Tennessee Adoption Laws
Tennessee Adoption Laws: Overview
State laws govern the adoption process in the U.S. and can often vary, despite efforts to adopt a common uniform code. State adoption laws regulate who is eligible to adopt a child, the age a child's consent is required, the protocol that must be followed, and other aspects of the adoption process. Prospective parents in Tennessee must complete a home study program, which educates the adoptive family and allows the child's social worker to sign off on the adoption.
See the following chart to learn the basics of Tennessee's adoption laws, and visit FindLaw's Adoption section for more resources.
|Code Section||36-1-101, et seq.|
|Who May Be Adopted||Any person|
|Age that Child's Consent Needed||14 years and older|
|Who May Adopt||Any person over 18 years of age who has been Tennessee resident for 6 months. Residency requirement may be waived under certain circumstances. Spouse shall join in petition if competent (unless natural parent of child to be adopted).|
|Home Residency Required Prior to Finalization of Adoption?||1 year|
|State Agency/Court||Children's Services/Chancery or Circuit|
|Statute of Limitations to Challenge||1 year|
Note: State laws are constantly changing. FindLaw regularly updates these pages, but you may also want to contact a Tennessee adoption attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
Who May Adopt a Child in Tennessee?
Tennessee's adoption laws are fairly welcoming, as the requirements for adoptive parents are primarily focused on the adopted child's well-being. In Tennessee, prospective parents must be at least 18, a resident of Tennessee for at least six months, and the ability to provide for the financial and emotional needs of your family.
The Tennessee Department of Children's Services provides the following resources for prospective parents:
- Adoption Best Practices Manual (PDF)
- Adopt US Kids
- Access to Tennessee Adoption Records
- Tennessee Adoption Support and Preservation
- Forever Family (WRCB Television)
Information for Birth Mothers
At the earliest, legal adoption proceedings may not begin until four days after the birth of the child. However, mothers can get the process started sooner, which may include access to counseling; legal help; and additional resources. Unless there is some other court proceeding in effect, the birth mother remains the legal parent until the point of surrender. The birth parent may choose the adoptive parent, but may have limited options at that point.
Research the Law
- Tennessee Law
- Official State Codes - Links to the official online statutes (laws) in all 50 states and DC.
Tennessee Adoption Laws: Related Resources