoption,” “Verified Statement of Fees Charged,” “Notice of Hearing,” “Consent to Adoption - Custodial Parent” and “Petition to Terminate the Parent-Child Legal Relationship.” If the child you are adopting is over 12 years old, fill out the form titled “Consent to Adoption - Child Over Twelve Years of Age.” Fill out the form “Affidavit of Abandonment” if the non-custodial parent has abandoned the child or not provided reasonable support for a year or more.

Present the form, “Consent to Adoption - Non-Custodial Parent” to the birth parent who is giving up her rights. Give the non-custodial parent a copy of the adoption petition and notice of hearing. Complete the “Waiver and Acceptance of Service” form.

Fill out “Notice of Adoption Proceeding and Summons” if you are unable to obtain consent from the other birth parent, but you know where he lives. Contact the sheriff’s department or a private process server to serve the papers. Have the person who served the papers complete the “Affidavit of Service.”

Fill out “Affidavit of Diligent Efforts,” “Motion and Affidavit for Publication of Notice” and “Order for Publication and Mailing” if you do not know where the non-custodial parent lives. Provide your local newspaper with a copy of the “Order of Publication” and “Notice of Hearing.” Keep a clipping of the publication provided by the newspaper as proof you tried to notify the non-custodial parent.

File your documents with the court and wait for the court to set a hearing.


A notary is required to witness the signing of many of the forms involved in the adoption process; check each form before signing.