Memphis Adoption Lawyers
and Families Seeking to Adopt
Welcome to the online home of Memphis Adoption Attorneys If you are considering the possibility of adding to your family through the process of adoption, you need a qualified reliable legal professional at your side to help you identify and address any potential concerns that may arise. The decision to adopt a child is one that is usually made on the basis of familial love and the desire to provide a child in need with a safe, stable home. Unfortunately, you may encounter procedural challenges and obstacles that require the guidance of a skilled adoption lawyer. At the Memphis law firm of Douglass & Runger, Attorneys at Law, we have both personal and professional experience with all types of adoptions, and we are equipped to help you and your family at every stage of the process.
Types of Tennessee Adoptions
Relative adoptions are the most common type of adoption across the United States, including here in Tennessee. In a relative adoption, a person or couple who is related to the child in question acquires full parental rights regarding the child. Such relatives may include grandparents, aunts, uncles, and stepparents. Tennessee adoption laws allow the process of a relative adoption to be more streamlined than an adoption of an unrelated child. Considerations such as a waiting period and home studies can often be waived to facilitate more efficient proceedings.
There are several other avenues for adoption in Tennessee as well. You could potentially adopt a child who is currently in the state’s foster care system, or you could pursue adoption through one of many licensed adoption agencies throughout the state. Adoption agencies can connect prospective adoptive parents with children in need—both domestically and internationally. Foreign adoptions are especially complex, and it is important to work closely with a lawyer from Douglass & Runger, Attorneys at Law to ensure that your best interests and those of the child are fully protected.
How Can an Adoption Lawyer Help?
At Douglass & Runger, Attorneys at Law, we know that the decision to adopt is one that is very personal and emotional. We also realize that there are a large number of legal considerations that must be addressed as well. An adoption creates a legal parent-child relationship between the adoptive parents and the child in question, and that relationship is permanent. The adoptive parents assume all of the rights and responsibilities associated with legal parentage, and the child gains not only a loving family but also long-term legacy and inheritance rights and a number of other potential benefits. With so much at stake, it is crucial to choose an attorney with the knowledge and experience to help you make the best possible decisions. Let us put our proven approach to work for you.
Memphis Adoption Attorneys
2820 Summer Oaks Drive, Ste. C
Bartlett, TN 38134
Memphis Adoption Attorneys
If your spouse has a child from a previous relationship, you understand the challenges of being a stepparent. You probably realize, however, that among those challenges, there are often many opportunities to be a loving and supportive parent to your stepchild. It is not uncommon for stepparents like yourself to form extremely close bonds with their stepchildren, even without a biological connection. Depending on the situation, a stepparent may wish to formalize the relationship with his or her stepchild through a stepparent adoption, and an experienced lawyer from Douglass & Runger, Attorneys at Law can help.
Under Tennessee law, a stepparent adoption is a type of relative adoption, which means the process can be faster and more efficient than a traditional adoption might be. In most cases, a home study is not required, as the court presumes that there is already a healthy relationship between the stepparent and the child. The six-month waiting period for finalization can also be waived for most stepparent adoptions.
A stepparent adoption can be completed quite easily, in most cases, if the child does not already have a second legal parent. If the child does have a second legal parent, however, that parent must consent to the adoption and relinquish his or her parental rights. If the other parent is not active or interested in the child, you can petition the court to have the other parent’s rights involuntarily terminated by the court.
Termination of Parental Rights
In the state of Tennessee, as in the rest of the country, a person cannot have more than two legal parents. For the purposes of adoption, this means that one or both of a child’s biological parents must give up their parental rights in order for the adoption to be completed. At Douglass & Runger, Attorneys at Law, we understand the challenges associated with getting a parent to relinquish his or her parental rights, and we have tools and resources to help you with your case.
Many adoption cases involve birth parents who have made the difficult decision to place their children for adoption. By doing so, such parents voluntarily give up their rights regarding their children. In some cases, however, a birth parent might refuse to relinquish his or her rights. If you are trying to adopt a child and the child’s biological parent is refusing to cooperate, you could petition the court to terminate the parent’s parental rights.
Common grounds for the involuntary termination of parental rights include abandonment of the child, failing to comply with custody or support orders, serious incidents of child abuse, untreated substance abuse, and the lack of mental capacity to properly care for a child. Our experienced adoption lawyers can help you determine if seeking the termination of parental rights is the best course of action for your situation.