Postadoption Contact Agreements Between Birth and Adoptive Families - District of Columbia

Date:

What may be included in postadoption contact agreements?

Citation: Ann. Code § 4-361

A written postadoption contact agreement may allow contact after the adoption between the adopted child and a birth parent or other birth relative of the child. Written consent to the agreement must be obtained from an adopted child who is age 14 or older.

Who may be a party to a postadoption contact agreement?

Citation: Ann. Code § 4-361

The agreement is made between a prospective adoptive parent or an adoptive parent and the birth parent or other birth relative of the adopted child.

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

Citation: Ann. Code § 4-361

The Family Court of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia must enforce an agreement if the court finds that enforcement is in the best interests of the adopted child. In enforcing an agreement, the court shall take into consideration the written consent of an adopted child who is age 14 years or older. For cases involving an adopted child who is a respondent in a child abuse or neglect case, the court finalizing the adoption shall review and approve any postadoption contact agreement based on whether it is in the best interests of the child prior to finalizing the adoption.

Are agreements legally enforceable?

Citation: Ann. Code § 4-361

Failure to comply with a condition of the postadoption agreement shall not be grounds for revoking consent to or setting aside an order for adoption.

How may an agreement be terminated or modified?

Citation: Ann. Code § 4-361

If a party to the agreement moves to modify the agreement and satisfies the court that the modification is in the best interests of the child, the court must order that the agreement be modified accordingly.

If a dispute arises between the parties to an agreement, the parties shall certify that they have participated or attempted to participate, in good faith, in mediation or other appropriate dispute resolution proceedings to resolve the dispute prior to seeking judicial resolution. The mediator shall be selected by the adoptive parent.