The 2005 post on step-parent adoptions has received so many comments that Typepad cannot accommodate any more. Therefore, I am re-posting this article so that all of the many people who are interested in this topic can read it here and post their comments and questions below.
The most common adoption in Michigan is the stepparent adoption. This kind of adoption is available in cases where
(1) the parents were married at time of birth, 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) or
(2) the parents were never married, 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). In the latter case, sometimes paternity has been established and sometimes it has not been determined.
Consent of the biological non-custodial parent is usually required for a stepparent adoption. However, if a biological parent has “abandoned” the child, then Michigan law provides that the parent’s rights to the child may be involuntarily terminated if:
(a) The other 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 2 years or more before the filing of the petition, AND
(b) The other 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 2 years or more before the filing of the petition.
Be aware that the court must determine that the requirements of subsections (a) and (b) are both satisfied. Also, if the child is 14 years of age or older, the child’s consent to the stepparent adoption is required.
IMPORTANT UPDATE: November 7, 2013
To read other posts about step-parent adoptions, especially a 2013 post about a serious challenge to the lagality of these adoption that will be resolved by the Michigan Supreme Court, see the following posts:
In the Matter of AJR, a very important case that will determine the future of step-parent adoptions [See Post here]Access all step-parent adoption posts here.
Adoption cases have long been of special interest to Jeanne Hannah. To contact Jeanne Hannah with your questions or to view her Family Law website, click here.