Knoxville Adoption Lawyer
Adoption Attorney in Knoxville, TN
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How is Adoption Defined in Tennessee?
Adoption is the legal, statutory process to permanently transfer the parental rights and responsibilities from the child’s biological family to an adoptive family.
What are the parental requirements in Tennessee?
There are several requirements to adopt a child in the state of Tennessee. For adoption to proceed, a residence in Tennessee must be maintained for at least six months. Second, adoptees must have had physical custody of the child to start with or be able to show the court that they have the right to receive physical custody of the child. Third, a home study must be completed.
Most potential parents must undergo a home study to determine if the home is an appropriate place for the child. However, instances in which a home study may be waived, occur when the potential parents are also foster parents to the child or the home has already been approved. When approval is present, it comes as part of a prior case.
In order for the home to be approved, it must be demonstrated that the adoption is in the best interest of the child. Many families are eligible to become parents. Likewise, there are currently no prohibitions against same-sex couples or other individuals from pursuing adoption. If you are ready to begin the legal process, I am ready to help you get started. To learn more about how we may serve your family, please set up a call or free consultation.
What adoption services does your firm handle Tennessee?
Placing a child in a loving home is a happy time and rewarding experience. We have vast experience in all aspects of the Tennessee adoption process, we can help you with:
- Agency Adoptions
- Foster Parent Adoptions
- Grandparent Adoptions
- Private Adoptions
- Relative Adoptions
- Same-Sex Adoptions
- Single Adoptions
- Step-Parent Adoptions with Consent
- Termination of Parental Rights
What are the different types of adoption in Tennessee?
You have a few different options when you are ready to adopt a child in Tennessee. Parents can go through the Tennessee foster care system to adopt a child, which is a public option in Tennessee. If you currently have a foster child and you wish to adopt – you will be given preference. According to the state of Tennessee, foster parents “are dually approved to adopt, which means they have the first option of adopting a child they have fostered, or another child who has become eligible for adoption.”
Private options for adopting take place through an adoption agency or non-profit. Additionally, you can arrange an independent adoption between you and the birth parents. It is crucial to consult with a lawyer if you are considering a private adoption to ensure that everyone’s rights are protected.
What steps do I need to take to adopt a child in Tennessee?
You do not have to be 100% perfect to adopt a child – nobody is a perfect. In Tennessee you must meet the requirements to ensure a child will be safe and loved under your care.
To be eligible to adopt in Tennessee, you must meet the following two requirements:
- Be at least 18 years old
- Be a resident of Tennessee for at least six consecutive months
- You must demonstrate that you can financially and emotionally manage the care of an adopted child
These are the only legal requirements needed to adopt a child in Tennessee. However, you will need to prepare for a home study and be prepped and ready to show why you will provide a child with a loving and stable home. We can help you prep for the approval process, so that you do not run into any surprises.
What is an adoption home study?
An adoption home study is one of the biggest fears of prospective adoption parents.
According to American Adoptions, you can expect the following in Tennessee, the home study for adoption includes:
- At least one visit to the home
- Reference letters for adoption
- Health examinations
- Verification of marital status
- Interviews with all members of the family residing in the household
During the adoption home study you will likely discuss:
- Your motivation to adopt
- Your ability to provide for a child
- Your character, values and ethical standards
- Your physical and mental health
- The health and fire safety conditions of your home
How long does the adoption process take in Tennessee?
The adoption process can be tedious – the adoption process in Tennessee can take from a couple weeks to a couple years. Some factors that control the timeline will include the type of adoption you choose. We can help you understand how long the process will take and what the adoption timeline might look for you based on your unique circumstances.
How much does it cost to adopt a child in Tennessee?
The cost of adoption will vary in Tennessee based on the type of adoption you choose. According to Nashville Parent – in most cases, domestic adoptions cost anywhere from $0 to $35,000, with most agencies charging around $12,000 for a variety of services that can include home study fees, placement fees, legal fees, counseling expenses and medical costs.
Adoption is an essential option for some families, whether it is by choice or necessity. Adoptions are also governed by law, just as most things in life are. Throughout the process, it is important to have the proper professional legal advice, most likely both from a lawyer and a mental health professional like a social worker.
Using the questions below as a guide, you can work your way through these issues.
How do I adopt a child in Tennessee?
The adoption laws vary from state to state. There are generally two types of adoption for minor children who are not related to the adoptive parent(s): agency adoptions and private or independent adoptions. Furthermore, if the biological parents are unable to parent safely, a foster child in foster care may be adopted by foster parents or relatives (the time period is determined by state law).
How does an agency adoption work?
Parents who adopt through an agency work with a state-licensed agency. It is common for agencies to supervise the care of biological mothers who are willing to place their children for adoption, as well as to assist in the placement of children after birth. There are some agencies that place foreign-born children.
How does private adoption work?
A private adoption avoids the use of agencies, and it may allow you to avoid long waiting lists. People who want to adopt begin the process by contacting an adoption lawyer. In some cases, lawyers work with physicians who know women who are willing to give up children for adoption. Women who are willing to place their babies for adoption are sometimes advertised in newspapers or online by would-be parents.
Some states allow adoptive parents to cover medical expenses and other pregnancy-related expenses for a biological mother. However, it is illegal for adoptive parents to pay the biological mother for giving up a child. This is a black-market adoption, or the buying and selling of children, and it is a crime in every state.
Is a lawyer necessary when adopting?
If there are no complications with the adoption, you can probably fill out the paperwork on your own or with the assistance of an adoption agency. However, the use of a lawyer can be indispensable – an adoption attorneys experience can help you avoid pitfalls and mistakes in the process. Additionally, hiring an attorney will help you navigate the adoption process and help avoid setbacks – an adoption attorney can be of significant help throughout the entire adoption process.
Does adoption require court approval?
Yes – for both private and agency adoptions, a court approval is required. In many states, adoptive parents must also be screened and approved by a social service agency before they can adopt.
Once a child is adopted, an adopted child has exactly the same rights as a biological child. In addition, adoptive parents have the same obligations to the child as they would to a biological child.
What rights and responsibilities do biological parents retain when they give up a child for adoption?
Generally, they lose all rights and obligations. They are not permitted to contact the child or obtain information about the child. Furthermore there is no obligation on their part to support the child.
Contact A Knoxville Adoption Attorney
Attorney Mark Pienkowski is dedicated to helping you complete your adoption in a timely and cost-effective manner. Adopting a child is a happy time and we will work hard to ensure that every detail is covered so that you can welcome your new child into your home and family. To schedule a consultation with a Tennessee adoption lawyer – contact our office today for a free and confidential consultation.