Postadoption Contact Agreements Between Birth and Adoptive Families - Utah

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What may be included in postadoption contact agreements?

Citation: Ann. Code § 78B-6-146

A 'postadoption contact agreement' is a document, agreed upon prior to the finalization of an adoption of a child in the custody of the division, that outlines the relationship between an adoptive parent, birth parent, or other birth relative and an adopted child after the finalization of adoption.

A postadoption contact agreement shall:

  • Describe:
    • Visits, if any, that shall take place between the birth parent, other birth relative, adoptive parent, and adopted child
    • The degree of supervision, if any, that shall be required during a visit between a birth parent or other birth relative and the adopted child
    • The information, if any, that shall be provided to a birth parent or other birth relative about the adopted child and how often that information shall be provided
    • The grounds, if any, on which the adoptive parent may decline to permit visits or cease providing the information described above
  • State that following the adoption, the court shall presume that the adoptive parent's judgment about the best interests of the child is correct in any action seeking to enforce, modify, or terminate the agreement

A postadoption contact agreement may not limit the adoptive parent's ability to move out of State.

Who may be a party to a postadoption contact agreement?

Citation: Ann. Code § 78B-6-146

If a child in the custody of the division is placed for adoption, the prospective adoptive parent and birth parent or other birth relative may enter into a postadoption contact agreement as provided in this section. The term 'other birth relative' means a grandparent, stepparent, sibling, stepsibling, aunt, or uncle of the prospective adoptive child.

A birth parent is not required to be a party to a postadoption contact agreement in order to permit an open adoption agreement between a prospective adoptive parent and another birth relative of the child.

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

Citation: Ann. Code § 78B-6-146

The court that approves a postadoption contact agreement retains jurisdiction over modification, termination, and enforcement of an approved postadoption contact agreement.

Violation of an open adoption agreement is not grounds to set aside an adoption or for an award of money damages.

Nothing in this section shall be construed to mean that an open adoption agreement is required before an adoption may be finalized. Refusal or failure to agree to a postadoption contact agreement is not admissible in any adoption proceeding.

Are agreements legally enforceable?

Citation: Ann. Code § 78B-6-146

In order to be legally enforceable, a postadoption contact agreement shall be:

  • Approved by the court before the finalization of the adoption, with the court making a specific finding that the agreement is in the best interest of the child
  • Signed by each party claiming a right or obligation in the agreement
  • Approved by the child, if the adopted child is age 12 or older

In an action seeking enforcement of a postadoption contact agreement, an adoptive parent's judgment about the best interests of the child is entitled to a presumption of correctness. If the party seeking to enforce the postadoption contact agreement successfully rebuts that presumption, the court shall consider whether:

  • The parties performed the duties outlined in the open adoption agreement in good faith.
  • There is a reasonable alternative that fulfills the spirit of the open adoption agreement without ordering mandatory compliance with the open adoption agreement.
  • Enforcement of the open adoption agreement is in the best interests of the adopted child.

The court shall order the parties to attend mediation if the presumption of the correctness of the adoptive parent's judgment is successfully rebutted, and mediation is in the child's best interests.

An open adoption agreement that has been found not to be in the best interests of the adopted child shall not be enforced.

How may an agreement be terminated or modified?

Citation: Ann. Code § 78B-6-146

A postadoption contact agreement may be modified only with the consent of the adoptive parent.