OK ST T. 10A § 1-4-813
10A Okl.St.Ann. § 1-4-813
Oklahoma Statutes Annotated Currentness
Title 10A. Children and Juvenile Code
Article 1. Oklahoma Children's Code
Chapter 4. Court Proceedings
Part 8. Postdispositional, Placement and Miscellaneous Hearings

§ 1-4-813. Postadoption agreements with birth relatives

A. 1. When the court, pursuant to Section 1-4-812 of this title, finds that a deprived child should be placed for adoption, nothing in the adoption laws of this state shall be construed to prevent the petitioners for adoption of the child from voluntarily entering into a written agreement with the birth relatives, including a birth parent, to permit postadoption contact between the birth relatives and the child. The postadoption contact agreement shall be issued by the court in a separate instrument at the time an adoption decree is entered if the court finds the agreement is voluntary, does not pose a threat to the safety of the child, and is in the best interests of the child.

2. For purposes of this section, "birth relative" means a parent, stepparent, grandparent, great-grandparent, sibling, uncle or aunt of a minor adoptee. This relationship may be by blood or marriage, provided a sibling relationship may be by whole or half blood, marriage, or affinity through a common legal or biological parent. For an Indian child, birth relative includes members of the extended family as defined by the laws or customs of the Indian child's tribe or, in the absence of laws or customs, shall be a person who has reached eighteen (18) years of age and who is the Indian child's great-grandparent, grandparent, aunt or uncle, brother or sister, brother-in-law or sister-in-law, niece, nephew, or first or second cousin or stepparent, as provided in the Indian Child Welfare Act, United States Code, Title 25, Section 1903.

3. If a child who is separated from a sibling is ordered to be placed for adoption, the court shall order that the Department shall take all of the following steps to facilitate ongoing sibling contact or visitation:

a. provide information to prospective adoptive parents about the importance of sibling relationships to the adopted child and counseling on methods for maintaining sibling relationships,

b. provide prospective adoptive parents with information about siblings of the child; provided, the address where the siblings reside shall not be disclosed unless authorized by a court order for good cause shown, and

c. encourage prospective adoptive parents to make a plan for facilitating postadoptive contact between the child who is the subject of a petition for adoption and any siblings of that child.

4. The terms of the postadoption agreement executed under this section shall be limited to, but need not include, the following if the child has an existing relationship with the birth relative:

a. provisions for visitation between the child and the birth relatives,

b. provisions for contact between birth relatives and the child or an adoptive parent, or both,

c. provisions for the adoptive parent to facilitate sibling contact or visitation, and

d. provisions for the sharing of information about the child.

5. The terms of any postadoption agreement shall be limited to the sharing of information about the child if the child did not have an existing relationship with the birth relative.

B. 1. A postadoption agreement is not legally enforceable unless the terms of the agreement are contained in a written court order entered in accordance with this section.

2. An order must be sought and shall be filed in the adoption action. The order shall be issued by separate instrument at the time an adoption decree is entered.

3. The court shall not enter a proposed order unless the terms of the order have been approved in writing by the prospective adoptive parents, the birth relative who desires to be a party to the agreement, the child, if twelve (12) years of age or older, and, if the child is in the custody of the Department of Human Services, a representative of the Department. The child shall be represented by an attorney for purposes of consent to the postadoption agreement.

4. The postadoption agreement approved by the court regarding sibling contact or visitation shall be provided by the Department to the adoptive parent or parents, foster parent, relative caretaker, legal guardian of the child and siblings or others as necessary to facilitate the sibling contact or visitation.

C. Failure to comply with the terms of the postadoption agreement as ordered by the court pursuant to this section shall not be grounds for:

1. Setting aside an adoption decree;

2. Revocation of a written consent to an adoption after that consent has become irrevocable;

3. An action for citation of indirect contempt of court; and

4. Preventing the adoptive parent or parents of the child from changing residence within or outside the state.

D. 1. Although the entry of the decree of adoption terminates the jurisdiction of the juvenile court over the child, the enforcement of the postadoption agreement and subsequent order shall be under the continuing jurisdiction of the court granting the petition for adoption.

2. The court may not order compliance with the agreement absent a finding that the party seeking the enforcement participated in good faith in mediation or other appropriate dispute resolution proceedings regarding the conflict prior to the filing of the enforcement action, and that the enforcement is in the best interests of the child. Documentary evidence or offers of proof may serve as the basis for the court's decision regarding enforcement. No testimony or evidentiary hearing shall be required.

3. The prevailing party may be awarded reasonable attorney fees and costs. All costs and fees of mediation or other appropriate dispute resolution proceedings shall be borne by each party, excluding the child.

