Adoption is a beautiful experience—most of the time. However, life does not always go according to plan, and you might find yourself questioning if the adoption was truly in everyone’s best interests. If this is the case, you can petition the court to reverse an adoption, but you should know that you will face an uphill battle. Colorado family law courts prefer not to reverse adoptions once they have been finalized. This article touches on the limited circumstances under which Colorado courts will grant an adoption reversal.
Adoption reversals are rarely granted in Colorado unless a court finds that doing so would be in the child’s best interests.
Talk to a Family Law Attorney About Adoption Reversal
Adoption reversal is not something to take lightly. The courts definitely do not. If it is something you are considering, you should consult a family law attorney before deciding how to proceed. Call 303-688-0944 today to begin your case assessment, o lláme al 720-359-2442 para hablar con alguien en español.
Reversing an Adoption in Colorado
In adoptions, birth parents voluntarily give up parental rights to the adoptive parents. However, if a birth parent does so under coercion or duress and does not truly wish to give up a child, he or she can sometimes secure a reversal through the family law system.
When an Adoption Can be Reversed
If you are a birth parent arguing for reversal and reinstatement of parental rights, you will need to provide evidence that your parental rights were terminated under coercion or duress.
Once a court has granted the order for relinquishment of parental rights, that order cannot be reversed except where the court lacks jurisdiction, or when the consent of the parents is obtained through fraud, overreaching pressure, or duress. Colo. Revised Statutes § 19-5-103
Relinquishing Parental Rights is Usually Permanent
Ultimately, a family law court’s primary focus is always the best interests of the child. It’s important to remember that if you file for termination of your parental rights voluntarily, it is very difficult to reverse such a decision. You may be forfeiting any chance of having a relationship with your child.
Let’s look at what happened when one Colorado mother changed her mind.
Background: Batton v. Massar
In 1960, Roxie Massar was living in a cramped trailer in Denver with her husband and three children. Money was tight, and the bank was threatening to repossess her home and furniture. Roxie reached out to her two older children’s paternal grandparents who suggested the boy and girl live with them. Two weeks later, Roxie agreed to relinquish her parental rights so that the grandparents could legally adopt the children.
Mother Moves for Adoption Reversal
Following an argument with the grandparents, Roxie filed a motion to vacate the adoption decree. The court granted the motion two months later upon finding that Roxie was a minor at the time she signed the consent forms and did not realize the seriousness and finality of her signing.
Grandparents Win on Appeal
Roxie claimed her signature was invalid because she was depressed at the time, which the grandparents knew and exploited. Her depression rendered Roxie unable to “fully comprehend or understand the nature or effect of her action or to execute any valid consent.” Batton v. Massar, 149 Colo. 404, 406, 369 P.2d 434, 435 (1962)
The Colorado Supreme Court disagreed, finding that Roxie was fully advised of what her signature would mean:
It is not the law that one may avoid the consequences of his voluntary acts, acts not induced by fraud, duress, coercion, etc., by proof that he or she: “did not realize the seriousness and finality of the papers she [or he] was signing.” Such a rule of law would render every contract voidable at the whim of the maker. It is most evident that subsequent events caused the mother to change her mind. Having given her consent, and it having been acted upon and decrees of adoption entered, her change of mind was ineffectual. Batton v. Massar, 149 Colo. 404, 411, 369 P.2d 434, 437 (1962)
Learn More About an Adoption Reversal
In a perfect world, all adoptions end with a loving, cohesive family unit. The R&H Family Law Team understands that reality is often far messier. Give us a call before proceeding with an adoption reversal. Call 303-688-0944 to begin your case assessment, o lláme al 720-359-2442 para hablar con alguien en español.