Michigan Law on Adoption of Grandchildren

By Editorial Team

Updated July 21, 2017

grandparents with grandchildren image by Pavel Losevsky from Fotolia.com

Adoption of a child by his grandparent occurs for reasons such as the death of a parent or the inability of the parent to properly care for the child. It can also occur in extenuating circumstances, such as teenage pregnancy, incarceration of the parent or a mental or physical conditions that interferes with the parent's ability to raise the child.


In the state of Michigan, the birth parents must consent to the adoption of the child unless the court has taken away this right because of abuse, abandonment or unfit parenting. The father may not have to consent to the adoption if he has not established his paternity. In the case the parents have lost their rights to the child, or if they cannot consent because they are unavailable, the guardian or the person with custody of the child must consent. A relative or friend of the child can be chosen by the court to consent to the adoption in cases where there is no legal guardian.


If the parent or parents do not consent to the adoption, but it is in the child's best interest, the court may terminate the parents' rights after an investigation by the Child Protection Agency. In the case that the parents are unmarried and the father does not have paternal rights, his consent is not necessary. Special circumstances, such as abandonment of the child, may cause the court to rule in favor of adoption without consent.


The grandparent who wishes to adopt the child must file a Petition for Adoption in the county she lives in. This petition is filed in the local court. The petition should be filed with signed consent forms from the parent if it is a consensual adoption. The petition should be filed with signed consent forms from an agency if the child is in custody of the agency, and should be filed with signed consent from the Michigan Family Independence Agency (FIA) if the child has been removed from their parent's care by the state. The court will then investigate to ensure the best interest of the child involved. If the court finds the adoption to be in the best interest of the child, it will terminate the rights of the parents, agency or FIA and make the child a ward of the state. The court will place the child with the grandparent and supervise the placement for six months, or a length of time specified by the court. After this time, an adoption order will be given if the court is happy with the placement. The adoption order gives grandparents legal rights to the child.


When considering adoption of a grandchild, there are many factors involved. Adoption is not the only possibility for grandparents wishing to care for their grandchildren. They may instead decide to gain custody or legal guardianship of the child. This is useful in cases where the parents won't consent to adoption and the grandparent does not want to bring the child to court. Grandparents may also want to consider their age and ability to care for their grandchild, and what may happen when they get older.