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Adopting a Stepchild in Tennessee

On Behalf of | May 4, 2020 | Firm News

Adoption is a legal option for individuals to become parents. During the adoption process an adult asks the court to grant them parental rights over a child who is not their biological offspring. In some cases, Tennessee residents look to international countries to adopt children into their families. In other cases, adoptable children may reside in their own homes.

When a parent marries a person who is not their child’s other biological parent, the non-parental spouse may have the opportunity to adopt their stepchild. Stepchild adoptions happen between kids and the spouses of their parents. For a stepparent to adopt their stepchild, several conditions must be met.

As with all adoptions, only adults can become parents through stepchild adoption. Stepparents must be at least 18 years of age to undertake the process. Additionally, prospective parents must live in Tennessee for at least 6 months before they may seek to adopt.

When it comes to stepchild adoption, more rules must be followed. If the child’s other biological parent is alive, that parent must relinquish their parental rights for the adoption to occur. Children cannot have more than 2 parents and as such if a biological parent refuses to give up their rights to their child, other legal options may have to be pursued.

One option is to have the biological parent’s rights terminated by the court. In some cases, this may have already happened and then consent to the adoption would no longer be required. Another option to have a biological parent’s rights ended is to show that they have effectively abandoned their child.

Finally, if a child is at least 14 years of age they must also consent to the adoption. Meeting the many conditions of a stepchild adoption can be onerous but prospective parents should not give up hope. Legal support can help them achieve their family law goals.