Postadoption Contact Agreements Between Birth and Adoptive Families - Minnesota

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What may be included in postadoption contact agreements?

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 259.58

Adoptive parents and a birth relative or foster parents may enter an agreement regarding communication, contact, or visitation with or between a minor adopted child, adoptive parents, and a birth relative or foster parents.

Who may be a party to a postadoption contact agreement?

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 259.58

An agreement may be entered between:

  • Adoptive parents and a birth parent
  • Adoptive parents and any other birth relative or foster parent with whom the child resided before being adopted
  • Adoptive parents and any other birth relative if the child is adopted by a birth relative upon the death of both birth parents

For purposes of this section, 'birth relative' means a parent, stepparent, grandparent, brother, sister, uncle, or aunt of a minor adopted child. This relationship may be by blood, adoption, or marriage. For an Indian child, birth relative includes members of the extended family as defined by the law or custom of the Indian child's Tribe or, in the absence of laws or custom, nieces, nephews, or first or second cousins, as provided in the Indian Child Welfare Act.

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

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 259.58

An agreement regarding communication with or contact between minor adopted 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.

An order may be sought at any time before a decree of adoption is granted. The order must be issued within 30 days of being submitted to the court or by the granting of the decree of adoption, whichever is earlier.

The court shall not enter a proposed order unless the terms of the order have been approved in writing by the prospective adoptive parents, a birth relative, or foster parent who desires to be a party to the agreement and, if the child is in the custody of or under the guardianship of an agency, a representative of the agency.

A birth parent must approve in writing an agreement between adoptive parents and any other birth relative or foster parent, unless an action has been filed against the birth parent by a county under chapter 260.

An agreement under this section need not disclose the identity of the parties to be legally enforceable.

The court shall not enter a proposed order unless the court finds that the communication or contact between the minor adopted child, the adoptive parents, and a birth relative as agreed upon and contained in the proposed order would be in the minor adopted child's best interests.

Are agreements legally enforceable?

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 259.58

An agreement regarding communication with or contact between minor adopted children, 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.

An agreed-upon order entered under this section may be enforced by filing a petition or motion with the family 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 that the parties have mediated or attempted to mediate any dispute under the agreement or that the parties agree to a proposed modification. The prevailing party may be awarded reasonable attorney's fees and costs.

Failure to comply with the terms of an agreed-upon order regarding communication or contact that has been entered by the court under this section is not grounds for:

  • Setting aside an adoption decree
  • Revocation of a written consent to an adoption after that consent has become irrevocable

How may an agreement be terminated or modified?

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 259.58

The court shall not modify an agreed-upon order unless it finds that the modification is necessary to serve the best interests of the minor adopted child, and:

  • The modification is agreed to by the parties to the agreement.
  • Exceptional circumstances have arisen since the agreement order was entered that justify modification of the order.