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In order for an adoption to occur, the parental rights of the parents must be severed. This can occur one of two ways: through a voluntary surrender or a contested termination of parental rights proceeding. In a voluntary surrender, the court will not accept the surrender unless there is a parent willing to step in and take the place of the surrendering parent. In a contested termination proceeding, the petitioning parent must prove two things to the court. The first is that there are grounds, or reasons, to terminate the parental rights of the parent or parents. There are statutory grounds listed in Tennessee, and substantial case law to interpret the statutes.  Only once the grounds are proven, does the court consider the second issue, which is whether the termination is in the best interest of the child or children. A family law attorney can assist you in determining the strengths and weaknesses of your case, and discuss the likelihood of whether you would be successful in a contested termination of parental rights proceeding, and ultimately, an adoption.

Pre-nuptial/Post-nuptial agreements

Pre- and post-nuptial agreements are not always revered as the most romantic topics. And in essence, that’s right. These documents are not about the romance. These documents are intended to represent the rational agreement of parties regarding the division of property in the event of divorce.

Conservatorships & Guardianships

There comes a point when a loved one may no longer be able to handle their affairs. The reason could be old age, a mental condition, or a physical or mental handicap. If your loved one is participating in self-destructive behavior, or is being harmful to others, it may be time to consider a conservatorship.

A conservatorship is the court granting the petitioner (usually the proposed conservator) authority to act in the best interest of the ward (the loved one).


If you didn’t get the result you wanted in court, you may have issues that are ripe for an appeal. Some appeals go to another court at the local level, and some appeals go to the Court of Appeals. Kelsy Miller has argued cases in both the Eastern and Middle Division of the Tennessee Court of Appeals, and is familiar with both the written and oral advocacy requirements. During a consultation, Ms. Miller can help you do a cost-benefit analysis and assist you in determining whether your chances of being successful during an appeal are worth the costs. In the meantime, the best thing you can possibly do in order to protect your option to appeal is to hire a court-reporter to ensure that a record of your proceeding is produced. This record is ultimately what the Court of Appeals will review to determine if the trial court made an error, or what the attorney completing the appeal will use in order to prepare.

Surrogacy Agreements

The law office of Kelsy Miller has experience with both traditional and gestational surrogacy agreements. It is absolutely crucial to have an attorney involved as soon as possible in this process because the laws in Tennessee are not as specific as the laws in other states. The Supreme Court of Tennessee has made a recent interpretation of surrogacy agreements in Tennessee, and ensuring that the agreement itself will be upheld is extremely important. Whether you come to Ms. Miller at the beginning of the process or after an agreement has been drafted and executed, legal representation is certainly needed in order to ensure that parentage and custody is determined and ratified in a court order. This court order will provide guidance to the parties, as well as any person or agency delivering the child or children, and can solve problems before they occur.

Tennessee Supreme Court | Other Areas
Tennessee Supreme Court