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Adoption


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I. What adoption is:

A. Generally

Adoption is where a person becomes the child of another person. The person being adopted is not usually the natural relative of the person who adopting.

However, adoptions do occur where the aunt or uncle; grand parent; or the cousin adopts a relative's child.

The most common adoptions are of children. Most commonly, a parent re-marries, and the new spouse adopts the natural child of the new spouse.

B. Contested versus Uncontested

An adoption is uncontested if all parties consent to the adoption, especially the parent who is surrendering the parental rights.

An adoption is contested if the party from whom the child is to be severed does not agree to the adoption. Contested adoptions usually center around an abandonment by the non custdial parent.

Call 901-757-5557 for a free appointment to discuss your situation.


II. Rights

 A. Child

After adoption, the child has the right to inherit from the adoptive parent, the same as any natural sibling.

B. Parents

The parent who obtains custody of the child has the right to obtain child support from a parent if there is a separation or divorce. Either parent may obtain custody. Custody is not guaranteed to the natural parent.

The parent who does not obtain custody, most often (but not always) the adoptive parent, will have to pay child support in the event of separation or divorce.

C. Unmarried parents

A father who has not married the mother must be notified if the child is to be adopted, and his consent obtained. If his address is unknown, the putative father registry must be checked to see if he has listed himself. He then must be notified.

D. Grandparents

Grandparents do not always lose their rights in an adoption. However, they may lose their rights.

E. The Surrendering Parent

The parent whose ties are severed loses all rights: No visitation; No contact; No phone calls; no nothing. This is a high price to pay for not having to pay child support.

Call 901-757-5557 for a free appointment to discuss your situation.


III. Procedure

 In 1997, the law was changed to require much more paperwork than previously.

Not only is a petition for adoption now required, but also an affidavit of the attorney, a financial affidavit of the prospective adoptive parent, and the surrendering parent is required to be a joint petitioner (signor) of the petition for adoption in an uncontested adoption.

There are other requirements, including the production of the birth certificate, an original marriage certificate (if the new spouse is adopting), and other documentation.

These are filed with the Court.

In an uncontested adoption, after all paperwork is submitted, a hearing date is requested of the Chancery Court. The adopting parties appear on the Court date and answer applicable questions from the lawyer and the Judge. The Judge signs a Final Decree of Adoption which is composed by the lawyer. A new birth certificate is then ordered from the state capital for the parties.


IV. Fees

Uncontested adoptions: $1,950.00 plus expenses and filing fees of $275.00.

Uncontested adoptions BY PUBLICATION:   $2,500.00 plus filing fees of $275.00 plus publication fees of $125.00.

Contested adoptions: *$5,000.00 retainer against an hourly fee of $350.00 per Hour, plus filing fees and expenses of $275.00.

Once the retainer is used, the client is billed on a

Monthly basis for accumulated fees and costs.

* Retainers and hourly fees are less for associate lawyers in the Firm than for partners or principal lawyers in the Firm.

Filing fees are what the Court Clerk charges to file the

Petition for adoption with the Court.

Any additional Court costs are assessed to the losing party ( or the adopting Party in an uncontested adoption) and billed later by the Court.

Call 901-757-5557 for a free appointment to discuss your situation.

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Phone: 901-757-5557
Cordova (Memphis), Tennessee


Talk to another attorney and talk to us.
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