The choice to pursue adoption is based on a desire to commit to caring for a child or adult family member. However, without sufficient legal help, adding people to your family can be a challenging experience.
If you are interested in expanding your family, a caring Columbia adoption lawyer is here to help you navigate the process and achieve your goal. Our team of compassionate family attorneys knows what it takes to finalize a processes like this successfully.
Who is Eligible Adopt in Columbia?
Under Tennessee Code Annotated § 36-1-115, any person at least 21 years old is legally permitted to adopt. A person seeking to adopt must be a legal resident of the state for at least six consecutive months, own a home or rent a stable residence, able to meet the adoptee’s financial and emotional needs, and be able to work.
If a married person seeks to adopt, their spouse must join in the petition. If the potential adoptee is at least 14 years old, they must consent to be adopted. A skilled Columbia attorney could work with prospective parents two ensure their eligibility to adopt.
Different Ways of Adopting
Perspective parents often think of a traditional adoption through which they adopt a child from a local Department of Social Services or another state-approved agency. While those types of processes are prevalent, many different types of adoptions are available under state law. Some of these include:
- Stepparent adoptions
- Second parent adoptions
- Adopting from a private agency
- Adopting an adult
- Adopting a relative
- International adoptions
The legal requirements for each type of process vary. For example, while adopting minors generally require the biological parent’s consent, adopting an adult does not. A capable attorney in the Columbia area could explain the different types of adoptions and what a prospective parent must do to complete the action.
The Adoption Process in Family Courts
Under state law, an adoption proceeding may not begin until four days after a child is born. Until the birth mother formally consents to the termination of her parental rights, she remains the child’s legal parent. If she does consent within the four days, she has ten days after that to revoke her decision.
For most of these types of processes in this state, a prospective parent must undergo a formal home study by a licensed child-placement agency. While every home study’s requirements may be different, the goal is always to provide the court with sufficient information to ensure that the adopters and the adoptee are a good match. To accomplish this, the home study evaluator will assess the adoptive parents’ living environment, employment, criminal background, and why they want to adopt. The evaluator may also require the parents to submit references from other family members and friends.
A hearing will be scheduled once a written home study has been submitted to the judge presiding over the request. At the hearing, the judge will consider whether the adoption is in the child’s best interest and, if it is, issue a final adoption decree. The state’s statute of limitations does permit a decision to be challenged for up to one year after it has been finalized. Accordingly, it is important to consult a trusted attorney throughout the adopting process in Columbia.
Learn More from a Columbia Adoption Attorney Now
Adopting a child or family member is a wonderful journey to parenthood, and it is essential that it goes smoothly for everyone involved. A Columbia adoption lawyer is here to help you take the exciting steps of filing for adoption and welcoming home your new family member. Our diligent legal team could explain local requirements and walk you through the process of expanding your family. Call our office today to learn more about your options.