E. A postadoption agreement may be modified or terminated only if the court finds that the modification or termination is necessary to serve the best interests of the child, and

is agreed to by

all parties, including the child if the child is twelve (12) years of age or older at the time of the requested modification or termination.

CREDIT(S)

Laws 1998, c. 421, § 23, emerg. eff. June 11, 1998; Laws 2000, c. 374, § 21, eff. July 1, 2000. Renumbered from Title 10, § 7003-5.6f and amended by Laws 2009, c. 233, §§ 45, 259, emerg. eff. May 21, 2009.

HISTORICAL AND STATUTORY NOTES

2009 Main Volume

Laws 2000, c. 374, § 21, in subsection A, inserted ", visitation of"; rewrote subsection B, which prior thereto read:

"For purposes of this section, 'birth relative' means a parent, stepparent, grandparent, brother, sister, uncle or aunt of a minor adoptee. This relationship may be by blood or marriage. For an Indian child, birth relative includes members of the extended family as defined by the laws or customs of the Indian child's tribe or, in the absence of laws or customs, nieces, nephews, or first or second cousins, as provided in the Indian Child Welfare Act, United States Code, Title 25, Section 1903."

; in subsection C, in paragraph 1, inserted ", visitation of", and in paragraph 2, substituted "and shall be filed in the adoption action" for "at the same time a petition for adoption is filed"; in subsection D, inserted ", visitation of", and "and poses no threat to the safety of the child or integrity of the adoptive placement"; in subsection E, in the introductory paragraph, inserted ", visitation", and added paragraph 3; in subsection F, in paragraph 1, inserted "with supporting documentation"; and made other nonsubstantive changes.

Laws 2009 c. 233, § 45, rewrote section, which prior thereto read:

"A. If a child has resided with a birth relative before being adopted, the adoptive parents and that birth relative may enter into an agreement pursuant to the provisions of this section regarding communication with, visitation of or contact between the child, adoptive parents and the birth relative.

"B. For purposes of this section, 'birth relative' means a parent, stepparent, grandparent, great-grandparent, brother, sister, uncle or aunt of a minor adoptee. This relationship may be by blood or marriage. For an Indian child, birth relative includes members of the extended family as defined by the laws or customs of the Indian child's tribe or, in the absence of laws or customs, shall be a person who has reached eighteen (18) years of age and who is the Indian child's great-grandparent, grandparent, aunt or uncle, brother or sister, brother-in-law or sister-in-law, niece, nephew, or first or second cousin or stepparent, as provided in the Indian Child Welfare Act, United States Code, Title 25, Section 1903.

"C. 1. An agreement regarding communication with, visitation of or contact between the child, adoptive parents and a birth relative is not legally enforceable unless the terms of the agreement are contained in a written court order entered in accordance with this section.

"2. An order must be sought and shall be filed in the adoption action.

"3. The court shall not enter a proposed order unless the terms of the order have been approved in writing by the prospective adoptive parents, the birth relative who desires to be a party to the agreement, and, if the child is in the custody of the Department of Human Services, a representative of the Department.

"D. The court shall not enter a proposed order unless the court finds that the communication, visitation of or contact between the child, the adoptive parents and a birth relative as agreed upon and contained in the proposed order would be in the child's best interests and poses no threat to the safety of the child or integrity of the adoptive placement.

"E. Failure to comply with the terms of an agreed order regarding communication, visitation or contact that has been entered by the court pursuant to this section shall not be grounds for:

"1. Setting aside an adoption decree;

"2. Revocation of a written consent to an adoption after that consent has become irrevocable; and

"3. An action for citation of indirect contempt of court.

"F. 1. An agreed order entered pursuant to the provisions of this section may be enforced or modified by filing a petition or motion with the court that includes a certified copy of the order granting the communication, contact or visitation, but only if the petition or motion is accompanied by an affidavit with supporting documentation that the parties have mediated or attempted to mediate any dispute under the agreement or that the parties agree to a proposed modification.

"2. The prevailing party may be awarded reasonable attorney fees and costs.

"3. The court shall not modify an agreed order pursuant to this section unless it finds that the modification is necessary to serve the best interests of the child, and:

"a. the modification is agreed to by the adoptive parent and the birth relative, or

"b. exceptional circumstances have arisen since the agreed order was entered that justify modification of the order."

10A Okl. St. Ann. § 1-4-813, OK ST T. 10A § 1-4-813

Current with chapters of the Second Regular Session of the 52nd Legislature    
(2010) effective September 1, 2010.                                            

Home  |   Search  |   Disclaimer  |   Privacy Statement  |   Site Map