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Clarksville Adoption Attorney

Helping Stepparents Legally Adopt Stepchildren in Tennessee

Stepparents and stepchildren can often develop close bonds. However, after a divorce, a stepparent may have few, if any, legal rights to continue to see a child and maintain a relationship. In some situations, a stepparent may want to adopt a stepchild to solidify their parent-child relationship and obtain legal parental rights.

No matter how close you may be with your stepchild, you can only ensure parental rights through legal adoption. However, stepparent adoption is only possible under specific circumstances and if you take the required steps. If you are considering the adoption of your stepchild, you should not wait to discuss your options with our experienced Tennessee adoption attorney at McFarland Law.

Do I Need the Consent of My Stepchild’s Biological Parent?

The biological parent must relinquish their parental rights and consent to the adoption for it to proceed. For example, if a child always lives with their mother and stepfather and has no real relationship with their biological father, the biological father may consent to give up parental rights so the stepfather can adopt the child.

There are situations in which a biological parent refuses to consent despite not being involved in the child’s life. In this case, the stepparent would need to prove that there are legal grounds for the court to terminate the rights of the biological parent. Such grounds can include:

If a stepparent can provide sufficient evidence to prove that termination is in the child’s best interest, the court can terminate the rights of the biological parent to allow for the stepparent adoption.

What is the Stepparent Adoption Process?

The stepparent adoption process is extremely similar to the non-relative adoption process, with important exceptions. Unlike a traditional adoption, there are no necessary home visits to ensure the home is a suitable place for the child. There is also no six-month waiting period before the court will finalize the adoption. This is because the law presumes the child already resides in the home and has a parent-child relationship with the stepparent. However, the adopting stepparent must complete all the necessary paperwork and adhere to any specific requirements set out by the court. Once the adoption is final, the stepparent will then have all legal rights and responsibilities of a legal parent.

Should I Contact a Clarksville Adoption Lawyer?

Adoption can be highly beneficial for families in many situations. You want to ensure you complete the process properly, so you should speak with an experienced adoption attorney in Tennessee. Contact McFarland Law by calling (931) 516-9009 or contacting us online to set up a consultation today.