Clarksville, TN Adoption Lawyers
Legal Counsel for Adoption
If you are considering adoption, let us be the first to commend you on the selfless decision to open your homes and lives to a child who needs it. While adoption can be an exciting time in parents' lives, we understand that the process itself may not be so exhilarating.
As experienced Clarksville family law attorneys, we often encounter couples who are understandably frustrated, worried and, quite frankly, fed up with the long and exhausting legal work involved in adoption cases. We have heard numerous complaints from parents forced to jump through legal hoops about the complicated and dense paperwork that seems to never end and the tiresome legal procedures and complications that can often arise.
The Adoption Process in Tennessee
The adoption process varies significantly from case to case and depends on a variety of elements. In the simplest terms, the legal process of adoption means that a person assumes the parenting of a child for another. This means there is also a permanent transfer of all rights and responsibilities from the original parent to the adoptive parent.
In the state of Tennessee, adoption procedures are governed by Tennessee Code §36-1-101. The laws can be lengthy and dense, but were established primarily to ensure that the best interests of the child are met, as well as to protect the rights of adoptive parents.
Adoption is a serious situation, and the federal and state legal systems go to great lengths to ensure that children in need will be taken into homes that are capable of providing care and love. There are numerous agencies and methods for the adoption process and it can't be stressed enough that there is no one size fits all or universal formula when it comes to adopting a child.
Although circumstances dictate much of what happens during the adoption process, you can expect requirements of passing multiple home studies, a great deal of legal and financial paperwork, background checks and final approval from the state itself.
Why Use an Adoption Lawyer?
There is no other way around it; the adoption process can be complicated. Perhaps the lengthy legal proceedings, convoluted paperwork, red tape and other headache inducing obstacles are a good thing, or at the very least, understandable. The tiresome process and many frustrations might weed out parents who aren't 100% positive about adopting and caring for a child or they may prevent couples who are otherwise unfit from adopting. In either case, it's not easy.
We want to encourage all prospective parents planning to adopt a child to hang in there as well as let them know that our firm is here to help. Though adoption can seem overwhelming, especially in the beginning, our firm can provide you with the necessary information and legal assistance to help your adoption process run smoothly. In the event that your adoption involves the adoption of stepchildren or relatives, our firm is prepared to do whatever is necessary to expedite proceedings and allow you and your family to begin your new lives.
Stepparent Adoption in TN
Blended families have become the norm and stepparents often don't take the legal steps necessary to have any rights to make decisions for the child, especially if the child has a good relationship with his/her noncustodial parent. However, if the other biological parent is absent or a danger to the child and a close bond has been formed between the stepparent and the child, then stepparent adoption is a pathway to obtain a biological parent’s legal rights and responsibilities regarding medical, educational, and religious decisions on behalf of the child.
The following are the general steps to adopting a stepchild in Tennessee:
- Noncustodial parent must relinquish his/her parental rights – Either the noncustodial parent must voluntarily give up his/her parental rights or the court terminates his/her legal rights. If the noncustodial parent voluntarily relinquishes his/her parental rights, the agreement – which is attached to the petition – must be written and notarized. If not, then you must file a petition, claiming the stepparent should obtain parental rights because the noncustodial parent either abandoned the child, hasn’t visited the child, owes at least four-months' worth amount of child support, or is otherwise a danger to the child.
- Stepparent must take a class – The adopting stepparent is required to attend a 30-hour course provided by the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services, called Parents as Tender Healers (PATH). Fortunately, since a stepparent adoption is considered a “relative adoption,” the courts will waive the home study requirement since the stepparents has already provided care for the child for some period of time.
- Attend adoption hearing – Once all the previous steps have been fulfilled, the court schedules a hearing to approve the adoption. If the noncustodial parent voluntarily relinquishes his/her parental rights, the adoption order will be issued, along with a new birth certificate. If not, both parties can present evidence and their case for parental rights, then the judge will determine whether to terminate the noncustodial parent’s rights.
Stepparent adoption can be a complex legal process, which is why need an experienced family lawyer to protect your rights and best interests. Jeff Grimes & Associates, PLLC can help you get the most favorable result possible.
Call Jeff Grimes & Associates, PLLC for Caring Representation
No matter the organization or method you choose to use when adopting, or if you are unsure of how to begin the adoption process, our firm can help you every step of the way. By working with a family law attorney from our firm you will get the sincere and compassionate legal assistance to get you through the adoption process smoothly.
Our experience and personal attention can also help quickly resolve any conflicts that may arise. Adoption is a beautiful thing and it should be a happy time for parents. Allow our firm to make your adoption a success. Contact the firm today.
At Jeff Grimes & Associates, your satisfaction is our priority! See for yourself what our clients have to say about working with us.
I hired their law firm for a legal case and not only were they highly professional but always courteous and respectful. They exceeded my expectations and got me everything I needed. If I ever need legal services again I will definitely be choosing them in the future.- Lisa S.
If you need legal counsel then I highly recommend you make an appointment with this firm. Mr. Sensing was my attorney and is very dedicated to his clients going to great lengths to provide the very best defense possible. Stays in touch with his clients always bringing them up to speed on what is being done in their case providing copies of everything to the client. HONEST, LOYAL, AND DEDICATED this firm gets 5 stars.- Brad H.
I took a trip out to TN and got in to some trouble in Clarksville and needed representation for a case while I was I back in my home state. I went to Grimes, Sensing & Clemons feeling distraught and like I had no hope, seeking a solid defense attorney that would actually fight for my case and get me the best possible deal. I left feeling comfortable and confident. I can honestly say I was not disappointed, the only time I needed to come back to TN was for the sentencing(mind you cases may differ) and unbelievably Jeffery Grimes was able to pull a rabbit out of a hat and get a felony charge reduced to a misdemeanor as well as talk down the court fines... I strongly suggest Jeffery Grimes as your defense attorney for any legal issues you may have, also their fees are very reasonable and they will do payment plans. Thank you very much Grimes, Sensing and Clemons.- Spence W.
Thank you so much Grimes, Sensing & Clemons PLLC!! I've been working with them for months and I couldn't be happier. Grimes helped with all of the little details I didn't even know I needed. He is always friendly and ready to answer all of my questions. Your attention to my case has allowed me to focus on what's important to me, healing and family. Thank you for helping me I know it’s your job but the peace of mind you gave me is priceless. Thanks again! ~ YC- Satisfied Client
I hired Mr Sensing to assist me with the modification of a parenting plan that just wasn’t working anymore. I hired another lawyer in the Clarksville area that did not do their due diligence. Mr Sensing and his team were great throughout the process. Emails and phone calls were actually returned in a timely manner! Which wasn’t the case with the lawyer I used before. I had access to all my court documents and was always kept informed on what was going on with my case. Lastly Mr Sensing is very experienced and knowledgeable in his field. The outcome for my request was better than I could have hoped for, and I honestly feel like that was due to Mr Sensing.- Toni M.
Grimes is the best defense lawyer you could ask for. He was able to take what would generally be a felony for sure and get it down to a misdemeanor and a fine. If you have him as your lawyer, you won't have anything to worry about.- Dennis H.
Mr.Grimes made my case go very smoothly and easily for me I was out of state for a good part of it he went out of his way to let me know if something changed and he was always very professional and fairly priced! I would recommend him a thousand times over!!- David L.
Mr. Sensing is an excellent attorney. He fought with me the whole 2 years my case took for me to get the time with my son I’ve always wanted. I will definitely recommend his services to anyone and I will be going back to him if I have any issues in the future. Also Pat and Amy are awesome!!- Satisfied Client