Report on the Uniform Adoption Act

Part of the mandate of the Commission is to study and make recommendations to the Legislature on legislative proposals advanced by the National Conference of Commissioners an Uniform State Laws. One of the most significant recent proposals to come from that body is the Uniform Adoption Act (1994), 9 Uniform Laws Ann. 5 et seq. (1995 Supp.). The Act supersedes the revised Uniform Adoption Act of 1969.

The Uniform Adoption Act is a sweeping new state adoption code, which is intended to be comprehensive. The Uniform Act examines and revises virtually every aspect of adoption practice. Its provisions would revise many existing state laws in response to federal constitutional and statutory law, delineate the legal consequences of several different kinds of adoptions, regulate and enforce choices of parties with respect to privacy or openness in adoptions, and promote the welfare of children by facilitating the placement of minor children who cannot be raised by their original parents. The Act is largely the work product of Professor Joan Heifetz Hollinger, who is also the principal author and editor of Adoption Law and Practice (1988). The Act has not yet been adopted in any state, although it is reported to be under consideration in several state legislatures.

Michigan's adoption laws, which are found in the Michigan Adoption Code, the Paternity Act, the juvenile chapter of the Probate Code, the Child Custody Act of 1970, and Michigan Court Rules, have never been modelled on any version of the Uniform Adoption Act, although they address many of the concerns raised by that legislation in ways made unique by the structure of Michigan law and courts. After a great deal of process and consideration, the Michigan Legislature made extensive revisions to the Michigan adoption laws and procedures in 1994. Many of these revisions were responsive to the same changes in decisional law that prompted the drafting of the Uniform Adoption Act in 1994. The changes were carefully crafted to reflect adoption practice in Michigan.

Because the Legislature has so recently and carefully addressed these issues, and because the Uniform Adoption Act has yet to be tested in the legislative process or in practice in any state, the Commission recommends that the Legislature defer consideration of the Uniform Adoption Act (1994) at this time. Once Michigan has more experience with its own revisions, and other states have experience with the new Uniform Act, the Commission and the Legislature may have better information on which to revisit these important issues.

Click here to return to the Michigan Law Revision Commission's Table of Contents for the 30th Annual Report, 1995.