2019 Tennessee Code
Title 36 - Domestic Relations
Chapter 1 - Adoption
Part 1 - General Provisions
§ 36-1-115. Persons eligible to file adoption petition -- Residence requirements -- Preference for foster parents.
(a) Any person over eighteen (18) years of age may petition the chancery or circuit court to adopt a person and may request that the adopted person's name be changed.
(b) The petitioners must have physical custody or must demonstrate to the court that they have the right to receive custody of the child sought to be adopted as provided in § 36-1-111(d)(6) at the time the petition is filed, unless they are filing an intervening petition seeking to adopt the child.
(c) If the petitioner has a spouse living, competent to join in the petition, such spouse shall join in the petition; provided, that if the spouse of the petitioner is a legal or biological parent of the child to be adopted, such spouse shall sign the petition as co-petitioner, and this shall be sufficient consent by the legal or biological parent for the petitioner's spouse to adopt the child of the legal or biological parent, and no surrender shall be necessary by such co-petitioning legal or biological parent. Such action by the legal or biological parent shall not otherwise affect the legal relationship between that parent and the child.
(d) The petitioner or petitioners shall live and maintain their regular place of abode in this state when the adoption petition is filed. Nonresidents may also file a petition to adopt a child in this state, if they file such petition in the county where a court granted the nonresidents partial or complete guardianship of the child.
(e) If one (1) or both of petitioners is an active duty service member in the United States military, the service member and any co-petitioner with the service member may file a petition for adoption in this state without actual residency in this state, if the service member has lived, or maintained a regular place of abode, within this state for six (6) consecutive months immediately prior to entering military service or if this state is the service member's state of legal residence as identified to the United States military.
(f) Where the petitioner is seeking to adopt a child that is related, the residency requirement in subsections (d) and (e) shall not apply if the petitioner is an actual resident of this state at the time the petition is filed.
(1) When a child is placed in a foster home by the department or otherwise, and becomes available for adoption due to the termination or surrender of all parental or guardianship rights to the child, those foster parents shall be given first preference to adopt the child if the child has resided in the foster home for twelve (12) or more consecutive months immediately preceding the filing of an adoption petition.
(2) In becoming adoptive parents, the foster parents shall meet all requirements otherwise imposed on persons seeking to adopt children in the custody of the department, and shall be subject to all other provisions of this part.