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Adoption In Michigan

Michigan laws define a few different types of adoptions that apply in various situations when people are ready to add someone new to their family. Each type of adoption is based on unique facts and comes with specific legal procedures to follow. A skilled Michigan family lawyer can help you navigate the process and satisfy all the legal elements of adoption in Michigan.

Adult Adoption

For reasons of inheritance or legal coverage under health insurance or other legal benefits, sometimes a family may want to adopt an adult. The laws and procedures to adopt a person over the age of 18 and to change the adopted person’s name and legal status to a child of the adoptive parents have specific requirements under Michigan law. An experienced family law attorney is a crucial part of the process of completing an adult adoption.

Stepparent Adoption

In cases where a couple marries, and the family includes children from another relationship, a stepparent may adopt their partner’s kids to ensure that the entire family is legally considered one family unit. If the other biological parent of the child is living and is identified, they will have to relinquish their parental rights, as the child only can have one set of legal parents under the law.

Interstate And International Adoptions

Interstate adoptions involve cases where one party, whether it’s the child or the parents who are adopting a new family member, lives outside of Michigan. Each state has unique rules about adoption processes and procedures, so the assistance of a competent family attorney is crucial.

In international adoptions, there are more complicated issues of international law, as well as the laws of the country where the child is from and US laws relating to immigration, citizenship, and adoption. A skilled family law attorney will be critical in helping to understand and apply the various laws and procedures at issue in international adoptions.

Closed Adoptions

The most common type of adoption in international cases is a closed adoption that involves no contact with the child’s birth parents. Closed adoptions are also common with newborn adoptions, in which the adoptive family goes through a private agency for the adoption.

Even in cases where there is some contact between the child’s parent(s) and the adoptive parents before the child’s birth, any contact between them ends when the process is complete in a closed adoption. The child generally doesn’t know the identity of their birth parents, although they may take steps to seek out this information after the age of 18.

Open Adoptions

Many modern adoptions are “open” adoptions in which the adoptive parents know the birth parents and remain in contact after the adoption process is complete. The parties to an open adoption have a degree of freedom in choosing how much or little contact they will have between them by agreement. Often, the child’s birth parents have some degree of control over choosing the adoptive parents, with an opportunity to review some choices of families that are looking for a child to adopt and have some say in the decision of who will raise their child.

Basic Requirements For Adoption In Michigan

In Michigan, the law allows any adult or a married couple to adopt a child that is not their biological child. A person married to someone with legal custody of a child can complete a stepparent adoption to have full legal rights as a parent of their partner’s child.

Adoption And Same-Sex Families

Until recently, most states had few or no laws about adoption by same-sex couples. A 2017 US Supreme Court opinion in the case of Pavan v. Smith held that states must give equal treatment to same-sex couples as they do to partners of the opposite sex in issuing birth certificates.

However, Michigan law permits adoption agencies to limit adoptions to those that follow their religious views. A Catholic adoption agency, for example, is legally allowed to refuse an adoption to a same-sex couple if doing so violates their religious beliefs. Also, anyone over 14 must give consent to the adoption. In this case, the child to be adopted has a say in whom they agree to be adopted by.

Legal Help With Michigan Adoption

We are here to help families with any domestic, interstate, or international adoption. Our attorneys deal with the legal elements of your adoption so that you can focus on your new family. Call Law Offices of Ravi R. Gurumurthy, PLC at 231-577-1580 or contact us online to schedule a consultation with a family law attorney at our office.

Larceny In Michigan

Taking things that belong to someone else is a crime that comes under the title “larceny” in Michigan law. Charges of larceny or a related property crime are serious criminal offenses that can have a major impact on someone’s life.

Elements Of Michigan Larceny Charges

A prosecutor must prove five elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt to get a conviction on larceny charges in Michigan. The elements include proof that the defendant:

  1. Took property belonging to someone else
  2. Without the owner’s consent
  3. Moved the property, whether the accused kept the property or transferred it to someone else
  4. With an intention to deprive the owner permanently of the use of the property

The fifth element of every larceny case is the item’s value, which the prosecutor must prove for a conviction. The value of the property taken, as well as the type of property in some cases, and the accused’s history of larceny offenses, will determine the level of crime and the penalties that the defendant will be subject to if convicted.

Misdemeanor Larceny

A person who steals property worth less than $200 can face misdemeanor charges that result in up to 93 days in jail and a fine of $500, or three times the value of the stolen property, whichever is greater. A defendant with a prior conviction under this law will face charges at the next misdemeanor level, as with all larceny charges.

Taking property worth more than $200 and up to $1,000 can result in a misdemeanor charge punishable by up to one year in jail and a $2,000 fine. If the accused has committed prior offenses under the same law, the prosecutor will bring charges for the next level of crime.

Felony Larceny

Taking property worth more than $1,000 and up to $20,000 is charged as a felony that can be punished by up to five years in prison and a fine of $10,000. A prior history of theft convictions can increase the sentence to as much as ten years imprisonment. The larceny of a firearm or certain pieces of an automobile is prosecuted at this felony level regardless of the value of the items taken. A conviction of taking property worth more than $20,000 is a felony that can bring a ten-year prison sentence and a $15,000 fine or greater, depending on the property’s value.

Michigan Retail Fraud

The crime often referred to as shoplifting is known as retail fraud in Michigan. Laws allow for both criminal and civil penalties for any of the following actions:

  • Taking or hiding merchandise with the intent of not paying for it
  • Changing a container, label, or price tag, intending to avoid paying full retail value
  • Fraudulently getting or attempting to get something of value in a refund or exchange

Third-Degree Retail Fraud

For items worth less than $200, a conviction can bring a 93-day jail sentence and a fine of $500. Second offenses or more will increase the charges to second-degree retail fraud.

Second-Degree Retail Fraud

Taking items worth between $200 and $1,000 is punished at the second-degree retail fraud level. A conviction can bring up to one year in jail and a $2,000 fine.

First-Degree Retail Fraud

First-degree retail fraud is a felony offense, punishable by up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Theft Detection Fraud

It is a separate crime under the retail fraud laws to have, make, sell, or distribute bags that are laminated or coated to avoid theft-detection devices in a retail store. This crime is a misdemeanor offense, punishable by up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine. Additional offenses under the law are punished as felonies, resulting in up to four years in prison and a $4,000 fine upon conviction.

Civil Penalties For Retail Fraud

The store owner that has lost property in retail fraud can recover a civil penalty from the offender or the parents of a minor under 18:

  • Full retail price of the item if it is not returned or is returned in a condition that doesn’t allow for resale at full value, AND
  • Civil damages in the amount of ten times the retail price of the item, up to a $200 maximum.

Get Legal Assistance Right Away

If you have been charged with a property crime, make the smart choice to work with a criminal defense attorney with the experience and skills to make a difference in your case. Schedule a consultation with an attorney at Law Offices of Ravi R. Gurumurthy, PLC by calling 231-577-1580 or contacting us online.


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