What is needed in your case is to initiate a stepparent adoption. To facilitate a stepparent adoption, the biological noncustodial parent must consent to the termination of his parental rights or must have them involuntarily terminated.[i]
Basically, there are two (2) requirements that must be met to involuntarily terminate the biological father’s parental rights. Given the fact that the biological father has not had contact with, paid support, or shown interest in the child should be sufficient to involuntarily terminate his parental rights.
[i] To facilitate a stepparent adoption, the biological noncustodial parent must consent to the termination of his or her parental rights or must have them involuntarily terminated.
A noncustodial parent may voluntarily consent to the termination of his or her rights pursuant to MCL 710.43. It simply requires an appearance before a judge or magistrate to execute a Consent to Adoption by Parent (PCA 308), and a Statement to Accompany Consent In Direct Placement (PCA 339). That will result in entry of an Order Placing Child (Step Parent Adoption) (PCA 319), which is a final order, subject to the 21-day appeal period as provided by MCL 710.65. If the adoptee is over 14 years of age, he or she must also sign a Consent to Adoption by Adoptee (PCA 307), pursuant to MCL 710.43(2).
Step 2: If the noncustodial parent will not consent, prepare for involuntary termination of his or her parental rights.
The standards for an involuntary termination of the noncustodial birthparent’s parental rights, are set forth in MCL 710.51(6). Under the statute, parental rights are subject to termination by the court if both of the following occur:
(a) The other parent, having the ability to support, or assist in supporting, the child, has failed or neglected to provide regular and substantial support for the child or if a support order has been entered, has failed to substantially comply with the order, for a period of 2 years or more before the filing of the petition.
(b) The other parent, having the ability to visit, contact, or communicate with the child, has regularly and substantially failed or neglected to do so for a period of 2 years or more before the filing of the petition. MCL 710.51(6).
The petitioner in an adoption proceeding must prove by clear and convincing evidence that termination of parental rights is warranted. Moore v Newton (In re Newton), 238 Mich App 486, 606 NW2d 34 (1999). Petitioner need prove only substantial failure to comply with a support order for two years prior to filing the petition and is not required to prove the other parent’s ability to comply with the support order because the ability to pay has already been factored into the order. In re Hill, 221 Mich App 683, 562 NW2d 254 (1997); In re Meredith, 162 Mich App 19, 412 NW2d 229 (1987).