Postadoption Contact Agreements Between Birth and Adoptive Families - Georgia

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What may be included in postadoption contact agreements?

Citation: Ann. Code § 19-8-27

A postadoption contact agreement may provide for privileges regarding a child who is being adopted or who has been adopted, including, but not limited to, visitation with such child, contact with such child, sharing of information about such child, or sharing of information about birth relatives.

A postadoption contact agreement shall contain the following warnings in at least 14-point boldface type:

  • After the entry of a decree for adoption, an adoption cannot be set aside due to the failure of an adopting parent, a biological parent, a birth relative, or the child to follow the terms of this agreement or a later change to this agreement.
  • A disagreement between the parties or litigation brought to enforce, terminate, or modify this agreement shall not affect the validity of the adoption and shall not serve as a basis for orders affecting the custody of the child.

Who may be a party to a postadoption contact agreement?

Citation: Ann. Code § 19-8-27

An adopting parent or parents and birth relatives or an adopting parent or parents, birth relatives, and a child who is age 14 or older who is being adopted or who has been adopted may voluntarily enter into a written postadoption contact agreement to permit continuing contact between such birth relatives and such child. A child who is age 14 or older shall be considered a party to a postadoption contact agreement.

The term 'birth relative' includes:

  • A parent, biological father who is not a legal father, grandparent, brother, sister, half-brother, or half-sister who is related by blood or marriage to a child who is being adopted or who has been adopted
  • A grandparent, brother, sister, half-brother, or half-sister who is related by adoption to a child who is being adopted or who has been adopted

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

Citation: Ann. Code § 19-8-27

Enforcement, modification, or termination of a postadoption contact agreement shall be under the continuing jurisdiction of the court that granted the petition for adoption. However, the parties to a postadoption contact agreement may expressly waive the right to enforce, modify, or terminate such agreement.

Any party to the postadoption contact agreement may, at any time, file the original postadoption contact agreement with the court that has or had jurisdiction over the adoption, if such agreement provides for the court to enforce such agreement or such agreement is silent as to the issue of enforcement.

Are agreements legally enforceable?

Citation: Ann. Code § 19-8-27

In order to be an enforceable postadoption contact agreement, the agreement shall be in writing and signed by all of the parties to such agreement acknowledging their consent to its terms and conditions.

How may an agreement be terminated or modified?

Citation: Ann. Code § 19-8-27

A postadoption contact agreement always may be modified or terminated if the parties have voluntarily signed a written modified postadoption contact agreement or termination of a postadoption contact agreement. A modified postadoption contact agreement may be filed with the court, if the agreement provides for the court to enforce the agreement or the agreement is silent as to the issue of enforcement.

With respect to agreements that provide for court enforcement or termination or are silent as to such matters, any party may file a petition to enforce or terminate the agreement with the court that granted the petition for adoption, and the court shall enforce the terms of the agreement or terminate the agreement if the court finds by a preponderance of the evidence that the enforcement or termination is necessary to serve the child's best interests.

With respect to agreements that provide for court modification or are silent as to modification, only the adopting parent or parents may file a petition seeking modification. The petition shall be filed with the court that granted the petition for adoption, and the court shall modify the agreement if the court finds by a preponderance of the evidence that the modification is necessary to serve the child's best interests and there has been a material change of circumstances since the current postadoption contact agreement was executed.

A court may require the party seeking modification, termination, or enforcement of a postadoption contact agreement to participate in mediation or other appropriate alternative dispute resolution.

A court shall not set aside a decree of adoption, rescind a surrender of rights, or modify an order to terminate parental rights or any other prior court order because of the failure of an adoptive parent, a birth relative, or the child to comply with any or all of the original terms of, or subsequent modifications to, a postadoption contact agreement.