Whether through marriage, adoption, birth or all of the above, we at Parker and LaDuke know there are many ways to create a family in Tennessee. If your spouse already has children from a previous relationship, you can adopt these children as your own via the legal process of stepparent adoption. After you have done so, you and the child can both begin to enjoy the benefits of a parent-child relationship recognized under the law. For example, you will be able to make decisions for the child in regard to child-rearing, education and more, while the child will be able to take your name, receive Social Security when you die and inherit equally with your other children.
If you are thinking about adopting one or more stepchildren, you are in good company. According to Parents Magazine, stepparent adoption is the most common form of adoption. Because of your established relationship with the child, the judge may be able to dispense with the usual requirement for a home study. Nevertheless, there is still a process you need to go through in order to successfully adopt your stepchild.
First, find out which court in your county handles adoptions and speak to someone in the office to ask for specific information about the stepparent adoption process. Educate yourself about state adoption laws from the information packet you receive from the court and supplement with your own research if necessary.
Next, you need to obtain and submit the required legal forms. If the child’s other birth parent is still alive, this will involve acquiring his or her consent for the adoption. You will need to attend a court hearing upon receiving notification of the date from the court.
Following finalization of the adoption, you may apply for amended birth certificates if you wish. More information about stepparent adoption is available on our website.