If you have a parent-child relationship with someone other than your biological child and that person is an adult, you understand that families come in many forms. You may have raised your niece, nephew, or grandchild—or you may have given a home to a troubled friend of your own child. In such a situation, you may wonder if there is anything you can do to make your relationship official. Fortunately, the state of Tennessee recognizes the special bond between parents and children of any age.
Although adopting an adult is not as complicated as adopting a minor, a petition must be submitted to the courts, and some rules apply. For instance, if you are married, you and your spouse must agree to adopt the person, and your petition will fail if your spouse does not agree. Enjoy your chosen family and leave the technicalities to a Red Bank adult adoption lawyer. Schedule a consultation with one of the seasoned adoption attorneys from our firm today to learn more.
Many parental figures adopt adults they have raised from children, usually grandparents or other relatives who wish to honor the relationship and create a legal family unit.
Often, the custom is used to secure an inheritance for the adopted person. However, according to Tennessee Code § 36-1-121(c), children adopted when they are older than 21 must be named explicitly in the testator’s will. If they are 21 or younger at the time of adoption, testators can identify them as their children, and they will inherit in the same manner as biological children. To avoid confusion, an experienced Red Bank attorney should be consulted to discuss a parental figure’s motives and answer any questions about adult adoptions related to inheritance.
When a prospective parent adopts an adult or a child, the parent-child relationship with the adoptee’s biological parents is terminated. Biological parents must consent to relinquish their rights if the child is a minor, but adults 18 or older who are adopted do not need their biological parents’ consent. They only need to consent to the adoption themselves, as per Tenn. Code Ann. §36-1-117(j)(1), and no home study will be conducted to determine if the new home is adequate, which is required with child adoptions.
However, if the adoptee’s biological parents are still living, they must be given notice of the adoption but will have no recourse to fight it in court.
An exception applies if the courts previously ruled the adult being adopted incompetent. In this case, the written consent of the adoptee’s conservator or guardian is required for the adoption to proceed. Always consult with a well-practiced lawyer in Red Bank to facilitate an adult adoption and avoid any legal roadblocks.
If a stepparent wishes to adopt the biological adult child of a spouse, the biological spouse’s parental rights will not be terminated. Parental rights are terminated because, in Tennessee, a child can only inherit from two parental lines (except with a stepparent adoption that provides inheritance from three parental lines).
Generally, once an adoption that does not involve a stepparent is completed, the adoptee loses the automatic inheritance right to birth parents’ assets but also loses the connection to biological linear descendants, such as grandparents.
The petition lists the parties and the adoptive relationship they are establishing. Appropriate consents are included. If the family plans to change the adoptee’s name, that request could also be included in the petition. From this filing, the court will order a new birth certificate noting the parental relationships and the name change.
There are only a few reasons the court would turn down a petition for adult adoption. Tennessee forbids adult adoptions by parties in a sexual relationship with the potential adoptee. Contact a knowledgeable Red Bank adult adoption attorney to discuss all aspects of the process and legal requirements.
Congratulations on deciding to expand your family by adopting someone special. It does not matter in Tennessee if that person is a child or an adult. We know families are enriched in many ways, and we want to help you on your quest.
You may be formalizing a long-term loving relationship with a grandchild, or you may wish for someone you care about to inherit as your child. All families are unique. Get in touch with a Red Bank adult adoption lawyer from our firm to discuss your family and learn how we can help enrich it.