gtag('config', 'AW-945928078/0s88CMHj_mMQju-GwwM', { 'phone_conversion_number': '248-723-5190' });

Stepparent Adoption

Birth Father Rights in Michigan Stepparent Adoptions

Birth fathers have rights to their children just like birth mothers. These rights can play a significant role in stepparent adoptions. Stepparents are usually only able to adopt their stepchildren under very specific circumstances.

Legally, What Is a Father?

Under Michigan law, a legal father is the husband of a child’s birth mother. A father may also sign an acknowledgment of parentage or be declared a father through a paternity action. There are several ways for birth fathers to establish their paternity, depending on the circumstances.

Birth fathers have certain rights, including the right to have equal parenting time and make decisions concerning the child.

What Is a Stepparent Adoption?

A stepparent adoption involves a biological parent and stepparent petitioning the court so that the child is legally considered to be the stepparent’s child. Stepparent adoptions allow them to adopt their spouse’s child after they’ve already assumed a parenting role. The adoption gives the stepparent rights to the child.

Stepparent adoptions are not taken lightly, as they are permanent, and the child’s other parent loses all rights. The stepparent takes on the role of legal parent, a responsibility that continues even if the couple divorces in the future.

Birth Fathers and Michigan Stepparent Adoptions

When a birth father’s paternity has been established, they have rights to their children. These rights cannot be taken away if a stepparent wishes to adopt a man’s child.

A stepparent cannot adopt a child if the birth father has rights to the child. For a stepparent adoption to occur, either of the following must first happen:

  • The birth father must agree to relinquish their parental rights voluntarily
  • The birth father’s parental rights must be involuntarily terminated by a judge

If a birth father agrees to give up their parental rights, voluntary termination is part of the adoption process. The birth father signs certain forms, and the adoption process is much simpler.

Should the birth father not agree to the stepparent adoption, there will be a hearing involving all parties. The judge will decide whether it is fair and appropriate to terminate the birth father’s rights.

Terminating a Birth Father’s Parental Rights

Involuntary termination of parental rights is serious, and judges do not take the matter lightly. A judge will only terminate a birth father’s rights if all of the following are true:

  • The parent married to the petitioning stepparent has sole or joint legal custody
  • The birth father has failed to support the child financially for two or more years
  • The birth father failed to communicate with or visit the child for two or more years
  • The birth father could visit, contact, and support the child during the two years

A judge will typically only terminate a birth father’s rights if the situation calls for such drastic action. Judges always aim to do what is in the children’s best interests.

An Adoption Attorney in Michigan Can Help

Stepparent adoptions can be challenging to navigate. The adoption lawyers at The Gucciardo Law Firm can help you achieve the best possible result for your situation. Contact our firm today to get started.

Too much information?

We focus exclusively on family law matters so we are always available to answer your questions and help.

Leave a Reply