Can I Legally Adopt My Step-Child? Yes, you may be able to adopt your step-child legally. However, it is essential to note that a child can only have two legal parents in Michigan, so for a new spouse to adopt their step-child, the child’s birth parent must agree to terminate their parental rights. In rare cases, parental rights can also be terminated by the court. This can be a very challenging obstacle when attempting to adopt a step-child, so it is usually in the parent’s best interest to consult a family law attorney.
The process is slightly different if you want to adopt a relative. Sometimes, a family member may agree to adopt a relative’s child legally. The main difference between a direct adoption between unrelated people and adopting a relative’s child is that the home study can be conducted by the court rather than an adoption agency. After the child is born, the birth parents authorize the child to be discharged into the care of the adoptive parents. The family will undergo a similar period of supervision before the adoption is finalized.
Though adoption is one of the most rewarding experiences for our clients, the process can be confusing and overwhelming. In Michigan, there are no strict requirements prohibiting certain people from adopting. In Michigan, anyone can adopt if they are an adult, whether married or not. There is also no age limit. However, this does not mean that every adoption application will be successful.
A direct adoption allows the birth parents to select the adoptive parents without the involvement of an adoption agency in the selection process. Under Michigan Statutes Section 710.24(6), adoptive parents in a direct adoption in Michigan must complete a pre-placement assessment within one year before filing the petition for adoption. The assessment must find that the parent is suitable to adopt. An adoption agency handles the pre-placement assessment. The evaluation examines the adoptive parents’ physical and financial health, as well as their home environment and overall suitability to parent. They also generally undergo family history checks, criminal background checks, and other due diligence to ensure the parents do not have a history of violence or abuse.
After a child is placed in the home, the family undergoes a short period of supervision to ensure the arrangement is working, after which the adoption is finalized.
Melissa Pearce & Associates has handled countless family law cases, from divorce to child custody to adoption. We know that every family is unique, and we treat each client with the respect and diligence they deserve. Contact our office at (248) 397-9606 to discuss your case with a trusted Michigan family law attorney.