Adoption can be one of the most rewarding experiences in a person’s life. The Law Office of Brad H. Frakes is experienced in handling petitions for termination of parental rights and adoption, including grandparent adoptions, step-parent adoptions and single parent adoptions.
With all adoptions, except for relatives, the child must be in the physical custody of the adoptive parents for six months prior to finalization of the adoption. The six month period is so that an agency can supervise the placement and report to the court their evaluation of the placement.
Adoption by a step-parent is very common. After the adoption, the step-parent will legally become the child’s parent, as if the child were born to him/her. This also means that if there is a divorce, custody and child support issues would be the same as if the step-parent were the child’s biological parent. The parental rights of any other legal or biological parent (the one not married to the step-parent) must be terminated before the step-parent can adopt. A step-parent adoption is considered a relative adoption, so the home study and six month waiting period may be waived by the judge.
In all Tennessee adoptions, the termination of all legal and biological parents’ parental rights is necessary. Sometimes a birth parent consents to the adoption of his or her child. In other cases, a petition is filed in court as part of the adoption petition or as a separate petition to involuntarily terminate the rights of the parent. This proceeding requires a hearing and a judicial determination before the adoption can occur. There are certain grounds on which a parent’s rights to a child can be terminated pursuant to an adoption, including: failure to support a child; failure to visit a child; lengthy incarceration of a parent; and, abuse and neglect.
When an adoption is finalized, the adoptive parent or parents become the child’s legal parents, as if the child was actually born to them. After the finalization of the adoption, a new birth certificate is issued with the adoptive parents listed as mother and father and including any name changes of the child.