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Adopting a Stepchild in Michigan: Benefits and Process

Posted on in Family Law

Farmington Hills stepparent adoption lawyerIf you have been helping to raise your spouse’s children for some time now, you probably consider them “your” children already, even if they are not “yours” biologically and legally. Obviously, you cannot do anything about the biological part. But have you thought about legally adopting your stepchildren

Benefits of Stepparent Adoption

You might choose to adopt your spouse’s child for any or all of these reasons:

  • To secure for you all the legal rights of a parent to make healthcare, educational, and other decisions on behalf of the child. This could be crucial if the child has a medical emergency.
  • To protect your long-term rights as a parent in case of divorce or the death of your spouse. This could become urgent should your spouse become seriously ill.
  • To give your stepchildren the same right of inheritance that a biological child would have.
  • To create a sense of equality in the family when you have a mix of children who are biologically yours, biologically your spouse’s, and/or biologically related or even unrelated to both of you.
  • To officially sever the child’s relationship with a living biological parent who has not been a positive force in the child’s life.
  • To confirm that you, your spouse, and the children are all one permanent family, creating a stronger sense of family security. 

Process for Adopting Stepchildren

Michigan state law requires that you take a number of steps in order to legally adopt your stepchildren. Below are a few key steps in the process; consult an experienced adoption attorney for further details.

  1. You or your attorney must file a petition for adoption with the circuit court for your county. A variety of documents, such as the child’s birth certificate and a copy of your marriage certificate, will be required. 
  2. The court will order an investigator to interview you and your spouse to confirm that it is in the child’s best interests to be adopted. 
  3. If the other biological parent is still living, you must either obtain their consent to the adoption or petition the court for involuntary termination of their parental rights. If the child’s biological parents were never married or are legally divorced, the court can approve the involuntary termination of a parent’s rights if that parent failed to provide financial support and failed to have contact with the child for two or more years, despite having the ability to do both.
  4. A caseworker may also interview the child being adopted. If the child is age 14 or older, the child’s consent to the adoption is required. Note that Michigan does allow the adoption of persons over the age 18.

Once the adoption is finalized, you will be able to obtain a new birth certificate for the child. 

Trusted Adoption and Family Law Attorneys in Southeast Michigan

If your spouse has children from a prior relationship, and you are thinking about adopting them, seek the advice of an experienced Oakland County adoption lawyer. Call Elkouri Heath PLC at 248-344-9700 to schedule a free initial consultation with a family law attorney at our Novi, Michigan office. 

Sources:

https://www.michigan.gov/documents/dhs/DHS-PUB-0823_221566_7.pdf

http://www.legislature.mi.gov/(S(53nbu4j5t53j5tde3h4aqta0))/mileg.aspx?page=getObject&objectName=mcl-710-43

https://www.oakgov.com/courts/circuit/Documents/adoption-forms/ad-stepparent-requirements.pdf

Oakland County Bar Association State Bar of Michigan Collaborative Practice Institute of Michigan WCCDBA Woman Lawyers Association of Michigan
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