Unregulated Custody Transfers of Adopted Children - Tennessee

Date: August 2022


Citation: Ann. Code §§ 34-6-302; 36-7-102

The term 'parent' includes a legal guardian or legal custodian of the minor child.

'Caregiving authority' is the right to live with and care for a child on a day-to-day basis, including physical custody, parenting time, right to access, and visitation.

'Custodial responsibility, includes all powers and duties relating to caregiving authority and decision-making authority for a child, including physical custody, legal custody, parenting time, right to access, visitation, and authority to grant limited contact with a child.

'Decision-making authority' is the power to make important decisions regarding a child, including decisions regarding the child's education, religious training, health care, extracurricular activities, and travel but not including the power to make decisions that necessarily accompany a grant of caregiving authority.

A 'deploying parent' is means a service member who is deployed or has been notified of impending deployment and is a child's parent or an individual who has custodial responsibility for a child. 'Deployment' is the movement or mobilization of a service member for more than 30 days pursuant to uniformed service orders that are designated as unaccompanied, do not authorize dependent travel, or otherwise do not permit the movement of family members to the location to which the service member is deployed.

A 'service member' is a member of a uniformed service, including any of the following:

  • Active and reserve components of the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, or Coast Guard
  • The U.S. Merchant Marine
  • The commissioned corps of the U.S. Public Health Service or the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
  • The National Guard of a State

Prohibited or Required Actions Regarding Custody

Citation: Ann. Code §§ 34-6-302; 36-7-201; 36-7-202; 36-7-205

A parent or parents of a minor child may delegate to any adult person residing in this State temporary caregiving authority regarding the minor child when hardship prevents the parent or parents from caring for the child. This authority may be delegated without the approval of a court by executing in writing a power of attorney on a form provided by the Department of Children's Services. Hardships may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • The serious illness or incarceration of a parent
  • The physical or mental condition of the parent or the child is such that care and supervision of the child cannot be provided
  • The loss or uninhabitability of the child's home as the result of a natural disaster

The power of attorney for care of the minor child shall be signed by the parent and acknowledged before a notary public or two witnesses who shall sign and date their signatures concurrently and in each other's presence.

The parents of a child may enter into a temporary agreement under this part granting custodial responsibility during deployment. The agreement must be in writing and signed by both parents and any nonparent to whom custodial responsibility is granted. An agreement is temporary and terminates after the deploying parent returns from deployment unless the agreement has been terminated before that time by court order or modification under § 36-7-203.

An agreement or power of attorney must be filed within a reasonable time with any court that has entered an order on custodial responsibility or child support that is in effect concerning the child who is the subject of the agreement or power of attorney and shall be binding upon the parties upon approval by the court.


This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.


This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.