As a family law attorney for many years, I am heartened by the willingness of devoted stepparents as they take on larger roles in families divided by divorce. The principal object of stepparent adoption is to promote the welfare of the child.
If you are thinking about creating a legal parental relationship with your stepchild, a lawyer knowledgeable in Michigan adoption laws and case history can provide significant help in handling the adoption process properly. Please contact me for a personal consultation about step parent adoption in Michigan. For over fourteen years, I have supported and counseled people just like you.
The Process for Step Parent Adoption in Michigan
Voluntary Consent of Both Parents:
When you wish to adopt your stepchild, both parents – your spouse (the custodial parent) and the child's non-custodial birth parent – must agree to the stepparent adoption.
Clearly, the easiest and most amicable stepparent adoptions happen when the other parent voluntarily agrees to give up their legal parental rights. Some parents are willing to consent because they understand that it is in the child's best interest. Still other natural parents may agree to terminate their rights as the child's parent in an attempt to avoid child support. However, termination of parental rights does not release a parent from potential child support obligations.
Contested Step Parent Adoption in Michigan
Many parents object to stepparent adoption, because they would be relinquishing all of their parental rights. Depending upon the child custody agreements, these may include their right to visit the child, make decisions about their child's health, and moral and educational upbringing. In these cases, you must petition the court to terminate the parental rights through court procedure.
Michigan adoption laws uphold that the non-custodial parent's rights to the child may be involuntarily terminated only if both of the following requirements are proven true:
- The parent is able to support the child, but has failed to make any provisions of regular and substantial support for the child; and
- The parent has regularly and substantially failed or neglected to see their child for a period of two years or more before the filing of the adoption petition
Also, in cases where the child is 14 years or older, the child must consent to the stepparent adoption.
Stepparents play a tremendous role in the life of a child. As a stepparent, you become a central figure to your wife or husband's children. Stepparent adoption in Michigan by law recognizes the relationship you have with your child. It is a legal status that brings security to the child and into the home, by knowing that you have all of the parental rights of a birth parent. Step parent adoption allows you to continue the relationship even if something happens to your spouse.
Again, as in all family law issues involving children, it is paramount to keep the child's best interests as the overriding priority. A birth parent should not be removed from the life of his or her child, simply because the adults no longer wish to deal with one another any longer. Michigan adoption laws and proper counsel help see to that.
Contact Adoption Attorney Cameron Goulding
As your attorney, it is my job to listen to your concerns, so I can help you protect what is most important to you and your children. To learn more, contact me about step parent adoption in Michigan today. An initial consultation and case evaluation is available.
I have helped many stepparents work through the adoption process throughout Eastern Michigan, including families in Detroit, Troy, Auburn Hills, and Birmingham as well as Oakland, Livingston, Macomb, Lapeer, Genesee and Wayne County.