Knoxville Adoption Lawyer
Legal Representation for Termination of Parental Rights in TN
There are many reasons why a parent may face the legal termination of their parental rights in Tennessee. Sometimes, it’s voluntary, like in the case of enabling a stepparent adoption. In these cases, your ex-spouse may get remarried and their new partner may want to adopt your shared child. Sometimes, it’s involuntary. Either way, skilled legal representation can make sure your rights are protected throughout this arduous process.
We are experienced in many different areas of family law including juvenile law, termination of parental rights and adoption laws. She is passionate about advocating for children and making sure their rights are represented throughout emotionally stressful situations. We will treat your case with compassion and work diligently to do what is right for you and your family.
How to Terminate Parental Rights in TN
There are many good and loving reasons that a parent may willingly give up their parental rights. For example, if they know that they aren’t in a good position to care for their child, they may give their child up for adoption. Terminating parental rights, even voluntarily, can be an emotionally difficult process.
Generally, the process follows these steps:
- You must first file a petition with the court
- If you are the mother, you are required to contact the putative father registry to verify any claims to the paternity of the child.
- The court will appoint a guardian ad litem for the minor
- within 30 days of the hearing, the court will enter a ruling
Whether you’re entering court proceedings or are about to file for termination of your parental rights in TN, an experienced family law attorney can help ensure you follow the correct procedures. At Peterson White LLP, we strive to defend your rights with integrity. We will be honest with you every step of the way and help you understand your options.
What are the Laws for Adoption in Tennessee?
There are many reasons people decide to adopt a child in Tennessee. The process can be arduous for an unprepared individual. The state has a few laws that affect adoption eligibility and dictate the process.
American Adoptions states that a person must be a resident of the state for at least the past six consecutive months and be at least 18 years old. However, the law does not stipulate that the adoptive parent must be married. LGBT parents and singles can adopt a child. Keep in mind that both spouses must meet the eligibility requirements for married couples.
It is essential to obtain the birth parent’s legal consent before the execution of the adoption. This means waiting 72 hours after birth, an appearance before a judge and signing the legal documents. Keep in mind that the birth parent can revoke their consent up to 10 days after the adoption execution.
The Tennessee Department of Children’s Services has a list of frequently asked questions including how to adopt an infant, older children and those in the foster system. Parents cannot meet the prospective child until they have been selected for adoption. Foster parents seeking to adopt the children they foster are the exception.
In many cases parents can select the age range of the child or group of siblings they wish to adopt. The state has an online resource with children in need of adoption. The state keeps the best interests of the child or sibling group in mind when considering adoption selection of parents.
Can You Adopt Someone Over 18?
In Tennessee, the legal process of adoption is primarily designed for individuals under the age of 18. Adult adoption, where one adult adopts another adult, is a relatively uncommon and complex legal process. It's important to note that adult adoption laws and procedures vary from state to state, and in some states, it may not be permitted at all.
The state of Tennessee does allow for adult adoption, but the process is subject to specific legal requirements and involves court approval. Here are some key points to consider:
- Consent: In adult adoptions, the consent of the person being adopted (the adoptee) is usually required. Both the adoptee and the person wishing to adopt them (the petitioner) must consent to the adoption.
- Court Process: Adult adoptions in Tennessee typically require a formal court process. The petitioner must file a petition with the appropriate court, and a hearing may be scheduled. The court will review the petition and determine if the adoption is in the best interests of the parties involved.
- Reasons for Adult Adoption: Adult adoptions in Tennessee can serve various purposes, including formalizing a parent-child relationship, inheritance rights, or other personal reasons. However, they are subject to the court's scrutiny to ensure they are not being used for fraudulent or improper purposes.
- Legal Representation: It is advisable for both the petitioner and the adoptee to seek legal representation to navigate the adult adoption process. An attorney can help ensure that all legal requirements are met and that the process is carried out correctly.
Since laws can change, and the legal requirements for adult adoption may be subject to updates, it is essential to consult with an experienced family law attorney in Tennessee to get the most up-to-date and accurate information on adult adoptions in the state. They can guide you through the specific process and requirements applicable to your situation.
Knoxville Adoption Home Study Requirements
The home study is part of the domestic adoption process in the United States, but requirements vary somewhat from state to state. In Tennessee, a licensed social worker will generally perform your adoption home study. Home study workers are not your opponents; rather, they are part of your team! They want to help you successfully adopt a child if it is appropriate for you to do so.
To be eligible to adopt in Tennessee you must meet the following criteria:
- You must be a resident of the state for at least six months.
- You must submit the results of a recent health examination to ensure that you do not have a condition, either behavioral or physical, that would interfere with your ability to provide appropriate care.
- You must provide personal references, preferably from people who know you well but are not necessarily related to you. The person conducting the home study will contact these references in the interest of gathering more information about you.
Onsite Home Visit
Many people equate a home study with onsite home visits. These are part of the process and involve inspecting the home for compliance with local building codes and for safety. The home study also involves interviews with household members, including any children you already have.
What Is the Purpose of a Home Study for Adoption?
One purpose of the home study is to evaluate your parental fitness. The party conducting the study can withhold approval for reasons such as an unsafe home, insufficient finances, or a history of violent crime.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the home study also serves to match parents and children more successfully and to prepare you, the adoptive parent, through education about parenting an adopted child.
Retain the Services of our Adoption Attorney in Knoxville Today
Questions about adoption or termination of parental rights in TN? Call Peterson White LLP for honest representation and guidance every step of the way. Contact us online or call us at 855-919-4124.