Michigan Laws and Facts Regarding Step-Parent Adoptions
Frequently Asked Questions
A: You must be married for a year (it may be less under certain circumstances) and you must have at least joint custody of the child. In addition, the biological father must consent to the adoption or have a court terminate his rights.
A: A father’s rights can be terminated two ways: by consent or court order. If the biological father refuses to consent and there is a child support order entered, then a separate termination hearing can be held in which you must prove that the father has not substantially complied with the child support in the two years prior to filing. In addition, the father must have had the ability but failed to substantially see the child during the previous two years. If there is no support order in place, than you must show the court that the father has not substantially support or communicated with the child in the past two years.
A: If the biological father is unknown or not listed on the birth certificate then the legal term for the father is “putative father.” To terminated a putative father’s rights, a hearing must be held in which the birth mother states on the record who the putative father is, if known. The putative father must be provide notice of the hearing. If he fails to attend the hearing, most likely his rights will be terminated. Alternatively, he may sign and mail in a specific form stating he is not interested in attending the hearing and consents to his rights being terminated.
A: A new birth certificate will be issued by the State of Michigan after the adoption is finalized. That birth certificate will resemble the child’s original birth certificate, with the only difference being the adoptive parent’s name will be listed as the parent. At the time of the adoption, the adoptee’s name can be changed if you so choose, and the new birth certificate will reflect the name change.
A: A step-parent adoption usually takes between three to six months, depending on whether the birth parent consents to the termination of his or her parental rights.
A: Homestudies are not needed for step-parent adoptions. However, a background check will be done and you must be cleared with the Central Registry to have an approved adoption.
A: A child can be adopted up to the age of 18 but must provide consent after the age of 14. If the child is 18 years or older, he or she may still be adopted, it is just considered an “Adult” adoption.
A: No. The State of Michigan’s law has continued to vary on this issue but as of now, the custodial parent does not have to have sole custody for the child to be adopted.