Helping Families and Individuals Adopt Children in Tennessee
Fighting for Middle Tennessee people who want to bring a new child into their family
Adoption is a legal process in which an adult individual or couple assumes responsibility for the life of another. People adopt for many different reasons. They may not be able to have children of their own. They may want to love someone who is an orphan or a foster child. A parent may have died or is irresponsible.
Whatever the reason for wanting to adopt, adoption in Tennessee does require that specific formalities be followed to protect the needs of the child and the rights of any biological parents. At the Law Office of Tara Carter, our Middle Tennessee adoption attorneys guide you through this hopefully joyful experience. We have been helping Middle Tennessee residents with their legal issues for close to 10 years.
Types of adoptions in Tennessee
In many adoptions, the adoptive parent(s) already know the child. In others, the parents are adopting someone they’ve never met. The common types of adoption are:
- Family adoptions. Grandparents often adopt a grandchild if the parents tragically die or if the parents are unable to take care of their children. Sometimes aunts, uncles, siblings, and other families also adopt to help a child whose parents have died or are irresponsible.
- Step-parent adoptions. A new spouse often wants to cement the bond with their spouse’s children when the other biological parent has died, is in jail, suffering from substance abuse, has abandoned the child, or is an otherwise unfit parent.
- Orphan children and children in public agencies. Foster homes and public agencies often seek parents who can love and care for children who have lost their parents for any reason.
- Foreign adoptions. Parents who cannot have children of their own or want to care for children in need often seek to adopt children from other countries especially countries that have been ravaged by war and economic disaster.
We also handle adoptions by single parents and LGBTQ adoptions.
How the adoption process works in Nashville, Goodlettsville, and surrounding areas
Before any adoption is approved by a Tennessee family court judge, a number of steps must take place. Some of these steps are:
- An independent review of the adoptive parent’(s) background. This is usually done by an approved agency.
- The home setting where the adoptive child will live. This includes considering how the adoption will affect other children in the family of the adopting parent(s).
- Termination of parental rights. The rights of biological parents need to be addressed. Biological parents can waive their rights if the proper formalities are met. Parental rights can also be terminated if it can be shown a parent abandoned his/her child or is legally unfit to raise the child. Termination of parental rights does require meeting a very high standard.
- A court hearing. The judge will review all investigative issues, speak with the parent(s) wishing to adopt, talk to a biological parent who is married to the prospective adoptive step-parent, and speak with the child himself/herself.
There are exceptions and other considerations our Middle Tennessee adoption lawyers explain including:
- The need to have a written consent of any child 14 or older who is being adopted
- A guardian-ad-litem may have to be appointed to represent a child’s interests
- Timelines must be met
- Service of legal papers in termination cases must be verified
Adoptions can take months or years depending on the type of adoption and whether termination of rights is an issue.
Learn more about the Tennessee adoption process by speaking with an experienced family lawyer
At the Law Office of Tara Carter, we help families bring the joy of a child into their homes. Our Middle Tennessee adoption lawyers explain how adoptions work, what problems are likely to arise, and what concerns the family judge may have. We understand that adoptions are one of the areas of personal service cases where everyone can be happy with the final result – confirming the love of a child.
To speak with a skilled adoption lawyer, please call us at (615) 495-6000 or complete our contact form. We represent adopting parents and spouses in Murfreesboro, Nashville, Goodlettsville, Brentwood, Lebanon, Hendersonville and the surrounding areas.