This situation arises in Michigan when the custodial parent gets married to another person and the new spouse petitions the court to adopt the child. In order to do this, the biological noncustodial parent must consent to the termination of their parental rights or must have them involuntarily terminated. The noncustodial parent may voluntarily consent to the termination of their rights. This can be done by appearing before a judge to execute a Consent to Adoption by Parent, and Statement to Accompany Consent In Direct Placement. If approved there will be a 21-day appeal period. If the child being adopted is over 14, they must consent to the adoption.
In Michigan, if the noncustodial parent will not consent, you will have to do an involuntary termination of the noncustodial parents rights. The standards for an involuntary termination of the noncustodial birth parent’s parental rights, both of the following must occur:
(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.
(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. MCL 710.51(6).
The person seeking to adopt the child must prove by clear and convincing evidence that termination of parental rights is warranted. To successfully petition, you need only prove substantial failure to comply with a support order for two years prior to filing the petition and is not required to prove the other parent’s ability to comply with the support order because the ability to pay has already been factored into the order.
In Michigan, if the noncustodial parent is contesting the adoption, the custodial parent must file a Supplemental Petition and Affidavit to Terminate Parental Rights of Noncustodial Parent. This petition will serve as the basis for terminating the noncustodial parent’s rights.
At the parental termination hearing in Michigan, your attorney will make an opening statement telling the court why the noncustodial parent’s parental rights should be terminated. In Michigan, the law requires that both of the grounds for termination must be proven before the court can terminate parental rights. Assuming the stepparent adoption hearing is successful, the court will enter an Order Terminating Rights of Non-Custodial Parent and serve that on the noncustodial parent along with an Advice of Rights After Order Terminating Parental Rights. The Advice of Rights will advise the noncustodial parent of his or her right to appeal the termination of parental rights. The appeal must be filed within 21 days of entry of the Order Terminating Rights. If no appeal is taken, the adoption is ready to be closed.