Consent to Adoption - Michigan

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Who Must Consent to an Adoption

Citation: Comp. Laws § 710.43

Consent to adoption shall be executed by the following:

  • Each parent or the surviving parent
  • The authorized representative of the department or of a child-placing agency to whom the child has been permanently committed by an order of the court or to whom the child has been released
  • The court or a Tribal court having permanent custody of the child
  • The guardian of the child if a guardian has been appointed
  • The guardian of a parent if a guardian has been appointed
  • The authorized representative of a court or child-placing agency of another State or country that has authority to consent to adoption

If the parent of the child to be adopted is an unemancipated minor, that parent's consent is not valid unless a parent, guardian, or guardian ad litem of that minor parent has also executed the consent.

The guardian of the child to be adopted or a parent shall not execute a consent to that child's adoption unless the guardian has first obtained authority to execute the consent from the court that appointed the guardian.

Consent of Child Being Adopted

Citation: Comp. Laws §§ 710.43; 710.44

A child who is age 14 or older must consent to the adoption.

If the adoptee's consent to adoption is required, the consent shall not be executed until after the judge has fully explained to the adoptee the fact that he or she is consenting to acquire permanently the adopting parent or parents as his or her legal parent or parents as though the adoptee had been born to the adopting parent or parents.

When Parental Consent is not Needed

Citation: Comp. Laws §§ 710.37; 710.43; 710.51(6)

The court may permanently terminate the rights of the putative father when he does the following:

  • Submits a verified affirmation of his paternity and a denial of his interest in custody of the child
  • Files a disclaimer of paternity
  • Was served with a notice of intent to release or consent at least 30 days before the expected date of birth but failed to file an intent to claim paternity either before the expected date of birth or before the birth of the child
  • Is given proper notice of hearing but either fails to appear at the hearing or appears and denies his interest in custody of the child
  • Has not made provision for the child's care and did not provide support for the mother during her pregnancy
  • Has not provided support for the mother, has not shown any interest in the child, and has not made provision for the child's care for at least 90 days preceding the hearing required under § 710.36

Consent to adoption of a child shall be executed by each parent or the surviving parent except under the following circumstances:

  • The rights of the parent have been terminated.
  • The child has been released for the purpose of adoption to a child-placing agency or the department.
  • A guardian of the child has been appointed.
  • A guardian of a parent has been appointed.
  • A parent having legal custody of the child is married to the petitioner.

If the spouse of a custodial parent wants to adopt the child, the court may terminate the rights of the other parent if both of the following occur:

  • The other parent, having the ability to support the child, has failed or neglected to provide regular and substantial support for the child for a period of 2 years or more.
  • 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.

When Consent Can Be Executed

Citation: Comp. Laws §§ 710.31; 710.44

If a child is born out of wedlock and the release or consent of the birth father cannot be obtained, the child shall not be placed for adoption until the parental rights of the father are terminated by the court.

Pending the termination of the rights of the father, the mother may execute a release terminating her rights to the child. At the request of the mother, her formal execution of a release or consent shall be delayed until after court determination of the status of the putative father's request for custody of the child.

If the consent of a parent or guardian is required, the consent shall not be executed until after the judge, referee, or other authorized individual has fully explained to the parent or guardian the legal rights of the parent or guardian and the fact that the parent or guardian by virtue of the consent voluntarily relinquishes permanently his or her rights to the child.

If the child's consent to adoption is required, the consent shall not be executed until after the judge or referee has fully explained to the child the fact that he or she is consenting to acquire permanently the adopting parent or parents as his or her legal parent or parents as though he or she had been born to the adopting parent or parents.

In a direct placement, a parent or guardian may sign an out-of-court consent after the child's birth. The out-of-court consent shall not be signed until after a 72-hour waiting period that begins at the time of the child's birth has expired. If an out-of-court consent has been signed, the court shall issue an order terminating the rights of the parent or guardian to that child no sooner than 5 days, excluding weekends and holidays, after the out-of-court consent was signed.

How Consent Must Be Executed

Citation: Comp. Laws § 710.29

Consent shall be by a separate instrument executed before the judge having jurisdiction or before another judge of the family division of circuit court in this State. If the individual whose consent is required is in any of the armed services or is in prison, the consent may be executed before any individual authorized to administer oaths. If the release is to be given by an authorized representative of a child-placing agency that has jurisdiction of the child to be adopted, the release may be executed and acknowledged before an individual authorized by law to administer oaths.

A parent may sign an out-of-court release in front of and witnessed by his or her adoption attorney and a child-placing agency caseworker. If the parent signing the out-of-court release is an unemancipated minor, the release is not valid unless it also is signed by a parent or guardian of the minor parent in the presence of witnesses.

A release by the child's parent shall not be executed until after the investigation the court considers proper and after the judge has fully explained to the parent the legal rights of the parent and that by virtue of the release, the parent voluntarily relinquishes permanently his or her rights to the child. If an out-of-court release is signed, the adoption attorney representing the parent who witnessed the out-of-court release and a caseworker from the child-placing agency that accepted the out-of-court release shall fully explain to the parent his or her legal rights and the fact that by virtue of the out-of-court release, the parent voluntarily relinquishes permanently his or her rights to the child.

Upon the release of a child by a parent or guardian, the court immediately shall issue an order terminating the rights of that parent to that child. If an out-of-court release has been signed, within 5 working days after the release was signed, the court shall issue an order terminating the rights of the parent to that child.

Revocation of Consent

Citation: Comp. Laws § 710.29

The person who granted consent may petition the court for a hearing on whether to grant revocation. A release may not be revoked if the child has been placed for adoption, unless the child was placed as provided by § 710.41(2) (while an appeal of a termination of parental rights is pending), and a petition has been filed for a rehearing within the time required.

A parent or guardian who has signed an out-of-court release but wishes to revoke the release shall submit a written request for revocation to his or her adoption attorney or the child-placing agency that accepted the release no more than 5 days, excluding weekends and holidays, after the release was signed. Upon receipt of the request, the attorney or agency receiving the request shall assist the parent or guardian in filing the petition to revoke the out-of-court release with the court as soon as practicable. A parent or guardian may file this petition with the court on his or her own, but if the parent or guardian files the petition on his or her own, it must be filed with the court no more than 5 days, excluding weekends and holidays, after the release was signed.

Filing a petition with the court to revoke an out-of-court release does not immediately result in the return of the child to the parent or guardian. Unless the child-placing agency or the adoptive parents agree to the revocation, a hearing before a judge is required to determine all the following:

  • Whether the request for revocation was given in a timely and proper manner
  • Whether good cause exists to determine that the out-of-court release was not signed voluntarily
  • Whether the best interests of the child will be served by any of the following:
    • Returning custody of the child to the parent or guardian
    • Continuing the adoption proceeding
    • Making another disposition appropriate to the child's welfare