2021 Colorado Code
Title 19 - Children's Code
Article 5 - Relinquishment and Adoption
Part 2 - Adoption
§ 19-5-214. Limitation on Annulment of Adoption - Best Interests Standard

Universal Citation: CO Code § 19-5-214 (2021)
  1. No final decree of adoption shall be attacked by reason of any jurisdictional or procedural defect after the expiration of ninety-one days following the entry of the final decree; except that, in cases of stepparent adoption, no final decree of adoption shall be attacked by reason of fraud upon the court or fraud upon a party, whether or not there is a jurisdictional or procedural defect, after the expiration of one year following the entry of the final decree of adoption.
  2. When a final decree of adoption is attacked on any basis at any time, the court shall consider the best interests of the child, taking into account the factors set forth in section 14-10-124, C.R.S. The court shall sustain the decree unless there is clear and convincing evidence that the decree is not in the best interests of the child.

History. Source: L. 87: Entire title R&RE, p. 811, § 1, effective October 1. L. 94: Entire section amended, p. 752, § 5, effective April 20; entire section amended, p. 1198, § 2, effective May 19. L. 2012: (1) amended,(SB 12-175), ch. 208, p. 880, § 143, effective July 1.

Editor's note:
  1. This section was contained in a title that was repealed and reenacted in 1987. Provisions of this section, as it existed in 1987, are similar to those contained in 19-4-116 as said section existed in 1986, the year prior to the repeal and reenactment of this title.
  2. Amendments to this section in House Bill 94-1042 and Senate Bill 94-5 were harmonized.

Law reviews. For article, “One Year Review of Domestic Relations”, see 34 Dicta 108 (1957). For article, “One Year Review of Domestic Relations”, see 38 Dicta 84 (1961). For comment on White v. Davis (163 Colo. 122 , 428 P.2d 909 (1967)), see 40 U. Colo. L. Rev. 151 (1967).

Annotator's note. The following annotations include cases decided under former provisions similar to this section.

Purpose of section. This section serves the beneficial purpose of curing technical defects which do not affect the basic rights of the parties and guaranteeing to adopting parents the undisturbed relationship with the child, which was one of its legislative intents. White v. Davis, 163 Colo. 122 , 428 P.2d 909 (1967).

Parties assuming the responsibilities of adoptive parents are entitled to assurance that upon adopting a child they are not also adopting a law suit. Smith v. Welfare Dept., 144 Colo. 103 , 355 P.2d 317 (1960).

Sufficiency of notice. Where a father was serving in the Navy and had notice of a dependency proceeding, his right to contest adoption decrees is barred by this section which limits the right to challenge a valid decree to two years after entry. Olsen v. Davidson, 142 Colo. 205 , 350 P.2d 338 (1960).

Although the record reveals service by publication, where the adequacy or sufficiency of such notice was strongly challenged by motion to vacate which alleged that in support of an order authorizing service by publication the procurer of the order made a false representation that he was unaware of the whereabouts of the natural father, it was a proper matter for evidentiary hearing by the lower court to determine whether the due process requirements in the adoption proceedings were met. White v. Davis, 163 Colo. 122 , 428 P.2d 909 (1967).

In termination of parental rights case, omission of the process server's verified signature is insufficient to cause prejudice to father's case where father acknowledged he received the notices and petitions. Allowing an amendment to cure the defect serves the best interests of the children. In re Petition of Taylor, 134 P.3d 579 (Colo. App. 2006).

Validity of consent. Where the record is devoid of any evidence of fraud, coercion, undue influence, misrepresentation, or misconduct on the part of the adopting parents or their attorney, and there is nothing to indicate that the mother was lacking in understanding as to the consequences of her consent to the adoption of her children, a finding by the trial court that at the time of signing the consent the mother did not realize the seriousness and finality of her act was insufficient to set aside the decrees of adoption. Batton v. Massar, 149 Colo. 404 , 369 P.2d 434 (1962).

No inherent right exists to rescind an adoption. When there is no provision made for the annulment of a valid decree of adoption, the right does not exist. In re S.D., 251 P.3d 1188 (Colo. App. 2010).

Plaintiff who sought to rescind adoption after 35 years failed to bring an action to set aside the adoption within a reasonable time, barring the court from finding the adoption to be legally void. In re S.D., 251 P.3d 1188 (Colo. App. 2010).

Applied in In re Adoption of P.H.A., 899 P.2d 345 (Colo. App. 1995).

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