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I’m a Single Parent – Can I Adopt in Michigan?In the past, the nuclear family was preferred for adoption over other family makeups and dynamics; however, this has changed as society has modernized and the vision of the “American family” has expanded. Many single parents incorrectly believe that they cannot adopt due to their relationship status. In 2017 alone, almost 15,000 single women and nearly 2,000 single men adopted children or youth from foster care. For single women or men looking to adopt a child, it is important to consider how single parenthood would affect their lifestyle and to look at their various options to make an informed decision on the matter.

Lifestyle Changes

It is no secret that having a child changes an adult’s life forever. This is especially true of those looking to embark on this journey alone. Single individuals considering adoption should look at the following three areas to see if they are ready to take that step:

  1. Time Management: This is a skill that every parent is forced to learn when they bring their child home. Balancing work, your child’s needs, and your social life by yourself can be a difficult task. Before single parents move forward with the adoption, it is important to see how they would “fit” their child into their day while making them a priority.
  2. Financial Investment: Children are the most expensive investment a person can make. Necessities such as food, clothing, and doctor’s visits are enough to make a future parent’s head spin. When you think about the possible costs of education or extracurriculars, the investment may seem impossible. Parents should look at their financial stability before making a lifelong commitment to caring for a child.
  3. Relationships: Children can take up most of a parent’s time, making it difficult to start new relationships if they are not already in one. Children can complicate the dynamics of a new relationship and sometimes stop them altogether. Before deciding that a child is in your immediate future, you may want to look at your willingness to prioritize your child over romantic relationships to come.

What Are the Different Types of Adoption?

Aside from adopting a family member or stepchild, there are three different types of adoption available to those looking to grow their family.

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Posted on in Family Law

How To Establish Paternity in MichiganWhen a married couple has a child together, the husband of the woman who gave birth to the child is automatically considered the child’s father in the eyes of the law. The father does not need to take any action to establish paternity and become the child’s official parent. However, the same is not true for unmarried couples. If you are an unmarried father who wishes to become your child’s legal parent, you will have to take some steps to officially establish the parent-child relationship.

Establishing Parentage Can Benefit Your Child in Many Ways

Even if you know that you are the biological parent of your child, there are several benefits of formally establishing parentage or paternity. Establishing paternity can give your child a better sense of self and open the doors for them to form a relationship with extended family. Furthermore, establishing paternity allows your child to benefit from your:

  • Health insurance
  • Inheritance
  • Pensions
  • Social security
  • Veteran’s benefits

A child whose father has established paternity will also be able to access the father’s medical history, which can be extremely important if the child experiences certain health concerns.

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Oakland County LBGTQ adoption lawyerSame-sex couples looking to adopt a child in Michigan have reason to celebrate. Recently, the state recognized its commitment to federally mandated nondiscriminatory provisions in its foster care and adoption agency contracts. 

In March 2019, the Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel settled a lawsuit by same-sex couples who argued they were turned away as adoption candidates by faith-based adoption centers based on sexual orientation. Now, faith-based adoption agencies that benefit from state funding are no longer allowed to turn away LGBTQ candidates based on religious reasons. Nessel stated that a 2015 law that allowed state-contracted adoption centers to refuse adoptions based on religious premises violates federal anti-discrimination laws.

In accordance with this policy, the Michigan Department of Human Services must abide by federal nondiscriminatory policies in it's foster care and adoption agencies. If adoption centers are not following these federal policies, their funding will be cut.

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Novi MI adoption lawyerAdoption can be a long and difficult process, but it is one that can lead to great excitement and a new family. For this reason, people do not enter into the adoption process lightly. Even after an adoption is complete, there are still legal issues that will need to be addressed. One such issue pertains to the birth certificate of adopted children, which will always have special conditions. 

Adopted Children Have Two Birth Certificates

Adopted children have an original birth certificate from their birth parents and a new one from when their new parents finalize the adoption. Many adopted children want to know more information about their birth parents once they learn that they were adopted. The date, time, and place of birth are the same on both certificates. The original birth certificate contains the birth mother’s name and the given name of the child. It is often the case that the birth certificate will not contain the birth father’s name, as it is not necessary for a birth certificate. Not having the father’s name on the birth certificate will make it difficult if the child wants to track down his birth father in the future. The new birth certificate has the name of the adoptive parents and the new name given to the child (if there is one).   

Limited Access to Original Birth Certificate 

The original birth certificate is sealed by the state registrar after the adoption is complete. In 25 states, the birth certificate can be obtained by consent of all three parties (child, adoptive parents, and the birth parent). In the remaining states, a court order is required. Obtaining the original birth certificate is a lot easier if the adoption is an open adoption. Open adoption means there is an agreement that allows the birth parent to be a part of the adopted child’s life. Over 90 percent of adoptions are open adoptions. Open adoptions will allow adopted children better access to the medical history and original birth certificate.

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Oakland County adoption lawyerIt is always exciting when a couple decides to pursue adoption. It is an important and big decision that involves undertaking a complex legal process. However, when an adoption is executed properly, it can yield great rewards. If you are considering adoption, it is important to find a reputable adoption lawyer to handle your case. To prepare for the adoption process, let’s go through some important points to consider.  

Hire the Right Professional

To reiterate, it is important to hire an adoption attorney to handle your case. If you try to google “adoption process” on your own, the information can be very overwhelming. There are businesses who call themselves “adoption facilitators” who act as a third-party between you and the adoption agency. Adoption facilitators are not a requirement for the adoption process and are actually illegal in 15 states. If you are approached by a third-party vendor (not an attorney or agency) who claims they can help you find a birth mother, it is wise to turn the other way. Unfortunately, parents seeking adoption are easily scammed due to their vulnerable position.

Know Your Costs

The average adoption costs $40,000. If a third-party vendor offers a much lower rate, it is important to be very suspicious. If you hire an agency for a lower rate, it is important to vet and fact-check all details. Is the agency including travel costs for the birth mother or are there other hidden charges? If costs are rising, it is important to make educated choices rather than emotional ones.

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