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Legal Checklist for New Parents

Everyone knows that babies come with a lot of responsibility. But did you also know that they come with a lot of legal paperwork? From the moment you find out you are expecting, or start the adoption process, there are documents that you need to fill out, file, register with the state, and store for future reference all in the name of your bundle of joy.  Below is a Legal Checklist with helpful tips that may not be top of mind for parents welcoming their first or fifth child.

Social Security Card
Applying for a social security number is typically done at the hospital when your baby is born.  This is done via a simple form that requests information and social security numbers of the parents.  If you did not deliver at a hospital, you can request one at your local Social Security Administration office.  Similarly, as the process in the hospital, you will need to provide parental information, but will also have to provide proof of baby’s citizenship, age, and identity.  This is accomplished by presenting a birth certificate or other medical records.   If your child is adopted domestically and a number was not requested at birth, you can obtain an Application for Taxpayer Identification for Pending US Adoptions Number to claim tax breaks.  However, you will need to request a social security number once the adoption is final.  For children adopted from other countries, a request for a social security number will have to wait until the adoption is final.

Tax Breaks
Taxes may not be the first benefit that comes to mind when adding a new baby to the family, but there are certain benefits you will want to utilize.  Tax exemptions can be filed for an additional dependent whether the child is born at the beginning, middle or last day of the year.  The Additional Dependency Exemption varies based on specifics such as the household Adjusted Gross Income and whether you are filing as single or joint.  Another break is the Child Tax Credit which allows for a tax deduction for any child under the age of 17, and again, it is available contingent on the guardians’ annual income of filers.

While traveling abroad may not be top of mind in the days following the birth or adoption of a child, having one in place for unforeseen future events is just good planning considering that obtaining a passport is a timely process.  Keep in mind that both parents must be present at the time of application.

Temporary Guardianship Documents 
Temporary? Why you might ask.  All parents are aware that they should nominate guardians for minor children in a will.  However, not all parents stop to consider the interim period that happens between a family emergency and the time that the children are in the custody of the new guardians.
Often, when nominating the very best person to raise our children, we fail to recognize the approximately of this person.  Are they in another city? Do they live 45 minutes away? What happens if they are out of town or unavailable when tragedy strikes?  A temporary guardianship document allows for a trusted neighbor, or parent from your child’s school or your circle of friends, to take immediate guardianship of your child as they transition to the permanent guardian.  Ideally, this person will have access guardian’s contact information and be familiar with who they are.

Amber Louchart
Author: Amber Louchart

Amber is the proud mother to four beautiful children, Damian (27), Rosaleigh (14), Carlyn (11), and Naomi (8). Her family also includes four cats. She loves being a stay-at-home mom and feels blessed to be able to care for her children full-time and provide them with so many opportunities through Metro Detroit Mommy. In addition to Metro Detroit Mommy, Amber has a passion for hosting karaoke with Malibu Entertainment.  She enjoys the metro Detroit nightlife especially, singing, dancing and meeting new people.