ADOPTIONS

All adoption files are non-public and processed with the highest level of confidentiality.  Below you will find a brief summary of some of the various types of adoptions filings inlcluding step-parent and adult adoptions. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has a resource titled Adopting a Child in Michigan that offers an overview of the different types of adoptions in Michigan.

This area of the law is very complex and the Court cannot provide you with legal advice.  It is recommended that if you are interested in pursuing an adoption, you contact an attorney who is experienced in that area of law.

Click here to access the SCAO Adoption Forms.

Filing Fees

Filing fees are due at the time of filing.

  • Petition for Adoption $175.00
  • Subsequent motions and petitions $20.00
  • A certified copy of the order of adoption $11.00
  • Petition for Adoption Information $20.00
  • Petition for Appointment of Confidential Intermediary $20.00

Please note that for a new birth certificate following an adoption finalization, you will need to submit a check made out to the state in which the adoptee was born.  To determine the fee, you will need to speak with Vital Records in the state where the adoptee was born.  For Michigan, the fee for the creation of a new birth certificate is $50.00, and $16.00 for each additional copy.

Submitting Materials

All adoption materials can be mailed or hand-delivered to the Cass County Probate Court located at 60296 M-62, Suite 10, Cassopolis, MI 49031.

 

TYPES OF ADOPTIONS

STEP-PARENT ADOPTION

A step-parent adoption is a court process in which the custodial parent’s spouse adopts his or her minor child.  The non-custodial parent can consent to the adoption, or a Supplemental Petition and Affidavit to Terminate Parental Rights (Stepparent Adoption), PCA 302, may be filed.  The following information is meant to be an outline to answer frequently asked questions regarding the stepparent adoption process. Court personnel cannot give legal advice and this is the only information that Court personnel can provide regarding this type of proceeding. 

  1. Requirements for filing a petition:
    1. You must be a resident of Cass County Michigan.
    2. You must be married to the legal/biological parent of the adoptee (you are both considered the petitioners).
  2. Fees
    1. $150.00 filing fee for the initial petition (per child), plus $25.00 electronic filing fee. ($175.00 total).
    2. $11.00 fee for a certified copy of adoption order, if granted.
    3. Fee for the creation of a new birth certificate for the adoptee.  The check should be made out to the state in which the child was born.
      1. For a Michigan birth certificate, the fee is $50.00 and $16.00 for each additional copy.
      2. If the child was not born in Michigan, it is the petitioner’s responsibility to contact the state in which the child was born and determine the fee and forms required to create the new birth certificate.
  3. Documents required at the time of filing the adoption petition:
    1. Petition for Stepparent Adoption, PCA 301b
    2. Copy of the adoptee’s birth certificate
    3. Certified copy of an affidavit of parentage, divorce decree and/or support order (including any modifications)
    4. Copy of each petitioners driver’s license or State ID, birth certificate, marriage certifcate, and any divorce judgments if applicable.
    5. Additional documentation and forms may be needed depending on the circumstances.
  4. Consent:
    1. The consent of the adoptee is required if the adoptee is 14 years of age or older.
    2. You must determine if the non-custodial parent will consent. If the noncustodial parent does not consent, it is strongly encouraged that an attorney is obtained to complete the adoption process.
    3. If a legal father has not been established, it is strongly encouraged that an attorney is obtained to complete the adoption process.
  5. Investigation:
    1. After filing the petition with all required accompanying documentation, the judge will sign an Order for Investigation appointing Court staff to complete an investigation.  The Court will mail out a packet to the petitioners that must be completed prior to a home visit.  The packet includes a Stepparent adoption worksheet, family history report, CPS and criminal history clearance forms, health report for each member of the household, and a request for references.  The court agent has up to three months to complete the investigation.

For more information on Stepparent Adoptions, you can visit the Michigan Legal Help website on that topic.

 

Adult Adoption

An adult adoption is one in which the petitioners (adoptive parents) are requesting that they be permitted to adopt an adult.  The adult adoptee must consent to the adoption.  Notice of the consent hearing must be provided to the biological parents of the adoptee, but they are not required to attend the consent hearing. 

Once an adult adoption is filed with the accompanying documentation, the Court will conduct an investigation and meet with the petitioners and adult adoptee. The Consent hearing will then be scheduled after the investigation is completed. 

For this type of filing, the following is required:

  • Petition for Adoption, PCA 301
  • $175 filing fee, plus $11 for a certified copy of the order of adoption
  • Adult Adoption Questionnaire
  • Petitioner’s Verified Accounting, PCA 347 
  • Supplement to Petitioner’s Verified Accounting, PCA 347a
  • Attorney Statement of Services, PCA 346, if applicable
  • Copy of the adoptee’s birth certificate and marriage certificate, if married
  • Copy of adoptee’s name change, if applicable
  • If the adoptee’s biological/legal parent is deceased, a copy of the death certificate
  • Copy of the petitioners’ birth certificate, marriage certificate, and copies of any divorce judgments for previous marriages.
  • A written statement from the adoptee and a written statement from the petitioners explaining the reasons the adoption is being pursued.
STATE WARD/MCI ADOPTION

In this type of adoption, the family court has terminated the parents’ parental rights and the child has been committed to the State.  DHHS is responsible for the child.  They work with contracted child-placing agencies to place the child and supervise the placement.   The child may be placed with relatives or with a foster family.

DIRECT PLACEMENT ADOPTION

In a direct placement adoption, the parent of the minor child personally selects the adoptive parent(s), transfers physical custody of the child to the adoptive parents, and consents to the adoption.  For this type of adoption, the parent must be represented by an attorney or child-placing agency.  For more information regarding this type of adoption, please contact an adoption agency or an attorney.

RELATIVE ADOPTION

Relative adoption is one in which a family member who is related to the child within the fifth degree by marriage, blood, or adoption  adopts the minor child. 

Access to Adoption Records

All adoption files are non-public.  See MCL 710.67. An adult adoptee, adoptive parents, and/or former family members can petition the Court for adoption information. If you are seeking identifying or non-identifying information from an adoption file,  a Petition for Adoption Information and Order, PCA 327, must be filed along with a copy of the requester’s identification.  This form can also be used to request a certified copy of an order of adoption.  The filing fee for this petition is $20.00.  The Adoption Code details what information can be released from the file and who it can be released to.  For detailed information on this subject, please see MCL 710.68

In addition, there may be situations where a Confidential Intermediary can be appointed by the court that finalized the adoption.  If appointed, the Confidential Intermediary can search and contact certain individuals.  The Petition and Order to Appoint Confidential Intermediary, PCA 342, can be used for this purpose and the filing fee is $20.00.  The Confidential Intermediary will charge a separate fee for his/her services that the petitioner will be responsible for. The fee is generally around $300.00.

To learn more about requesting information from adoption records, please see the Release of Information from Michigan’s Adoption Records pamphlet created by the State of Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

If you are looking for a copy of the adoptee’s birth certificate after an adoption was finalized, please contact Vital Records in the state in which the adoptee was born.

Post Adoption Resources

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has post adoption resources centers throughout the state.  The centers provide a variety of support services to adoptees and their families.  To learn more about what services are available and to whom, please visit the MDHHS website. 

ADOPTION DAY

Adoption Day is held in conjunction with the State of Michigan and the National Adoption Day organization’s annual adoption day program. In Cass County, we celebrate Adoption Day on the Tuesday prior to Thanksgiving each year. This program is held simultaneously with other courts throughout the State of Michigan and across the United States highlighting the importance of adoption and the needs of children in foster care.