Elkouri Heath, PLC

248-344-9700

39555 Orchard Hill Place, Suite 215, Novi, MI 48375

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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Novi MI paternity lawyerThe only way a child’s paternity is automatically established in Michigan is if the mother was married at the time the child was conceived or born. The man the woman was or is married to is automatically presumed by the state of Michigan to be the child’s legal father. If the mother was unmarried when the child was conceived or born, then the parents of the child must take extra steps to establish a legal father for the child. This process can be wrought with confusion and stress, but it is necessary to ensure that your child has the resources he or she needs to thrive.

Benefits of Establishing Paternity

There are many reasons why people work to establish the paternity of their children. Without established paternity, there is no legal tie between a father and his child, even if it is truly his biological child. Other benefits of establishing paternity include:

  • A sense of identity. It is always good for children to know who their parents are. This allows the child to have a sense of identity and paves the way to allow the child to have a sense of belonging.
  • Ties to extended family. Having established paternity also allows the child to know his or her extended family. It is important that children grow up knowing their family members as it allows the child to develop a sense of family and belonging.
  • Financial support. One of the main reasons people seek to establish paternity is for financial support. You cannot get child support from a man if you do not have him established as the child’s legal father. 
  • Being eligible for certain benefits. Children have the right to certain benefits that their parents can provide. By establishing paternity, a child has the right to his or her father’s health and life insurance, Social Security, pensions, veteran’s benefits and inheritance.
  • Knowing the child’s family medical history. This can be especially beneficial for the child down the road if they need to know their parents’ medical history. If the child’s legal father has not been established, the child has no right to access his or her father’s medical records, which can be lifesaving in some cases.

An Oakland County Paternity Attorney Can Help

The easiest way to establish a child’s paternity is by having both the mother and the father sign an Affidavit of Parentage form. Unfortunately, not all fathers will voluntarily step up to take care of their parental responsibilities. In that situation, you can file a paternity case to have your child’s paternity established. These can be long and tedious, but at Elkouri Heath, PLC, we can guide you throughout the process. Our skilled Novi MI paternity lawyers can help you with all of the paperwork and legalities involved in establishing paternity. Call our office today at 248-344-9700 to schedule a free consultation.

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MI family lawyerThe most common forms of adoption are family adoptions, specifically stepparent adoptions. Stepparent adoptions take place when one parent’s new spouse wants to adopt the child of that parent. This can help establish a more secure connection between the parent’s spouse and the child, but it can be difficult to attain, especially if the child’s other parent objects to the adoption. Stepparent adoptions can be important to families who want to bring themselves closer to each other and establish more secure ties, but they can also be stressful and emotionally demanding.

Parental Rights and Step Parent Adoption

Michigan law only allows a child to have two legal parents at any one time. This means that if a stepparent wants to adopt the child, the child’s current legal parent must agree to the adoption, voluntarily giving up their legal parental rights to the child. If the judge approves a stepparent adoption, the child’s other parent will lose all custody and visitation rights. They will also no longer be required to pay child support or have any other obligations to the child. These rights will all be transferred to the stepparent. Even if the stepparent and the child’s parent divorce in the future, the stepparent will still be the legal parent of the child.

If a Parent Objects to the Adoption

In order for a stepparent to adopt a child, the child’s other parent must consent to the adoption. If they do not consent to the adoption, the only way it can move forward is by an involuntary termination of parental rights. This can only be established by proving that the child’s other parent is unfit. Being unfit can mean that the parent has not provided support for the child and has failed to visit or contact the child.

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MI family lawyerThe majority of parents who get divorced will share parenting time of their children. It is rare these days that you see one parent given sole custody and decision-making responsibilities and the other parent left with nothing. Most divorce courts recognize that unless a parent is abusive or detrimental to the child’s wellbeing, it is in the child’s best interest to have both parents active and present in his or her life. Co-parenting is never easy, especially if your divorce was less-than-amicable -- which most are not. Though it will not come without serious time and effort on your part, successful co-parenting can be achieved and these tips can help:

Realize You Now Have a Different Relationship with Your Ex

Though you are no longer married, your relationship with your ex will be forever because of your child. It will not be the same relationship that you had during your marriage and that is important to realize. It is easier to think of your co-parenting relationship like a business relationship - it does not matter how you feel about your ex. What matters is the happiness and wellbeing of your child.

Work on Your Communication

Communication is key to successful co-parenting. Though you may still have feelings of anger or resentment toward your ex, you must put those aside for the sake of your child. It can help to keep a business-like tone when talking to your ex. It reminds both you and them that your new relationship is not one that concerns feelings. It can also be helpful to keep your conversations strictly about your child. It does not matter what you want or they want - what does your child want and need?

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