Step 5: Obtaining Consent and/or Petitioning the Court to Terminate Parental Rights
Parental rights may be terminated in one of three ways: voluntarily, partially voluntarily, or involuntarily. In any case, if
parental rights are terminated, the parent will have 21 days to appeal the court’s order terminating parental rights. In
addition, if the child-adoptee is fourteen years of age or older, he or she must consent to the adoption.
Voluntary Termination—Consent to Adoption by Both Parents (or one parent previously terminated or deceased)
A Consent to Adoption by Parent cannot be done until a Petition for Adoption has been filed. Parental consent is
not required if parental rights have already been terminated, or if the parent is deceased.
The Adoptions Unit will need actual verification through a conversation or mail correspondence that the parent(s)
is/are willing to consent.
A parent willing to consent who resides in Wayne County must appear personally at the Lincoln Hall of Justice,
10 25. E. Forest Avenue, Detroit, MI 48207 to execute the Consent to Adoption by Parent before a judge or
referee. Only the consenting parent needs to attend this hearing.
A parent willing to consent who resides outside of Wayne County will be mailed a Consent to Adoption by Parent
with instructions that the consent must be executed according to the laws of that county or state. Only the
consenting parent needs to attend the hearing, if applcable.
A child-adoptee who is consenting (14 years of age or older) must be accompanied by the parent or guardian
when executing the consent.
Any person who would like to consent to an adoption must report to the Adoptions Unit no later than
8:15am. Consent hearings are held daily, but only occur at 8:30am. Photo identification is required.
Partial Voluntary Termination—Consent to Adoption by Mother Only & No Legal Father
If the mother is willing to consent, and there is no legal father (only a putative or alleged father), the biological
mother must file a Petition for Hearing to Identify Father to Determine or Terminate His Rights when the Petition
for Adoption is filed. Other forms may be necessary and will be determined on a case by cases basis. A court
hearing will be scheduled at that time, in which the biological mother must appear. In this scenario the biological
mother must also be present with the guardian at the time of the initial adoption filing appointment.
This process is not appropriate if any of the following are true:
o The father is named on the child’s birth certificate, or the mother was married when the child was born;
o There is an Affidavit of Parentage or an Order of Filiation;
o There is a custody or support order in place for the child identifying the father; or
o Paternity has otherwise been established.
Involuntary Termination—Either Legal Parent is Unwilling to Consent to the Adoption
Involuntary termination of parental rights will only occur after the Petition for Adoption is filed, and a favorable
guardian home assessment by MCLC has been received. This procedure is only used when either the mother or
the legal father is unwilling to consent to the adoption.
The Adoptions Unit will make a referral to MCLC to initiate the termination of parental rights process. A court
hearing will be scheduled to determine whether or not parental rights will be terminated.
If the court terminates parental rights, but the adoption is not granted, the termination order will be set aside and
parental rights will be restored.