Dawn Coppock, Esq., is widely recognized as the preeminent authority on Tennessee adoption law. She also happens to be a wonderful person.
When I was a “baby lawyer” 20 years ago, one of the partners in the firm where I worked told me to handle a pro bono stepparent adoption for one of the firm’s clients. I had never done an adoption before, nor had any of the other lawyers in the firm. Without anyone to give me direction, I had to figure it out on my own.
My research quickly led me to Coppock on Tennessee Adoption Law. By following the clear instructions in the book, I successfully completed my first adoption.
At some point during that first adoption I had a question so I called Dawn. I’m sure she gets calls from desperate lawyers all the time. Instead of saying, “Read my book, dummy,” she graciously pointed me in the right direction. She even gave me some cool ideas for a post-adoption “promise ceremony” for the child. I passed those ideas to the staff in the office, and they organized a marvelous ceremony that no one who was present will ever forget.
Since that time, we have become much more proficient in handling termination-of-parental-rights cases and adoption matters. What hasn’t changed, however, is our reliance on Coppock on Tennessee Adoption Law.
We consult that treatise whenever we do an adoption. It is indispensable. The definitive answer to almost any question begins with, “Coppock says . . . .”
Earlier this year, the seventh edition of Coppock on Tennessee Adoption Law was released. The law has changed since the sixth edition was published in 2011, and all of the changes are addressed in the seventh edition. These changes include:
- new procedures for legal fathers to deny paternity;
- new caselaw on the required notice and due-process issues;
- new grounds for termination of parental rights;
- new proof requirements for failure-to-support grounds;
- new time limits for revoking a voluntary surrender of parental rights;
- changes in the rights of unmarried fathers and new procedures for proceeding without them; and
- changes to the scope of appellate review of termination-of-parental-rights cases.
The seventh edition also features updated pleadings and new forms, such as new paternity affidavits.
Simply put, any lawyer handling adoptions in Tennessee should have this book. If you don’t have it, get it. It is the ultimate authority on Tennessee adoption law for lawyers and judges across the state.
Information provided by K.O. Herston: Knoxville, Tennessee Divorce and Family-Law Attorney.