Attorneys Answer: What Are the Most Common Questions Families Have About Adoption in Michigan?
Adopting a new member into your family can be a big and exciting decision. You may want to adopt a newborn baby because you’re not able to have your own or you might choose to take a foster child in as a full member of your home.
Adoptions come in many forms. In the state of Michigan, even adults can be adopted if they consent. Regardless of your reasons for pursuing adoption, you might have a lot of questions about the process. Here are some of the most common questions we hear.
Can Stepparents Adopt Their Stepchildren?
Michigan law allows stepparents to adopt their spouse’s child or children. Certain conditions must be met, however.
The child’s biological parents must be divorced or never married to each other. The noncustodial parent must also voluntarily give up their rights to the child or the rights must be taken away from them legally by the courts. And if the child is over 14, they must agree to the adoption.
In some cases, the court might also require the petitioning couple to be married for one full year before allowing the adoption.
Once the adoption is finalized, the other biological parent holds no further rights or responsibilities for the child. The stepparent will legally be the parent and will assume all responsibilities associated with those rights.
If the couple divorces in later years, for instance, the adoptive parent will be responsible for child support and custody arrangements.
Can the Birth Parents Change Their Minds?
In Michigan, birth mothers are not legally allowed to fully consent to the adoption until after the baby is born. Sometimes, the mother changes her mind, which complicates the adoption process.
A biological father also has legal rights to the child and can object to the adoption. Even if the mother and father are not married, the father can legally secure rights to the child. If the father was unaware of the baby, the courts may also extend rights to him.
Can the Adoption Agency Legally Base Decisions on Religion?
In the state of Michigan, religion can legally play a role in the adoption process. A Christian-based agency is legally allowed to refuse services to a same-sex couple, for instance.
Is an Open Adoption Best?
Open adoption is one in which the birth parents know who adopted their child and have information about where they live. Some agreements allow the biological parents to be actively involved in the child’s life.
Advocates for open adoption feel it’s the best compromise for everyone involved, as it allows a child to know about their parents. Complications can arise, however, if the birth parents and adoptive parents have conflicting desires and beliefs about raising a child.
There may also be power struggles or situations that place the child in the difficult position of feeling like they have to choose one parent over another.
Interested in Pursuing Adoption in Michigan?
For help with these concerns and other common Michigan adoption questions, contact the adoption attorneys at Gucciardo Family Law. We can help you to navigate the process and explore your legal options.
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We focus exclusively on family law matters so we are always available to answer your questions and help.