Opening your heart and your family through adoption is joyous and rewarding, but the process can be complicated. We can help you navigate the legal requirements and unanticipated obstacles.

As attorneys, there is nothing as gratifying or fulfilling as a successful adoption. We make the journey with our clients, experiencing the excitement and anxiety with them along the way. Because of our efforts, strangers come together to form families on what are often the happiest days of their lives.

How Does an Adoption Work?

Every family is different, and every adoption is, too. The process can take time as the circuit court, county government authorities, and licensed private agencies evaluate the parties and environment to ensure a successful match.

Most people think of adoption as bringing a new child into a family. While that’s a common perception, adoption is also a way to solidify the legal status of a relationship.

From pre-certification to finalization and post-placement matters, you can rely on the Shimek Law Firm at every stage. We offer the knowledge, skill, support, and care you need along the way.

Types of Adoptions

There are many different kinds of adoptions involving infants, minor children, and even adults. We have counseled clients through:

  • Direct Placement Adoptions
  • Open Adoptions
  • Re-Adoption (validation of an out-of-state or foreign adoption)
  • Step-Parent Adoptions
  • Adoptions by Relatives (related to the adoptee within the fifth degree by marriage, blood, or adoption)
  • State and Court Ward Adoptions
  • Adoptions by Same-Sex Couples

Generally, any single adult or married couple is eligible to adopt. A step-parent can adopt their spouse’s birth child, and the legalization of same-sex marriages has made it easier for non-traditional couples to adopt, too. In Michigan, any person can be adopted, but adoptees age 14 and older must first give their own consent.

The Adoption Process

No two adoptions are alike, but there are steps common to each one:

  • A petition to adopt, filed with the county court by the adopting parents.
  • A court-ordered investigation to confirm the adoptee’s needs will be protected.
  • A court order terminating the rights of the parent, an agency, or the court.
  • A final order of adoption.

Even after the final order, parents whose rights have been terminated have a short window to appeal that decision, which can be a stressful time for the adopting parents.

After the Adoption

Once the adoption is complete, the adopting parent or parents must think about some related issues.

For example, because the adoptee is now the heir of the adopting parent, questions should be answered about estate planning, medical decisions, and other long-term financial and legal arrangements. The new parents may be eligible for an adoption subsidy to offset the costs of caring for a child with special needs. And in the unfortunate event that the adopting parents separate or divorce, the adopted child’s needs must be evaluated.

Seek Legal Advice Before You Consider Adopting

Adoption can be a wonderful, life-changing opportunity, but it is not without challenges and uncertainty. Receiving advice from a lawyer who is intimately familiar with the adoption process is your best first step.

It is our honor and privilege to bring new families together. Let us help you adopt a child, relative, or adult to enhance your family.