Douglass & Runger, PLLC – A Compassionate and Knowledgeable Memphis Adoption Law Firm
Memphis Adoption Attorney
For Tennessee couples who are unable to have their own children, or for a parent who is wanting to solidify his or her relationship with a step-child, adoption is the means whereby a family is expanded to welcome in a new child. Despite television shows or testimonials to the contrary, adopting a child in Tennessee is not always an easy task.
Adoption involves the establishment of a new parent-child bond and the dissolution of at least one, if not two, existing parent-child bonds. Adopting your step-child can be a particularly tricky process if the child’s other biological parent objects to the adoption. Douglass & Runger, PLLC, Attorneys at Law, are experienced Memphis adoption lawyers who can help you with the adoption process, from start to finish.
Adoption – Not Just for Foster Families
When most people consider adoption, they may consider a child who was placed for some time with a foster family because both of the child’s biological parents abandoned the child or cannot care for the child anymore. In such a case, the child is considered to be in the custody of the state and the state is the entity that establishes the conditions to adoption.
Adoption can also occur in a private setting. In this scenario, the child may have a poor or no relationship with the noncustodial parent while developing a good and healthy relationship with a stepparent. At some point, either the child and/or the stepparent may wish for the stepparent to adopt the child so as to provide the child with some stability and comfort, to ensure the child has the ability to inherit from the stepparent, or for any number of other reasons.
In either case, the biological parents of the child must either consent to the adoption or must be found to be unfit and have their parental rights involuntarily terminated.
Consent or Termination of Rights
Parents can consent to an adoption of their biological children if they are of sound mind and legal age to do so. In agreeing to allow their children to be adopted, a parent may be required to give up his or her parental rights. For example, a mother who wishes to allow her daughter to be adopted by her daughter’s stepmother will need to relinquish her own parental rights as part of the adoption process. This allows the stepmother to be afforded the rights and responsibilities that were previously the mother’s. Two parents who both wish for another couple to adopt their child must similarly give up their parental rights so that these rights can be assigned to the child’s new parents. In giving up their parental rights, the surrendering parent is giving up the right to visit with the child and participate in the child’s life. The surrendering parent is also usually relieved of any obligation to continue to support the child financially.
If one or both parents will not consent to an adoption, they must be proven to be unfit and their rights must be involuntarily terminated by the court. This is always a difficult judgment to obtain unless the other parent against whom termination of rights is sought is an absentee parent and cannot be located. In general, the parent must be afforded the right to be present in court and present evidence as to why his or her rights should not be terminated. Unless there is evidence of abuse, that the parent is a danger to the well-being of the child, or that the parent is completely incapable of ever caring for or providing for the child, a request to terminate that parent’s rights may be denied.
We Provided Seasoned Legal Assistance to the Adopting Couple in Tennessee
If you or your spouse are attempting to adopt a child, you need the guiding hand of experienced legal counsel to help you along the way. Contact Douglass & Runger, PLLC, Attorneys at Law, for assistance in adopting a child in Tennessee. Call them today at (901) 388-5805.