Adoption in Tennessee
August 26, 2023
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Adoption in Tennessee

Does Tennessee law allow for adoption?

Yes, it certainly does. Tennessee law clarifies that one of the purposes of its adoption laws is to ensure that children are “to be raised in loving homes that are capable of providing proper care for adopted children and that the best interests of children in the adoptive process are protected.” The adoptive process must respect the rights of all persons involved in the process, including the biological parents, the presumed adoptive parents, and, of course, the child or children involved.

Whose best interests trump all others involved?

The best interests of the child or children involved in the adoptive process trump the rights of all others involved. Tennessee law explicitly provides that “[i]n all cases, when the best interests of the child and those of the adults are in conflict, such conflict shall always be resolved to favor the rights and the best interests of the child, which interests are hereby recognized as constitutionally protected and, to that end, this part shall be liberally construed.”

This legalese means that the courts will endeavor to ensure that the paramount or chief concern of the courts during the adoptive process is that the best interests of the child is the most important factor.

What does surrender mean in the adoptive process?

Surrender means that a biological parent gives or terminates their parental rights and allows their child to be placed with adoptive parents. In other words, surrender means that a biological parent willingly ends their status as the legal parent or guardian of their child. The law requires that the person surrendering their parental rights sign a so-called “Surrender Form” in which they sign. The form is also signed by the judge, who interviews the person to make sure that they understand what they are relinquishing during this process. The form states that a parent who has surrendered their parental rights has only three days from the date of signing to revoke such a surrender.

So a natural parent can revoke their surrender?

Yes, they can, but they have only three days to do so under Tennessee law. The law provides that “the surrender shall be revoked by appearing before the judge who accepted the surrender or that judge’s successor or substitute.” Furthermore, the three-day period can be shortened by the court to 24 hours if the person who surrendered their parental rights is represented by a Tennessee-licensed attorney.

Can a parent under 18 years of age legally consent to the adoption of her child?

Yes, Tennessee law provides that a biological parent under the age of 18 can consent to adoption and surrender their parental rights. The Tennessee law in question provides that such a parent under the age of 18 can consent to adoption just as a person over the age of majority can. The statute does provide that the court can provide this young parent with a Guardian ad Litem who can advise and assist this young parent during the process. A Guardian ad Litem is an individual appointed by the court to look after and advise a person in a legal process.

Adoption in Tennessee? Trust a Local Lebanon TN Adoption Lawyer

Hagar & Phillips family law and adoption services are available for Lebanon, Tennessee, and the surrounding middle Tennessee counties. Learn about adoption or schedule a meeting by visiting

Hagar & Phillips is located in a historic district in Lebanon, Tennessee. For more information about Hagar & Phillips, Attorneys at Law, PLLC, please visit

About Hagar & Phillips, Attorneys at Law, PLLC

Hagar & Phillips, Attorneys at Law, PLLC (H&P) is a law firm with over 30 years of experience serving the city of Lebanon, Wilson County, and surrounding counties. The attorneys in Lebanon, TN, focus on exceeding clients’ expectations. Practice areas include Family Law, Criminal Defense, Healthcare Law, Civil Litigation, Business Law and Contract Law. Contact our office today to schedule an appointment.

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