Adult Adoption In Tennessee
Tennessee law allows adult adoption. This often occurs in a situation such as “My aunt and uncle raised me and I want to legally recognize them as my legal parents.” or something similar. The main issues to understand regarding an adult adoption are:
- If two people are adopting an adult, they must be married to one another. A married person cannot adopt without their spouses consent.
- The only way to retain one birth parent’s parental rights in an adult adoption is for a step-parent adoption to occur. Otherwise, both birth parents’ parental rights are terminated.
- The birth parents do NOT have to consent to the adoption but they must be given notice of the action, unless they are deceased. The law states, “When petitioner seeks to adopt a person who is eighteen years of age or older, only the sworn, written consent of the person sought to be adopted shall be required and no order of reference or any home studies need be issued." Tennessee Code Annotated §36-1-117(j)(1). Also, if the adult adoptee was previously adjudicated incompetent, "the written consent of the adult person's guardian or conservator of the person shall be required." Tenn. Code Ann. § 36-1-117(j)(2)(a).
- When adopting an adult over 21, that person needs to be specifically named in wills or estate planning documents of the adoptive parents. The word “child” or “heirs” or the like, will not cover that adopted person if they were 21 or older at the time of the adoption.
Adult Adoption and Private Adoption in Tennessee
Recently adult adoptions have become much more prevalent due to the realities of today’s nontraditional family archetype. For instance, sometimes a step-parent or other person raises a child to adulthood, but an adoption was never undertaken. A relationship has developed whereby the parties want to take that extra step and an adult is adopted by another adult. In that case, no biological parents are required to give permission or even be notified. It is done by agreement, and the Judge enters a final decree of adoption. There is no waiting period, and no requirement for a home study.
Traditional or private adoptions are also very common. In this type of adoption birth parents, or more often a birth mother, is in some way introduced to a couple or individual wishing to adopt and the Parties handle the arrangements themselves. Finalization cannot take place prior to six months passing from the date of placement of the child with the adopting parties and the completion of a home study. A home study is required in cases where the adoptive parents and the child are not related. The home study process can feel quite daunting at first, however, it is not a reason to be anxious. The agency or social worker who conducts the home study is looking for a clean, adequate, safe and loving home environment for the coming child. You do not need to own a home and will not be "disqualified" from adopting if your home is not spotless. You will be required to fill out paperwork, speak with the people doing the study, and normally they will come to your home at least once prior to the adoption, and one to two times after placement. They will then write a report for the Court.
Contact a Clarksville Adult Adoption Lawyer
Adoption can be highly beneficial and sometimes complicated for families. To ensure you complete the process properly, speak with an experienced attorney. Contact McFarland Law by calling (931) 919-4376 or contacting us online today.