Termination of the legal
relationship between a parent and a child can happen one of
three ways: First, a parent can voluntarily relinquish their
parental rights Second, if the custodial parent has
re-married, they may be able to do a stepparent adoption,
(see button for stepparent adoption) and, finally, the State
of Colorado can bring a Dependency and Neglect action
against the parent or parent’s and potentially terminate
their parental rights by court order.
Relinquishment of Parental Rights
If a parent wishes to
voluntarily give up all parental rights and obligations they
may do so under a certain set of conditions set out under
The Colorado relinquishment procedure requires that the
parent who wishes to relinquish his or her parental rights
must obtain counseling for him or herself and the child to
be relinquished, as the Court deems appropriate.
There are a number of other requirements and affidavits that
are part of the relinquishment procedure. All are all
designed to assure that the person relinquishing his or her
parental rights realizes the seriousness and finality of
their decision. The Court has the right to deny the request
for relinquishment if it is not convinced that the parent
has a sufficient understanding of the consequences of their
request or that there is undue coercion, fraud, duress or
pressure exerted by another party.
You will have to go to court for a hearing before the Court
will terminate your parental rights. The exception to this
rule is in the case of relinquishment of an infant younger
than one year. In that case there are laws that allow for a
quicker process that can be done without going to court if
the other natural parent does not object or cannot be found.
The records of relinquishment proceedings are closed except
to parties of record and their attorneys.
See section on
Parental Rights by Dependency and Neglect Proceeding
In order to terminate parental
rights and obligations without consent of the parent, the
State of Colorado must bring a Dependency and Neglect action
against the parent or parent’s and find by clear and
convincing evidence that one of the following exists:
That the child has been
abandoned by the child’s parent or parents
That the parent is unfit by
reason of emotional or mental illness or mental
deficiency of such a nature that they will be unable to
care for the ongoing needs of the child.
The parent is unfit due to a
single incident resulting in serious bodily injury or
disfigurement of the child and no appropriate treatment
plan can be devised.
The parent is in long-term
confinement and not eligible for parole in six years or
thirty-six months if the child is under six year of age
and no appropriate treatment plan can be devised.
There has been serious
bodily injury or death of a sibling due to proven
parental abuse or neglect.
There has been an
identifiable pattern of habitual abuse or sexual abuse.
There has been torture of or
extreme cruelty to the child, a sibling or another child
of either parent.
Colorado Courts do not take the involuntary termination of
parental rights lightly. The law in this area is complex and
the Court will require a preliminary investigation by social
services, the probation department or another agency
designated by the Court before they will bring a Dependency
and Neglect action.
If after a
full evidentiary hearing the Court finds by clear and
convincing evidence that the parent has abandoned the child
or that they are unfit under the law, then the Court may
order the termination of the parent-child legal
If you would like to
ask one of our attorneys a
question about relinquishment of parental rights or skip
that step and come in for a
consultation, we encourage you to do so.
What makes Matthews & Matthews a better choice to help you
with a Termination Proceeding?