Helping Relatives And Stepparents Become Parents
At The Law Office of Dion Roddy, I take a caring approach to guiding clients through the adoption process. In some adoption cases, a relative or stepparent would like to adopt a child. As with any adoption petition, courts in Michigan requires extensive steps to make sure that the adoption is in the child’s best interests. I can help you navigate the complicated and complex process.
Taking The Next Step: Relative And Stepparent Adoptions
In some adoption scenarios, a relative is the natural choice as an adoptive parent for a child. Michigan law defines a relative as someone who is over the age of 18 and related to the child by blood, marriage or adoption within the fifth degree. This includes:
- Great- or great-great-grandparents
- Sibling or stepsiblings
- Aunts or uncles
- Great- or great-great aunts or uncles
- The spouse of any of the relatives mentioned above
If the relative has already been caring for the child, the path toward adoption might have already begun with a court-appointed guardianship. Likewise, it is not uncommon that a stepparent may want to officially adopt the child of his or her spouse. Officially pursuing the adoption of a stepchild can be a logical next step for a family. This is especially true if the noncustodial parent has been absent or uninvolved.
Terminating Parental Rights
However, in either case, Michigan law only allows for a child to have two parents. In order for a relative or stepparent to legally adopt a child, the parental rights of the noncustodial parent(s) must be terminated first. This can happen voluntarily if a biological parent is willing to give up their parental rights. If the biological parent is not willing to relinquish their rights, and the stepparent or relative would like to pursue an adoption anyway, they can pursue the matter as a contested adoption and seek an involuntary termination of parental rights. Under certain conditions, the court may consider and grant the petition, which will then allow the relative or stepparent to pursue a petition for adoption.
In any adoption proceeding, the court considers everything from the perspective of the child’s best interest. Depending on the circumstances, the court will conduct its own investigation to determine what is best for the child. This can include collecting information about family histories and an investigation of the home environment of the parent(s) looking to adopt. I have the professional experience to help you navigate this process and the personal experience to relate to what you are going through as we do.
Get Your Questions Answered. Call Today.
Every adoption scenario has a unique set of facts and circumstances, especially in a relative or stepparent adoption proceeding. This can make an already complicated process even more complex. Let me help you. Call me today at 248-800-1875 or email me to schedule your free consultation.