February 2014


Thank you for taking a moment to read our winter newsletter. This quarter we highlight some critically important legislative changes and Colorado appellate decisions related to adoption, child welfare, and parentage in assisted reproduction cases. We discuss a case that we recently handled which allowed a same sex male couple to both be legally recognized as parents without having to do an adoption for the nonbiological parent. We also highlight one of our many agency partners, International Adoption Net.


We continue to remain extremely busy here at the Law Office of Seth A. Grob and look forward to assisting many more clients with building their families in 2014. As always, if we can be of assistance to you please don't hesitate to reply to this email or call us at (303) 679-8266. We truly appreciate your referrals and the confidence you have placed in us in recommending friends and colleagues to our offices.


Same Sex Couple Legally Recognized as Equal Parents Without an Adoption

A recent decision by the Colorado Court of Appeals, In re Parental Responsibilities of A.R.L., a Child, issued on December 5, 2013, has changed the preference of parentage that biological parents usually receive. The decision reversed a trial court ruling and concluded, "In the context of a same-sex relationship, a child may have two mothers... a biological mother and a presumptive mother."  


This case involved a separation of a same-sex couple where the non-biological mother successfully filed a maternity suit after she had received the child into her home, had held the child out as her own, and had co-parented the child.


This is the first time in Colorado that a non-biological parent in a same-sex relationship is legally recognized as an equal parent without an adoption being completed.


"I've been advocating this a long time in assisted reproduction cases," said Seth Grob. "When a non-biological parent holds him or herself out as a parent and intends to be a parent prior to the embryo implementation, the non-genetic partner or spouse should be legally recognized as an equal parent, without having to do an adoption."


As a result of this ruling, Seth recently filed for and was successful in obtaining a pre-birth court order establishing a same sex male couple as the legal parents of a child. Seth used the appellate case and the new civil union law to successfully argue that they should both be recognized as the legal parents and have their names placed on the birth certificate upon delivery.  No mother will be recognized as the legal parent of the child per the client's wishes.


"This is the first time I have been successful in doing this," said Seth Grob. "Previous to this case, we always needed to do a second-parent adoption following the child's birth to allow the non-genetic partner to be legally recognized as a parent. It's a very important ruling and will make it easier and less expensive for same sex couples in Colorado to now be recognized as legal parents."

Legislative Updates
IRS Issued New Regulations Surrounding the Adoption Tax Credit


The Internal Revenue Services has issued new regulations surrounding the permanent the adoption tax credit. This credit continues to be significant for families who are interested in adopting a child who needs a home. The federal government continues to subsidize adoptions to encourage more adoptions in this country. Additionally, the credit acts to allow families to have the financial resources they need to care for these children long term.


Beginning in 2014, the credit for an adoption of a child with special needs is $13,190. This entire credit is available for special needs children regardless of actual adoption expenses incurred.


The maximum credit allowed for other adoptions (excluding stepparent adoptions), is the amount of qualified adoption expenses up to $13,190. These are credits, not deductions, and are available for each child adopted.


The available adoption credit begins to phase out for taxpayers with modified adjusted gross income in excess of $197,880 and is completely phased out for taxpayers with modified adjusted gross income of $237,880 or more.


If you are considering adoption, please be sure to consult an experienced adoption attorney at the Law Office of Seth A. Grob or your tax consultant to learn more about this important financial benefit.



Accuracy for Adoptees Act


On January 16, 2014, President Obama signed into law the Accuracy for Adoptees Act. This law helps children adopted in foreign countries who have been given inaccurate birthdates abroad. This is a common problem when children are abandoned at orphanages without any birth record or are purposely provided inaccurate birth dates to make it easier for particularly older children to be adopted. While there is an existing state court process in Colorado and other U.S. jurisdictions where these families can present medical, education, and dental evidence to support a request for an amended date of birth that is appropriate for the child's true age, U.S. agencies historically would not accept these amended dates. As a result, these children ended up with two different dates of birth - one on their federal documents (e.g., passport, social security card) and the new date on their state documents (e.g. birth certificate, driver's license). This created a multitude of problems as these children age, from improper school placement and extracurricular activities, inability to obtain a passport, and even accusations of identity fraud when two different dates of birth exist for one child.


