In the previous article on adoption in Michigan, we opened the discussion about adoption consent laws. We talked about who is required by law to give their consent, the age at which the adopted child may consent to the adoption, and when parental consent isn’t needed. Moving on, here are four more things about consent you should know when considering adoption in Michigan.
If the spouse of a custodial parent wants to legally adopt their child, can it be done without the consent of the other birth parent?
Yes it can, but only when certain conditions have been met. The custodial parent and the spouse wishing to adopt must be able to prove that the other biological parent:
- had the ability to support the child, but failed or neglected to provide regular and substantial support for the child for a period of 2 years or more, and
- had the ability to contact, visit or communicate with the child, but failed to do so for a period of 2 years or more.
When can a parent consent to an adoption?
If the child to be adopted was born to unmarried parents, both parents are required to give their consent to the adoption. If the birth father cannot be found to give his consent, then the birth mother may not give her consent until the court has terminated the rights of the birth father.
A parent or state-appointed guardian may not give their consent for an adoption until a judge has explained to them exactly what an adoption means and how it will affect their future. That way, their consent is informed, and they understand what they are doing.
If the child who is going to be adopted is old enough to give consent, then the consent may not be executed until a judge has fully explained to that child what the adoption entails and what exactly it means for their future.
How is the consent formally given?
In Michigan, consent must be written and signed in front of a judge with jurisdiction over this area of the law, or a judge of the family division of the circuit court. If one or both of the parents are in the armed forces and serving in an area where a judge is not available, consent must be witnessed by an individual authorized to administer oaths (called a Notary Public.)
However, if the child is a ward of the state or in the custody of a child placement agency, the consent must be given by the correct authorized representative in the presence of,
and acknowledged before, a judge or Notary Public.
Is it possible to have parental rights terminated after an adoption?
Yes. In the same way that the court has the right to grant legal custody of a child to a parent, so they reserve the right to remove a child from a parent’s custody and to terminate that parent’s rights to that child. The same applies to adoptive parents. However, there is no way to un-adopt a child after the adoption has been completed.
We hope these articles on adoption consent has been helpful for you. If you have any questions about adoption in Michigan, or any other aspect of family law, please don’t hesitate to contact The Kronzek Firm’s experienced family law attorneys at 248 479-6200. We are here to help.