FAMILY ADOPTIONS IN MICHIGAN
Family adoption where the adoptive person (s) and a birth parent is related within five degrees of blood or marriage.
Voluntary and all are in agreement for an adoptionDefinition of Relative
Relative Adoptions are the most preferred type of adoption, because the child/children get to stay with their biological family. It's important to keep contact with the bio family - knowing where you come from, your family's values, morals, and traditions, your medical history - it all shapes who you are as a person.
Relative - A person related to the adoptee within the fifth degree by marriage, blood or adoption. They include: Parent, step-parent, grandparent, step-grandparent, brother, step-brother, sister, step-sister, uncle, step-uncle, aunt, step-aunt, first cousin, step-first cousin, great-aunt, step-great aunt, great-uncle, step-great uncle, great-grandparent, step-great grandparent, first cousin once removed, step-first cousin once removed, great-great-grandparent, step-great great-grandparent, great-great-uncle, step-great-great-uncle, great-great-aunt, step-great-great-aunt, great-great-great-grandparent, or step-great-great-great-grandparent.
The first step for the family adoption is to have home study done. This evaluation will report the family background of the adopters, length of marriage (if married) income level, criminal background check, social history, age, and occupation, and types of child rearing the adopter(s) have in mind. The State of Michigan police will do a background check. Like the stepparent adoption, the probate court will send an employee to the adopters* home for an investigation.
If the grandparents already have a guardianship in place, and the parent that refused to voluntarily relinquish their parental rights has not visited or supported their child for the last two years before the filing of the petition of the adoption, their parental rights shall be terminated and the child[ren] will be placed with the grandparents for adoption if it is in the child[ren]*s best interest.
Voluntary Termination of Parental Rights
The biological parents are notified and requested to sign off their parental rights. If the biological parents are not involved it the child[ren]*s life and not paying or not wanting to pay child support, they will often sign the termination of parental rights.
Often, the parents have been ordered to pay child support and is behind in payments. IF all the back child support is owed to the a family member with custody, or to a custodial parent, and not to the State, the family member or custodial parent may forgive or waive those amounts, if the biological parents will voluntarily release their parental rights.
Involuntary Termination of Parental RightsInvoluntary Termination of Parental Rights
It needs to be determined if the father is on the child*s Birth Certificate. It needs to be determined if a Court order of paternity has been entered. It needs to be determined if a Judgment of Divorce exists.
Refusal of Non-Custodial Parents to Voluntary Terminate Parental Rights
If the non-custodial parents objects to the family adoption, a separate lawsuit must be filed with the probate court, alleging, neglect. The key point is whether or not the non-custodial parent from the DATE OF THE PETITION FOR ADOPTION FILED, back two years has paid child support and seen the child regularly. For example, a petition for adoption is filed on August 15, 2018. The Court looks back to August 15, 2016. Then, from August 15, 2016 to August 15, 2018 to see what visits and monies were paid during that two year period. Often, the custodial family member will contact the non *custodial parents BEFORE filing of the petition for adoption for agreement on the termination of the parental rights. The non-custodial parent suddenly decides to visit and pay some monies toward the child support. This will defeat the efforts to involuntarily terminate the parental rights of the non-custodial parent.
If the non-custodial parent objects to the termination of their parental rights, the probate court will appoint an attorney to represent them in the proceedings. Being a parent is a U.S. Constitutional right, and therefore, quasi-criminal in nature, so a person is entitled to an attorney. A trial will be held before the Judge to determine whether there is enough evidence to terminate the parental rights of the non-custodial parent.
Guardian Ad Litem
If there is a contest on the termination of the parental rights of the non-custodial parent, the probate court will appoint an attorney to represent the child[ren]. This person is usually an attorney at law, and they are called the Guardian Ad Litem [GAL]. Although the probate court has appointed this person, the adopting couple is responsible for paying the attorney fees. The GAL will represent the child[ren]*s interest at the trial.
The family member, non-custodial parents, and the GAL will go before the judge in the probate court for a trial. The issue is whether or not the non-custodial parent did not pay support or have contact with the minor child[ren], in the last two years.
Standard to Terminate Parental Rights
The standard for the Court is clear and convincing evidence. If both these requirements are proven, then the Court must determine if it is in the minor*s best interest to terminate the parental rights. The burden of proof is upon the Petitioner. The Court must find by clear and convincing evidence that the non-custodial parent had the ability to support his/her child[ren] and failed to demonstrate good cause as to why he/she did not do so.
After the probate court makes its* ruling, the parties have 21 days to take the case to the Court of Appeals. Again, the non-custodial parent will have a court appointed attorney to do the appeal.
The judge takes the consent of the non-custodial parent and makes an Order of Form