Stepparent Adoption and Termination of Parental Rights

The Kronzek Firm

Single parents have to do it all. Single parents often kiss all the boo-boos, bring home all the money, and take care of the day-to-day responsibilities of family life. It can be exhausting and overwhelming to be the sole provider of emotional, financial, and material needs.

Over time, a single parent may find a new partner, who starts to share in these responsibilities. If the biological parent and their new partner get married, the new partner becomes a legal stepparent to their partner’s children.

A Stepparent Often Steps Up Into Caregiving Roles

A stepparent can be an exceptional addition to the family, and oftentimes, the stepparent will “step up” into a significant caregiving role. Taking the children to soccer practice, cooking a few crock pot meals, and packing a lunchbox can be fulfilling and meaningful ways that a stepparent can get involved in their stepchildren’s lives.

However, things get tricky when there are medical decisions to be made or field trip forms to sign. Ordinarily, only the biological or custodial parents would be permitted to give their consent to these important decisions.

Stepparent Adoption and The Law in Michigan

It can be difficult to maintain the harmonious family unit that a couple desires to provide for the children when one parent, the stepparent, cannot make these important decisions. The reason for that is the stepparent has no legal status in a custody case under our Michigan law. When this happens, a lot of families look into stepparent adoption.

If the noncustodial parent, or the parent without substantial custody, consents to a stepparent adoption, the process is fairly straightforward. Yet, very few noncustodial parents consent to this type of arrangement as the noncustodial parent will lose their parental rights to their child if they consent to the stepparent adoption. Interestingly, a parent whose rights have been voluntarily terminated still has a legal obligation to pay child support, unless the court orders otherwise. Most courts will order that the child support obligation is terminated in a stepparent adoption situation.

A Court May Terminate a Parent’s Rights

However, if a noncustodial parent does not consent to the adoption, a court may order the involuntary termination of parental rights for the noncustodial parent in order to allow the stepparent to assume the rights and responsibilities of a legal parent.

If the noncustodial parent has not provided substantial support for or substantially visited or contacted the child in two or more years, then a court may terminate the parental rights of the noncustodial parent.

When a stepparent steps up into the role of a caregiver, this often starts the ball rolling to get a biological parent’s rights terminated. Whether you are facing termination of parental rights or you are a stepparent hoping to adopt your partner’s children, the Kronzek firm can help!

The Kronzek Firm can help you keep your kids, or to adopt your partner’s kids!

Our skilled family law team is here to help you. If you’re prepared to fight for the kids in your life that you love, then we can help. We’ve helped thousands of people in Michigan’s lower peninsula. To set up your free consultation today, call 866 766 5245. We’re available 24/7, including nights and weekends for crisis intervention.