Recently, we handled a case that really reminded us of why our work is so important.
In this case, the mother and step-father filed for a step-parent adoption without the biological father’s consent. Along with their petition for step-parent adoption the mother and step-father filed an affidavit alleging the biological father had abandoned his son and failed to pay reasonable child support for more than a year.
A hearing was held to determine whether the father had abandoned his son and failed to pay reasonable child support and whether to grant the step-parent adoption. The father did not attend the hearing. At the hearing, the mother and step-father failed to inform the court that the father had recently filed and won, two months earlier, a hearing to enforce his parenting time and that he was exercising his parenting time with his son at the time of the hearing. They also failed to inform the court the father had repeatedly fought to enforce his parenting time for years. The court relied on the fraudulent affidavit, terminated the father’s parental rights, and granted the step-parent adoption. Thereafter, the father was not allowed to see his son.
Father, without an attorney, filed a motion to set aside the adoption based on fraud. The trial court refused to hold a hearing regarding father’s allegations that the step-parent adoption was obtained through fraud.
Divorce Matters began representing Father to reinstate his parental rights and to vacate the step-parent adoption.
First, Divorce Matters appealed to the Colorado Court of Appeals the Judge’s decision in which he refused to hold a hearing regarding father’s allegations of fraud. Divorce Matters got the Court of Appeals to reverse the Judge’s decision and the Court of Appeals sent the case back to the trial court to determine whether the adoption was obtained through fraud.
Second, Divorce Matters went to hearing and argued the step-parent adoption was obtained through fraud. The trial court agreed. The trial court found the father had not abandoned his son and that the mother and step-father fraudulently misrepresented to the court that the father had abandoned his son. The court vacated the step-parent adoption and reinstated the father’s parenting time effective immediately. After not seeing his son for almost two years, the father gets to see his son again.
This is the type of case””and outcome””we always hope to secure for our clients and remind us why we work so hard on our clients’ behalf every day.