The new law solves these problems by requiring federal agencies to recognize amended birth dates as issued by state courts. The law removes the bureaucracy, red tape and endless dead ends that families have previously faced.


The Law Office of Seth A. Grob has extensive experience in assisting foreign born adopted children who have vastly inaccurate birth dates. Because of the new law, we are now recommending that birth dates be amended if there is a significant discrepancy between the child's foreign date of birth and their likely true age.

Colorado Supreme Court Confirms Relatives Can Intervene in Dependency and Neglect Cases
In a recent Colorado Supreme Court case, In the Interest of O.C., the court held that parents, grandparents, and relatives are permitted to intervene in dependency and neglect cases as a matter of right. The court held that for such relatives there is no requirement to have the child in their physical care for any length of time. The three-month statutory requirement of physical care, however, will continue to apply to foster parents seeking to intervene.


This opinion allows relatives to be more involved in dependency and neglect cases, allowing them to litigate or advocate for children in their extended families. Relatives can be more meaningfully involved in proceedings and provide important information to the court.


"There is no limitation on how many relatives can come forward to participate in proceedings and that concerns some attorneys who practice in child welfare, " said Tim Eirich, senior associate with the Law Office of Seth A. Grob. "But with more people comes more information and will lead to better discussions about the child's best interests. The impact of this opinion will bring a lot of benefit to children in the child welfare system. Additionally, our office expects to represent greater numbers of relatives seeking to obtain permanent care and custody of a child in the child welfare system."

Partner Spotlight: International Adoption Net
We highlight one of the many valuable partners we work with in each newsletter 

Founded in 1999, International Adoption Net is a licensed, full-service child placement agency and nonprofit based in Centennial, Colorado. They are a Hague-accredited agency and currently have programs in Ethiopia, Uganda, India, Mexico and Bulgaria. The agency is also growing their domestic adoption program called Adoption Network of Colorado.


"Since we are a small agency we are able to give more individual attention," said adoption coordinator Casey Howell. "Coordinators are in the office much more and we encourage our families to come in and meet with us personally to complete their paperwork."


"We also have two teams of people for international adoptions," said Tami Richmond, program supervisor. "Team one works with the family until they get a referral and team two helps with court and embassy issues. That way there are multiple people familiar with a family's case."


The Law Office of Seth A. Grob is the agency's general counsel for domestic adoptions and offers legal advice for international adoptions.


"We had a very difficult case a while back and I probably talked to Tim [Eirich] every day," said Casey Howell. "He really knows the laws and told us what we needed to do as the agency. He would also get back to me right away when I had questions, which was important in this challenging case."


"International Adoption Net brings a high degree of professionalism and expertise to their work," said Seth Grob. "We've enjoyed our partnership over the past four years."


International Adoption Net will host a fundraising dinner, "Night of Hope", on May 3, 2014 to raise money to build a kindergarten school and send medical supplies to Ethiopia, their largest international program.

Tim Eirich Accepted into the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys

Tim Eirich, Senior Associate with the Law Office of Seth A. Grob, has been accepted into the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys.


The American Academy of Adoption Attorneys (AAAA) is an Academy of approximately 340 members throughout the U.S. and Canada who are experts in the complexities of adoption law and the variety of interstate and international regulations surrounding adoption.


Membership is invitational and difficult to receive. Fellows all have acted as counsel in at least 50 adoption proceedings, including 10 interstate placements, and have demonstrated that their practice maintains the highest standards of ethics, competence and professionalism.


"I'm thrilled, but not surprised, that Tim was accepted," said Seth Grob, the recent past vice president of AAAA. "He'll be an excellent asset to the Academy and will be able to share his expertise and knowledge, especially in public and private contested adoption cases."

The Law Office of Seth A. Grob
31425 Forestland Drive; Evergreen, CO 80439
303-679-8266  seth@sethgrob.com
  Seth Grob logo