Many people build families through adoption and surrogacy. Whether a legal family is created through a step-parent adoption, grandparent adoption, private adoption, surrogacy or international adoption, the attorneys at LawCare - Family Law Center, in Brentwood, Tennessee, have the knowledge to help people through the complex emotional and legal issues involved.
Adoption in Tennessee
There are many types of adoption and each presents its own unique legal and emotional challenges. Our broad experience with helping people build families through adoption allows us to understand the legal issues each of our clients face and tailor our services to their needs.
Intake form for TENNESSEE ADOPTION request
For step-parent adoption, the biological parent must consent or there must be grounds to terminate their parental rights. Such grounds are defined by statute but are closely examined by the courts. Terminating parental rights requires a high level of proof that the parent is no longer part of the child’s life or that the parent is not competent to parent the child.
Involve a child in the custody of the state being placed with a foster home or prospective adoptive home for future adoption. This process is less costly than private placement but can be emotionally painful if the state takes a long time trying to reconcile the child with the biological parent.
Involve a child placed in a family with or without an adoption agency for the purposes of adoption. Although it may take time to get a placement, generally the agency will know that this child is available for adoption and there will be little likelihood that the biological parent will be reunited with the child. These adoptions are expensive and will sometimes require paying the living expenses of the birth mother during her pregnancy.
Private Adoption Registry
The happenstance of private placement is serendipitous and you never know when the occasion will arise. We offer a private placement registry for prospective adoptive parents which can be reviewed by birth mothers considering adoption. Birth Mothers want to know that their child will be in a safe and loving home, so you will be expected to provide financial documents to support your ability to provide for the child, criminal background checks, and a personal letter on why you desire to adopt. The registry requires a fee and will be active for three years. At the expiration of three years, renewal applications will have to be submitted.
PRIVATE ADOPTION registry
Many countries are making their orphaned children available for adoption to U.S. citizens: Russia, China, Vietnam, Latvia, and Guatemala are just a few. A foreign adoption agency will assist you in the preparation, selection, and process of foreign adoptions. It will also require re-finalizing foreign adoption once the child is in the United States.
Single Parent adoptions
There is no requirement in Tennessee that an adoptive parent needs to be married. However, Tennessee law does require that if you are married, your spouse must be included in the adoption.
Second Parent Adoptions
Tennessee has fluctuated on the permissibility of allowing two non-related persons to adopt a child. This includes same-gender couples as well as other non-spouse adults. At one time, the Tennessee Attorney General issued an opinion that the law did not require the persons listed as parents to be married. The Tennessee General Assembly tried to pass a law that prohibited second-parent adoptions, but it did not pass. So each adoption must be handled separately.
In theory, it makes no sense to limit parents to married couples, since persons who are not married have children all the time, and it makes no sense to limit the gender of parenting. Having two parents is greater protection for the child, both legally and financially. Our firm has successfully obtained adoption certificates for non-married couples.
Tennessee has odd adult adoption laws because it currently does not require termination of the parental rights of the legal parents. It only requires the consent of the adult being adopted and adopting parents. These laws need to be changed or challenged.
Adoption to Gain Citizenship
LCFLC does not practice immigration law; however, we have assisted in completing adoptions to gain citizenship. You should consult with an immigration attorney before considering this option. The child must be in the US for two years before you can commence the adoption, and the adoption must be completed before the child is 16 years of age.
Tennessee has surrogacy laws which provide that if you have a surrogacy contract in place prior to the birth of the child, you will not have to terminate the parental rights of the birth mother. However, Tennessee laws do not accommodate the surrogacy laws in the issuance of a birth certificate. You still must file a petition against the State of Tennessee to have the birth certificate changed.
We will prepare a power of attorney and release of liability so that the child can leave the hospital with you and stay in your care and custody until the birth certificate has been corrected. The completion of this task is sometimes dependent on the Attorney General’s office. Cooperative state attorneys make sure this is a smooth process; uncooperative state attorneys can result in a court appearance and can delay the process. Generally, we try to complete the entire process within six weeks. We will make it happen.
We can also prepare the surrogacy contract and meet with the surrogate to discuss the details of the transition at the hospital. We cannot, however, represent the surrogate AND the intended parents.
Intake form for TENNESSEE SURROGACY request