Elkouri Heath, PLC

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5 Tips for Adjusting to a Blended Family After a Michigan AdoptionAdopting a child can be one of the most rewarding experiences of a person’s life. In many cases, adoption gives a loving, safe home to a child in need. Some couples who cannot have biological children of their own may choose to adopt. Other spouses may decide they would like to expand their family through adoption, even if they already have kids of their own. Having siblings can be a wonderful way to grow up. However, there can be a period of adjustment for everyone involved. The following are a few ways to ease the transition for parents and children alike. It is also important to enlist the help of a knowledgeable family law attorney to make your dream come true.   

Creating a Sense of Belonging

Although it is a very exciting time in your life, adopting can also be challenging, especially if your adopted child will be welcomed to your home by new siblings. Here is some practical advice on how to alleviate some of the stress on all family members: 

  1. Include Your Current Children in the Process: Depending on the age of your biological children, they may or may not understand the process your family is embarking on. Talk to them in an age-appropriate language that will help them make sense of the changes that are about to take place and how they will impact their daily routine. 
  2. Gather as Much Information as Possible: Obtain as many details as you can on your adopted child’s medical history, as well as his or her ethnic background. Explain these differences to your children and try to incorporate any cultural traditions into your family.
  3. Beware of Playing Favorites: As a parent, it is important to avoid favoritism with any of your kids. Special treatment of either your adopted child or your biological kids is not fair to anyone. Similarly, disciplining should be consistent for every child. 
  4. Acknowledge Birth Order: Consider that older or younger children may feel some resentment or jealousy if they are no longer the oldest or youngest. It will take time for everyone to get used to their “new normal” after adding another family member, so try not to rush it. Allow your kids to share their feelings by having an open mind and listening.
  5. Seek Family Therapy or Counseling: If any of your children are acting out as a result of the adoption, it might be a wise investment to talk to professionals in child or family counseling. A social worker, family therapist, or adoption specialist can guide your family through this new transition. 

Contact a Farmington Hills Adoption Lawyer

Adoption can be a long and complicated process, but it is worth it in the end. If you are considering adopting a child, it is crucial that you hire an experienced legal team to ensure you complete all the required steps. The distinguished law firm of Elkouri Heath, PLC, has been providing families in southeast Michigan with quality legal services for more than 20 years. We have assisted numerous clients on both sides of family adoption proceedings. Our dedicated Novi, MI, family law attorneys are adept at navigating the adoption process in a thorough and efficient manner. Call our office today at 248-244-9700 to schedule your free consultation.

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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 lawyerSometimes, when parents remarry, they want their new spouse to become the legal parent of their child. Though stepparent adoption can come with many benefits, under Michigan law, a child can only have a maximum of two legal parents at one time. This means if you want your new spouse to legally adopt your child, you must first have your child’s biological parent relinquish their parental rights or have them revoked by the court, which can only happen in certain situations. Stepparent adoption can be a tricky process to navigate, but it does not have to be.

  1. Contact the Courthouse

The first step in the stepparent adoption process is to contact the courthouse in the county in which you reside. The will be able to tell you the specific steps you need to take when proceeding with the adoption process. You will also be able to get the forms you need to fill out to file for adoption.

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