In Michigan, parenting is not limited to a biological link between parent and child. In many cases, a stepparent has served as a child’s parent and provided support, nurturing, care and a positive environment that adheres to the child’s best interests. To ensure that the relationship is viewed as one that legally links that parent and child even if they are not related by blood, a stepparent adoption can be considered. Since every situation is different and will warrant legal assistance that is tailored to the case, it is beneficial to have professional guidance from the start.
Understanding stepparent adoption and its requirements
Adoption in Michigan can be complex regardless of the circumstances, so it is important to remember the fundamental facts. A stepparent is categorized as a person who is related to the adoptee within the “fifth degree.” When a stepparent wants to adopt a child and the biological parent divorced the other biological parent, there is a required consent from the noncustodial parent for the adoption to take place. This is because the noncustodial parent’s parental rights will be terminated as part of the legal process of adoption. If the noncustodial parent does not agree, the court can also terminate the parental rights because of a failure to live up to parental responsibilities.
Potential issues that might arise in stepparent adoption cases
Every family circumstance is different. In some, there might be willingness on the part of a biological parent to allow a stepparent to adopt his or her child. Other challenges that might come up include the investigation that the state will conduct to ensure that the home is suitable, if negotiation needs to take place to move forward with the adoption, filing the appropriate forms, adhering to various laws, changing the child’s name and more. To avoid acrimony or deal with disputes, knowing the law and following it is imperative.
Comprehensive assistance may be needed with stepparent adoptions
Some stepparent adoptions might be relatively simple and harmonious with everyone on the same page looking to serve the child’s needs. In others, emotions might run high when there is a stepparent adoption or an attempt to terminate a noncustodial parent’s rights. With these cases, it is essential to have professional advice from the start. Consulting with those experienced in all areas of family law might be helpful to achieve a positive result.