In Tennessee, both grandparents and stepparents may have a right to adopt a child depending on their circumstances. To adopt a child in Tennessee, a person has to be over the age of 18 and live in the state for at least six consecutive months in most cases.
Usually, it is easier for stepparents to adopt than other individuals. In some cases, grandparents may find adopting their grandchildren is easier than it would be for unrelated individuals, too. This is because the state does lean toward keeping a child in their family.
What should stepparents know about adopting?
The first thing stepparents should know is that they won’t always be able to adopt their stepchild when they want to. If the biological noncustodial parent does not give up their rights, then you will be unable to adopt the child unless you succeed in getting a court to strip that parent’s rights. Keep in mind that any noncustodial parent who gives up their rights also gives up their responsibility to child support, so that financial support will no longer be available to your stepchild.
If your stepchild is 14 years of age or older, they will need to consent to the adoption in Tennessee.
Can grandparents petition to adopt their grandchildren?
Yes, under limited circumstances. If both parents give consent and terminate their parental rights, or if there is a default judgment against the parents in court causing them to lose their parental rights, then a grandparent can petition for adoption. Grandparents may also petition for adoption if their grandchildren’s parents have passed away or abandoned them.
Get help if you want to adopt your step- or grandchild
For both stepparents and grandparents, the process of adoption starts with finding out if you’re eligible to adopt. For stepparents, only one parent needs to give up their rights. For grandparents, both may need to grant permission, be incarcerated, pass away or have their rights taken away. This is something your attorney can go over with you as you discuss the Relative Caregiver Program and your eligibility to adopt a child whom you care about.