ARAG LEGAL PLANS ACCEPTED
ARAG LEGAL PLANS ACCEPTED
The types of adoption include: agency placement (where a child-placing agency, the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), or the court selects prospective adoptive parents and transfers physical custody); direct placement (where a parent or guardian personally selects prospective adoptive parents (not related to the child within the fifth degree by consanguinity or affinity) and transfers physical custody); step-parent; guardian; relative; and adult.
An agency placement is one in which a child-placing agency, the DHHS, or a court selects the adoptive parent for the child and transfers physical custody of the child to the prospective adoptive parent. MCL 710.22(d). In the case of a licensed adoption agency, the birth parent may execute a release of the child directly to the agency. The child is then typically placed into foster care by the agency or may be temporarily placed with a prospective adoptive couple under the temporary placement procedure available under MCL 710.23d. The agency is then free to make an adoptive placement in the best interests of the child. In the case of a court or the DHHS, parental rights of the birth parent will generally be terminated under the Michigan Juvenile Code, MCL 712A.1 et seq., although a parent may voluntarily release their rights to the court or DHHS under the adoption code, thereby freeing the child for an adoptive placement. In view of the fact that parental rights have either been terminated by the court or the DHHS or the birth parent has released all of their parental rights to an agency, the court, the DHHS, or agency will then be in the position of consenting to a placement with an adoptive family.
Michigan law provides for direct-placement adoptions. This form of adoption permits a parent or guardian having legal and physical custody of a child to make a placement of the child directly to an adoptive parent. MCL 710.23a. If the child is first placed temporarily with a prospective adoptive parent under MCL 710.23d, the placement becomes a formal placement once all parental rights are terminated under the provisions of the code and the court approves the placement under the provisions of MCL 710.51. MCL 710.23b.
A stepparent adoption is one in which (1) the birth parents are either divorced or were never married but the father had acknowledged paternity, had paternity adjudged by a court of competent jurisdiction, or had established a custodial relationship with the child or provided substantial and regular support under MCL 710.39; (2) the custodial parent remarries; and (3) the new spouse (the stepparent) petitions the court to adopt the child (or children). To facilitate a stepparent adoption, the noncustodial biological parent must either consent to the termination of parental rights or must have them involuntarily terminated under MCL 710.51(6). A petition for stepparent adoption may be filed and the adoption accomplished with the consent of the noncustodial parent. However, a custodial biological parent must have or obtain custody according to a court order before pursuing a stepparent adoption under MCL 710.51(6)
The court-appointed guardian of a minor may enter into a direct placement of the minor pursuant to MCL 710.23a and may consent to the adoption under provisions of MCL 710.43(1)(a)(iii) subject to probate court approval required under MCL 710.43(5). Required court approval is also needed in cases in which guardians wish to consent to their own adoption of a minor. However, guardians may not consent to their own adoption of a ward unless the child’s parents have first consented to the adoption or the parents’ parental rights have been terminated. Eby v Labo (In re Handorf), 285 Mich App 384, 776 NW2d 374 (2009), clarified by 485 Mich 1052, 777 NW2d 130 (2010).
A relative adoption is one in which a parent or guardian having legal and physical custody of a child may make a formal placement of the child for adoption under MCL 710.51 with an individual who is related to the child within the fifth degree of consanguinity by marriage, blood, or adoption. MCL 710.22(t), .23a(4). Relative adoptions usually involve less investigation and paperwork than other types of adoptions due to the relationship between the parent and a fifth-degree relative and the familiarity that relationship implies. A relative outside of the fifth degree of consanguinity may still adopt by direct or agency placement.