Securing Your Family With Stepparent Adoption
Adoption can be a wonderful way to grow your family or secure your relationship with a child who is already in your life. If you are thinking of adopting your stepchild, you will need legal guidance during each step of the process. An experienced Tennessee family law attorney can help you and your family reach your goal of adoption.
The Law Office of Steven C. Girsky represents clients in difficult family law matters, including many types of adoption. Family law attorney Steven C. Girsky is a Clarksville lawyer with over 25 years of experience helping families throughout Tennessee and Kentucky. He will provide you with honest advice and professional guidance to help you achieve your specific legal goals, as well as advocate for you and your family every step of the way.
How Do I File For Stepparent Adoption In Tennessee?
You must follow several steps to adopt a stepchild in Tennessee. The process is similar in Kentucky, with a few legal differences. The main steps include:
- Obtaining permission from both biological parents — As with all adoptions, you must first have permission from the biological parents or termination of the noncustodial parent’s parental rights. In some cases, you may not need permission from the noncustodial parent if that parent has abandoned the child under the law. If the biological parent contests the adoption, you will have to argue your case in court.
- Completing parenting classes — In Tennessee, you must complete a 30-hour parenting class before the court will approve your adoption. A social worker will also conduct a home study, as well as review medical and financial information.
- Attending your court hearing — The court will schedule a hearing to review the information and make sure you have completed the necessary steps. In both Tennessee and Kentucky, the court will require the consent of a child over the age of 14.
The law provides relatives, such as grandparents, 10 days after the hearing to contest the adoption. The court will rule after the 10 days have passed. The cost to file for stepparent adoption will depend on several factors, including whether the biological parent contests the adoption.
Why Should You Consider Adopting Your Stepchild?
Many stepparents already love their stepchildren as their own, even if the law does not recognize the bond. Adoption does provide benefits, however, including:
- Financial security — Your stepchild will enjoy the same financial security as your biological children after adoption. They will be entitled to financial support in the case of death or divorce, and may inherit after you die.
- Parental rights — The law will recognize your right to make important decisions about your child and give you custody rights. This can be critical if your spouse dies or you divorce.
- A stronger bond — Adoption is symbolic of the love and commitment you have for your child. Children need emotional stability to thrive, and your adoption can provide that.
When you are ready to make that commitment and need a legal guide, turn to The Law Office of Steven C. Girsky for experienced, compassionate help.