Step-Parent and Guardian Adoptions
If you have been a child's guardian for a significant amount of time, and it has become clear the parent is not going to attend to their parental duties, you may want to adopt the child(ren).
Children deserve permanency and a guardianship does not provide a child with that permanency. With the opiod epidemic, thousands of relatives and family friends have stepped up to the plate to become the guardians of children who need a loving and healthy home. If a parent has abandoned their child, having not meaningfully visited and/or supported their child, call Cannon Law to discuss whether or not adoption is an option.
In some cases, you may decide to seek a stipend through the State of Michigan if you are seeking to adopt. Since this type of adoption involves terminating the parental rights of the biological parents, Cannon Law has the specialized experience to handle these cases.
In Michigan a step-parent may adopt their step-child if the parent of the child is divorced from the biological parent or the child's custodial parent was not married to the father but he acknowledged paternity or is a putative father (biological but not legal father). In order for the step-parent to petition the Court for adoption, they must be married to the custodial parent.
Courts have what is referred to as an ADOPTION DIVISION. The Adoption department in the respective Court house has a number of forms they require. A petition requesting termination of the biological parent's rights is necessary as well. If the biological parent agrees to the step-parent adopting the child, things can go rather smoothly. Usually problems arise when the biological parent objects to the adoption.
If the biological parent objects to the termination, a hearing is held. At the hearing the Court has to determine the following in-part:
(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. A child support order stating that support is $0.00 or that support is reserved shall be treated in the same manner as if no support order has been entered.
(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.
Cannon Law PLC has experience dealing with the various Adoption Units throughout the Metro-Detroit area and can help you through the process of becoming a legal parent for a child you already treat like your own. These are usually Sonia's favorite cases.