Legal Steps to Finalizing an Adoption in Michigan
In Michigan, the state’s Department of Human Services and private agencies arranged the adoption of more than 2,500 children in the 2012 fiscal year, most of whom were adopted by foster parents or relatives. Michigan statutes regulate adoption formalities that require you to file a formal request to adopt, or petition, in the appropriate probate court.
Beginning the adoption process
An individual or family wishing to adopt must first undergo an assessment carried out by an approved child-placement agency. The assessment can take from three to six months, after which initial meetings take place between the adoptive child and the prospective adoptive parents. The child can be placed in the temporary care of the adopting parents for a supervisory period that usually lasts six months, followed by the formal placement.
The adoption petition
Michigan’s probate code sets out in detail what needs to be included in your petition. In most cases, this involves:
- The name, birth information and place of residence of each petitioner, including the adopting mother’s maiden name
- The full name by which the child will be known following the adoption
- The relationship between the adoptee and the petitioner, if relevant
- The names and place of residence of the child’s biological parents, unless these rights have been terminated by a competent court
- Details of the child’s name, date and place of birth, place of residence and property
The final adoption order
Six months after the formal placement (or less if the court decides), the family court can enter a final adoption order, which completes the legalities of the adoption. The child’s ties with its biological parents are severed at this point, with the child assuming the status of the adoptive parents’ biological child. This status brings with it the rights and privileges of a biological child, such as inheritance rights. The adopting parents receive certified copies of the final adoption order. If a government department or agency was involved in giving consent to the adoption, they too receive a copy of the order.
For help in the adoption process, contact an experienced Grand Rapids family lawyers at Van Den Heuvel Law Office. Attorney Howard Van Den Heuvel is experienced with and passionate about helping you in this meaningful process, having adopted two children from Russia himself.