Vanderbilt Law Review

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In the case of In re Van Huss' Petition' the Tennessee Supreme Court denied an adoption under a literal interpretation of the residence requirements inserted into the adoption statutes in 1959. Under the 1959 statutes, although the petitioners in adoption proceedings were not required to make Tennessee their legal residence, they were required to "have lived, maintained a home and been physically present in Tennessee, or on federal territory within the boundaries of Tennessee for one (1) year next preceding the filing of the petition .... -

In the Van Huss case the petitioning husband met all of the other requirements of the adoption statutes. He had lived in Tennessee all of his life, and he and his wife maintained a residence within the state. During the year preceding the filing of the petition, however, he had been in naval service and had been stationed outside the state, having visited the state only during short periods of leave. The majority of the supreme court held that he did not meet the statutory requirements for this reason and denied the adoption. The court pointed out that adoption is entirely statutory in nature and that there must be strict compliance with all statutory requirements. The dissenting member of the court felt that the holding accomplished a result wholly unintended by the legislature and that many residents of the state who were temporarily called out of the state on business would be disqualified by this interpretation of the statutes.

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