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Do children have a say if their stepparent plans to adopt them?

On Behalf of | Jun 2, 2022 | Adoption

Stepparent adoption may occur for both practical and emotional reasons. The stepparent might want to adopt their stepchild to give them a sense of security and to solidify their relationship. On the other hand, it may be practical concerns, like military income or health insurance benefits, that push a stepparent to consider adoption.

Adoption within a blended family can be a contentious matter for everyone involved. The stepparent who wishes to adopt will need the permission of their partner, as well as of the other biological parent if they are still alive and have not had their rights terminated.

Will the stepparent also need the permission of the child involved?

Older children must consent to the adoption

Tennessee adoptions should only occur when they are in the best interests of the children involved. Stepparent adoptions can be beneficial for the entire family, but they can also cause complications and emotional repercussions for the child.

The courts recognize that some children may have strong wishes regarding stepparent adoption and may consider those wishes if the child is old and mature enough for their preferences to have any weight in a courtroom. Typically, those aged 14 or older have to give their written permission for an adoption to move forward in Tennessee.

If a 16-year-old stepchild does not want to complete a stepparent adoption, the parents in the family likely cannot force them to approve the proceedings. 

How do you overcome a teenager’s objections?

As a stepparent trying to offer better emotional or practical support to your stepchild, their refusal to move forward with the adoption may frustrate you.

If you want to change their mind, it’s important for you to try to see things from their perspective. You can talk with your stepchild to learn their reasoning for wanting to refuse. In some cases, you may be able to discuss the matter and change their mind. Other times, you may come to respect their decision, especially if it has something to do with the relationship with their biological parent.

Understanding the rules that apply in Tennessee stepparent adoptions can make this complex process a bit more accessible for your family.


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