The Adoption Law Center, PLLC is a family formation law firm. We guide families through a complex legal process to attain a binding legal adoption, making your forever family legally secure.
The Adoption Law Center practices exclusively adoption and family formation law. Our service area includes the following counties in Tennessee:
- Bedford County
- Cheatham County
- Davidson County
- Dickson County
- Franklin County
- Lewis County
- Lincoln County
- Marshall County
- Maury County
- Montgomery County
- Robertson County
- Rutherford County
- Sumner County
- Trousdale County
- Williamson County
- Wilson County
Why choose the Adoption Law Center?
- We Care! You are not just a number at the Adoption Law Center. Compassion is part of our legal representation. We recognize that your memories of the adoption process are influenced by the legal representation you receive. We promise to do everything in our power to make it an amazing memory!
- We Answer The Phone! At the Adoption Law Center, you won’t be left in the dark. We return all phone calls and emails promptly. You never have to wonder the status of your case. We keep you updated!
- We Take Action! Within two weeks of retaining us and providing the required documentation, we will send you a draft of the Petition for Adoption. We’ll ask that you review it to ensure everything is accurate.
- Experience Matters! We can tell you what to expect based on our experience with the local rules and customs in each county and before each Judge. For example:
- The Fourth Circuit handles all adoptions filed in Davidson County. The presiding Judge requires a home study in all relative and stepparent adoptions. Other counties in Tennessee typically waive the home study requirement for relative adoptions.
- In Clarksville, the Petition for Adoption is filed with the Montgomery County Chancery Court Clerk, and they assign the case to either a Chancellor or a Circuit Court Judge.
- In Cheatham County and many of the smaller counties, the Judges circuit through other counties and courts. Sometimes a month or more will pass before a Judge is available for the final hearing.
- The Wilson County Circuit Court Clerk’s office in Lebanon is notoriously helpful!
Our focus on adoption cases means your attorney’s time is not split between divorces, child support, and custody actions. We welcome all inquiries regarding adoption from birth parents, prospective adoptive parents, agencies, and lawyers. We are always happy to talk through options with families, consult with out-of-state attorneys, and provide guidance to fellow attorneys practicing in Tennessee.
We also have excellent working relationship with agencies. Based on your values and your legal issues, we will give you a few options for agencies that will best meet your family’s needs to conduct a home study or assist with placement.
The adoption triad consists of the birth parents, adoptive parents, and the child. All three parties are emotionally vulnerable during the process of matching and placing the child.
We will advocate for you, advise you, and maintain impeccable ethics while guiding you through your options. No adoption is without risk. We will be honest about assessing the risk in your particular situation so that you have the information you need to make decisions that are best for your family.
Stepparent adoptions are the most common form of adoption, and a beautiful choice of love and commitment. Typically, once a stepparent adoption is finalized, nothing changes in the family dynamic because the family is already living together and formed the relationship of parent and child. Commonly the child’s last name is changed. On adoption day, it’s a pleasure to hear, “Now I get to have the same last name as my mom and dad!”
Independent adoptions occur when custody or guardianship of the child goes directly from the birth parents to the adoptive parents. Sometimes agencies are involved in the cases, and sometimes birth mothers find a prospective adoptive family on their own. We receive frequent inquiries by prospective adoptive families regarding matching with birth parents looking for placement. But typically when birth mothers contact the Adoption Law Center, they have already identified a prospective adoptive family.
Agency adoptions occur when the child is in the legal guardianship of the agency during the required waiting period. The agency matches birth parents with prospective adoptive families. Often these matters involve placing children in Tennessee that were born out-of-state, requiring the prospective adoptive family to travel. The Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC) must be followed when the child is brought into Tennessee for foster care or adoption.
Foster care adoptions are also considered agency adoptions. The State of Tennessee Department of Children’s Services (DCS) is the licensing body in Tennessee for licensed child-placing agencies and serves as the placing agency for children in foster care once the rights of their biological parents are terminated. Permanency for children in foster care is a priority, and DCS usually files the Petition for Termination of Parental Rights. Adoption Assistance covers the costs of the adoptions, including court costs, attorney’s fees, and birth certificate fees as long as they do not exceed a certain amount.
Adult adoptions and International adoptions are among the simpler adoptions from a legal perspective. There is no defense to an adult adoption. If the adoptive parents and adult adoptee both agree to the adoption, it is just a matter of drafting the documents, having them notarized, and filing them with the clerk’s office. Then everyone appears for the final hearing and takes lots pictures!
International adoptions are typically finalized in the country the child is born. The primary purpose of an International adoption is for a Tennessee court to formally recognize the foreign adoption decree and order that a Certificate of Foreign Birth from Tennessee be issued by Tennessee Vital Records.
On your final hearing date, your attorney will meet you at court early. This is the perfect time to take pictures of this memorable moment! Most Courts that prohibit cell phones in the courthouse are happy to make an exception for adoption cases. Just let the court officer at security know you are there for an adoption, and get ready to document your special day!