Tennessee Code Title 36. Domestic Relations § 36-1-115

(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 have lived, or maintained a regular place of abode, in this state or on federal territory within the boundaries of this state for six (6) consecutive months immediately preceding the filing of the adoption petition.

(e) If the petitioner is in military service stationed out of this state, but had lived, or maintained a regular place of abode, within this state for six (6) consecutive months immediately prior to entering military service, the residency requirement in subsection (d) shall not apply.

(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.

(g)(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.

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