Postadoption Contact Agreements Between Birth and Adoptive Families - Connecticut

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What may be included in postadoption contact agreements?

Citation: Gen. Stat. § 45a-715(j), (k), (o)

A cooperative postadoption agreement shall contain the following:

  • An acknowledgment by either or both birth parents that the termination of parental rights and the adoption is irrevocable, even if the adoptive parents do not abide by the cooperative postadoption agreement
  • An acknowledgment by the adoptive parents that the agreement grants either or both birth parents the right to seek enforcement of the cooperative postadoption agreement

The terms of a cooperative postadoption agreement may include the following:

  • Provision for communication between the child and either or both birth parents
  • Provision for future contact between either or both birth parents and the child or an adoptive parent
  • Maintenance of medical history of either or both birth parents who are a party to the agreement

For any child who is the subject of a petition for adoption under this chapter, the court shall consider the appropriateness of postadoption communication or contact with a sibling of the child, including, but not limited to, visitation, written correspondence, or telephone calls. If the court determines such postadoption communication or contact is in the best interests of the child, the court shall order that such child have access to and visitation rights with such sibling until the child reaches age 18.

Who may be a party to a postadoption contact agreement?

Citation: Gen. Stat. § 45a-715(h)

Either or both birth parents and an intended adoptive parent may enter into a cooperative postadoption agreement regarding communication or contact between either or both birth parents and the adopted child. Such an agreement may be entered into if:

  • An order terminating parental rights has not yet been entered.
  • Either or both birth parents agree to a voluntary termination of parental rights, including an agreement in a case that began as an involuntary termination of parental rights.

The postadoption agreement shall be applicable only to a birth parent who is a party to the agreement. Such agreement shall be in addition to those under common law.

Counsel for the child and any guardian ad litem for the child may be heard on the proposed cooperative postadoption agreement. There shall be no presumption of communication or contact between the birth parents and an intended adoptive parent in the absence of a cooperative postadoption agreement.

What is the role of the court in postadoption contact agreements?

Citation: Gen. Stat. § 45a-715(i)

If the probate court determines that the child's best interests will be served by postadoption communication or contact with either or both birth parents, the court shall so order, stating the nature and frequency of the communication or contact. A court may grant postadoption communication or contact privileges if:

  • Each intended adoptive parent consents to the granting of communication or contact privileges.
  • The intended adoptive parent and either or both birth parents execute a cooperative agreement and file the agreement with the court.
  • Consent to postadoption communication or contact is obtained from the child, if the child is at least 12 years old.
  • The cooperative postadoption agreement is approved by the court.

Are agreements legally enforceable?

Citation: Gen. Stat. § 45a-715(j), (m)

A cooperative postadoption agreement shall contain the following:

  • An acknowledgment by either or both birth parents that the termination of parental rights and the adoption is irrevocable, even if the adoptive parents do not abide by the cooperative postadoption agreement
  • An acknowledgment by the adoptive parents that the agreement grants either or both birth parents the right to seek enforcement of the cooperative postadoption agreement

A disagreement between the parties or litigation brought to enforce or modify the agreement shall not affect the validity of the termination of parental rights or the adoption and shall not serve as a basis for orders affecting the custody of the child.

How may an agreement be terminated or modified?

Citation: Gen. Stat. § 45a-715(m), (n)

The court shall not act on a petition to change or enforce the agreement unless the petitioner had participated, or attempted to participate, in good faith in mediation or other appropriate dispute resolution proceedings to resolve the dispute.

An adoptive parent, guardian ad litem for the child, or the court on its own motion may, at any time, petition for review of communication or contact ordered by the court if the adoptive parent believes that the best interests of the child are being compromised. The court may order the communication or contact to be terminated or order such conditions with regard to communication or contact as the court deems to be in the best interests of the adopted child.