Legal Question in Family Law in Michigan

we are grandparents with guardianship of our 2 grandchildren (our Duaghters) If we take full custody of the children, do the parents still have to pay support? Our daughter has sole physical custody.

Asked on 1/23/10, 9:41 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

Audra Arndt Audra A. Arndt & Associates, PLLC

I'm confused, because if you have legal guardianship through the probate court, then usually child support is established at that point, i.e., the mother or father has to pay all required to support to you, as the legal guardians. If you adopt the children, thus terminating the parental rights, then child support will become void from the date of adoption forward.

Taking "full custody" just means you have the children 100% of the time, unless there is visitation established with either parent. You would be entitled to child support whether or not you have custody of the children 100%.

I think you're asking about becoming the legal parents of your grandchildren, i.e., adopting them and terminating the parents' rights, which would negate the child support requirement. If it is just a guardianship, whether temporary or otherwise, then yes, the parents have to pay child support. You may need to open a support case with the circuit court in the County where the children reside, if you need an order requiring payment of support.

If you need to adopt the children, then you have to file a Petition for adoption, and provide notice to the natural parents, and the matter will be set for a hearing, at which time either or both of the parents can object or agree. The parents can also sign a "waiver" or consent to the adoption, if they don't want to attend the hearing. There are certain steps you must take if you do not know the exact whereabouts of the father, such as serving him by mail at his last known address, showing you tried to locate him and were unable to, etc.

If you need an attorney, please contact me, and I will either represent you if you reside within the metro detroit area, or refer you to someone reputable. Thanks.

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Answered on 1/30/10, 3:33 pm

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