Petition to Terminate Parental Rights in Michigan

By Sameca Pandova
You must file a petition and appear before a judge to relinquish rights to your child in Michigan.

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To terminate parental rights in Michigan, you will need to file a petition to terminate parental rights before the family division of your local judicial circuit. You can terminate parental rights on your own behalf either to the state or to an adoptive family. In addition, Michigan allows you to file a supplemental petition to terminate parental rights of a non-custodial parent who does not support nor see her child.

Voluntary Termination

Where there are no allegations of abuse or harm, a parent may voluntarily terminate parental rights. There are two mechanisms provided for under the Michigan Compiled Laws Annotated (MCLA): a release of the adoptee under MCLA 710.23(s) and consent under MCLA 710.23(k). A parent may either release the child to a new adoptive family, or consent to placement with a social services agency.

Termination of Rights of Child in Custody of State or a Guardian.

Michigan grounds for termination are located at 712A.19b of the Michigan Probate Code. Michigan requires certain findings to occur for termination under this section, such as desertion, abandonment, or abuse. A petition must be filed requesting termination; the court must find some abuse or neglect, which gives the court jurisdiction (the right to hear the case). The court must then find termination is in the child's best interests.

Documentary Requirements

The birth mother must generally be signed in court at a consent hearing in the presence of a judge, after the mother has been reminded of the significance of the relinquishment. Provide notice to the other parent (form provided below). There must be a verified statement attached to the petition that shows the mother has received a list of state support groups, and that the parent has either attended counseling, or been offered and declined counseling. Finally, the parent must file a statement affirming that she has not received any money or items of value in exchange for release of a child to an adoptive family.

Notice to the Father

Notice must be provided to the father regarding a relinquishment of rights in a child, either to state social services, or to an adoptive family. The father will have the opportunity to respond to the petition, and if he so desires, request custody of the child. The Michigan court will be guided by the best interests of the child in making a determination, and closely examine the level of involvement and participation of the father in the child's life prior to the filing for relinquishment.

About the Author

Based near Chicago, Sameca Pandova has been writing since 1995 and now contributes to various websites. He is an attorney with experience in health care, family and criminal prosecution issues. Pandova holds a Master of Laws in health law from Loyola University Chicago, a Juris Doctor from Case Western Reserve University and a Bachelor of Arts in history and political science from Case Western.