The relationship between stepparents and stepchildren can be complicated. Even when there is love and respect, there can be conflicts and questions about what rights the adults have to care for and discipline the youths. For some Michigan families, stepparent adoption is the right step to clarify familial connections and create legal bonds.
Before an individual can adopt their stepkids, however, there are many legal requirements that must be met. It is important that families seek help from committed family law attorneys before they begin the stepparent adoption process. This can help them understand the 3 facts shared herein as well as the many other items they must manage before their adoptions can move forward.
Fact #1: Consent from the child may be necessary for a stepparent adoption
Michigan requires children who are at least 14 years of age to consent to adoptions by their stepparents. If a child agrees, then their adoption can move forward and they can become the legal child of their birth parent’s spouse. If they do not agree, then the adoption may be halted.
Fact #2: Birth parent consent is also required for stepparent adoptions
Children are born with two birth parents, and for a child to be adopted by a stepparent, their other parent, being the parent who is not married to their stepparent, must agree to the child’s adoption. When a stepparent adoption is approved, the parent who is not married to the stepparent loses their parental rights to the child. Even if the child is their biological offspring, the consenting parent ceases to have legal rights to their child and their child is considered the legal responsibility of their new adoptive parent.
Fact #3: Stepparent adoptions can be emotional and complex
Consent can be a hard thing for birth parents to give when it means losing the right to be a parent to their children. Not all birth parents are willing to allow their exes’ spouses to adopt their biological children. Parents and stepparents who want to go through the stepparent adoption process should be prepared to face challenges and roadblocks when they begin the process.
There are many ways that parents and stepparents can prepare for the stepparent adoption process. The support and counsel of committed family law attorneys who handle adoption cases may make the process easier for those who are ready to begin.