What Kinds of Legal Obstacles Can Happen in the Adoption Process?
Families who have experience with adoption know that it can be difficult. The adoption process is complex and involves many legal steps. It is particularly complicated for prospective parents.
Although the complications may seem like they are unnecessary, the process is multifaceted to ensure that adoptions are legally durable. When everything is done right, it helps the parents and child to have the smoothest possible transition into their new family dynamics.
In the following article, we will discuss some of the most common legal obstacles encountered during the adoption process.
Many adoptive parents are afraid that their child’s birth parents will change their minds about adoption. This does sometimes happen.
Most states allow a child’s biological mother to withdraw her consent regarding the adoption process. Some states even allow the birth mother to change her mind at any point before the adoption is finalized.
Under Michigan state law, biological mothers cannot fully consent to the adoption before the birth of the child. Because of this, adoptive parents sometimes face legal obstacles.
A birth father may also wish to leverage their parental rights to block the adoption process. A biological father that is not legally married to the child’s mother is known as a “putative” father.
With legal changes in the 1970s, putative fathers can secure certain rights that relate to their child. To establish parental rights, the putative father must:
- Provide a signed birth certificate
- Provide support for the child
- Obtain a court order establishing paternity
- Submit to the registry of putative fathers
In most cases, the father will need to take these steps prior to the time that the birth mother petitions the court for an adoption.
If the child’s father was unaware of the birth, the law may be on their side. But they will need to take sufficient steps to show that they are motivated by the welfare of the child.
Open Adoption Challenges
Open adoptions make it possible for a biological family to secure visitation rights with the adopted child. This model assumes that it is beneficial for the adoptee to maintain contact with their birth family.
Whether this type of arrangement is necessarily beneficial is an open question. But this type of adoption can result in disputes. This is especially true if the child feels like they must choose between their birth parents and their adoptive family.
An open adoption requires both the birth parents and the adoptive family to draft and sign an agreement. The open adoption agreement must also receive approval within the courts.
Religious Exemptions from the Law
In Michigan, adoption agencies are allowed to discriminate among adoptive parents based on the agency’s religious affiliation.
For instance, suppose that a same-sex couple hopes to begin their family through adoption. Under Michigan state law, a Christian adoption agency that is not LGBT affirming would not be required to provide equal services to the couple. This is another legal obstacle that prospective parents sometimes face.
Contacting a Family Law Attorney
While these legal obstacles can be frustrating, an accomplished attorney can help your family through the adoption process.
If you are hoping to adopt a child, it is crucial to secure qualified legal counsel. Turn to adoption law experts, like the team at Gucciardo Family Law, to learn more about the process.
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