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Adoption

Overview

Varnum's Family Law Team is experienced in handling contested and uncontested stepparent and adult adoptions in counties throughout Michigan. The most common adoption in Michigan is the stepparent adoption, which is available in two circumstances:

  1. The parents were married at time of their child(ren)'s birth and were subsequently divorced. The custodial parent has remarried and his or her new spouse wishes to adopt the child or children and is willing to assume financial responsibility for the child(ren).
  2. The parents were never married and the custodial parent has married someone else. His or her new spouse wishes to adopt the child or children and is willing to assume financial responsibility for the child(ren).

In the second circumstance, paternity may or may not have been established.

Consent of the biological, non-custodial parent is usually required for a stepparent adoption. However, a stepparent adoption can be completed over the objections of that parent by terminating their rights if he or she has “abandoned” the child. To "involuntarily" terminate the biological parent's rights, Michigan statute requires that (a) the parent, having the ability to support, or assist in supporting, the child, has failed or neglected to provide regular and substantial support for the child or if a support order has been entered, has failed to substantially comply with the order, for a period of two years or more before the filing of the petition, AND (b) the parent, having the ability to visit, contact, or communicate with the child, has regularly and substantially failed or neglected to do so for a period of two years or more before the filing of the petition.

Also, if the child is 14 years of age or older, the child’s consent to the stepparent adoption is required.

Varnum attorneys are experienced in both types of adoptions and can help guide you through the often complicated process.

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