- A Long, Stable Marriage
Most Tennessee courts have an informal rule that a couple must be married for at least six months to a year before the court will grant a stepparent adoption. Unless there is some emergency which requires an immediate adoption, it is usually best to wait at least six months from the date of marriage to file an adoption petition.
- A Great Relationship with Your Kiddo
Stepparents wishing to adopt their stepchild should realize what an important step they are taking. Adoptions are permanent, and they have a major impact on both adoptive parent and child. Both biological parents and stepparents should be aware that in the event of a divorce, custody and child support issues will arise in exactly the same way that they would with a biological child. In addition to showing at least a six-month marriage, it is always helpful if the adopting stepparent can show a years-long, close relationship with the child they are adopting. Learn more about what adoption really means here.
- Consent from Both Biological Parents (or a Termination)
Finally, before a stepparent can adopt, one biological parent’s rights must be terminated. If the other biological parent is willing to have their rights terminated, the process is fairly simple. The biological parent wishing to terminate their rights can sign on to the adoption petition along with the other biological parent and the stepparent. If the other biological parent does not consent, then you must have grounds to terminate, and show the court that termination is in the best interest of the child. Learn more about termination here.
This article was written and produced by Chelsea Price.