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Library: Policy

340:75-15-115. Relative contact agreement

Issued 9-17-18

(a) Post-adoption relative contact agreement.When a child in Oklahoma Department of Human Services (DHS) custody is placed for adoption, the adoptive parents may voluntarily enter into a written agreement with the child's birth relatives, including the birth parents, for post-adoption contact with the child, per Section 1-4-813 of Title 10A of the Oklahoma Statutes.The post-adoption relative contact agreement is issued by the court in a separate instrument at the time the adoption decree is entered, when the court finds the relative contact agreement:

(1) is voluntary;

(2) does not pose a threat to the safety of the child; and

(3) is in the child's best interests.

(b) Definition of birth relative.Birth relative means a parent, stepparent, grandparent, great-grandparent, sibling, uncle, or aunt of a minor adoptee.This relationship may be by blood or marriage.A sibling relationship may be by whole or half-blood, marriage, or affinity through a common legal or biological parent.For an Indian child, birth relative includes members of the extended family as defined by the laws or customs of the Indian child's tribe or, in the absence of laws or customs, is a person who is 18 years of age, and who is the Indian child's great-grandparent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, brother, sister, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, niece, nephew, first or second cousin, or stepparent, per the Indian Child Welfare Act, Section 1903 of Title 25 of the United States Code.

(c) Visitation and contact with siblings.When a child, who is separated from a sibling, is placed for adoption, DHS facilitates ongoing sibling contact or visitation by providing the adoptive parents with:

(1) information about the importance of sibling relationships to the child placed for adoption;

(2) methods to maintain sibling relationships;

(3) information about the child's siblings; provided, the address where the siblings reside is not disclosed unless authorized by a court order for good cause shown; and

(4) encouragement to continue post-adoption contact between the child and the child's siblings.

(d) Post-adoption relative contact agreement terms.The post-adoption relative contact agreement terms are limited.When the child does not have an existing relationship with the birth relative, the contact is limited to the sharing of information about the child.When the child has an existing relationship with the birth relative, the relative contact agreement may include provisions for:

(1) visitation between the child and the birth relatives;

(2) contact between the child or an adoptive parent and the birth relatives, or both;

(3) the adoptive parent to facilitate sibling contact or visitation; and

(4) sharing information about the child.

(e) Post-adoption relative contact agreement requirements.A post-adoption relative contact agreement is not legally enforceable, unless the:

(1) child is represented by an attorney for purposes of consent to the post-adoption relative contact agreement;

(2) terms of the post-adoption relative contact agreement are contained in a written court order entered in accordance with the statute;

(3) court order is filed in the adoption action by separate instrument at the time the adoption decree is entered; and

(4) terms of the post-adoption relative contact agreement were approved in writing by the adoptive parents, the birth relative who desires to be a party to the agreement, the child, when 12 years of age and older, and, when the child is in the custody of DHS, a DHS representative.

(f) Approved post-adoption relative contact agreement.The adoption specialist provides a copy of the post-adoption relative contact agreement approved by the court to the adoptive parent, foster parent, relative caretaker, the child's legal guardian, the child's siblings, or others as necessary to facilitate the relative contact or visitation.

(g) Failure to comply with post-adoption relative contact agreement.Failure to comply with the post-adoption relative contact agreement as ordered by the court is not grounds for:

(1) setting aside an adoption decree;

(2) revocation of a written consent to an adoption after the consent becomes irrevocable; or

(3) preventing the child's adoptive parent from changing residence within or outside of the state.

(h) Post-adoption relative contact agreement jurisdiction.The enforcement of a court-ordered post-adoption relative contact agreement continues under the jurisdiction of the court granting the petition for adoption.

(i) Compliance with post-adoption relative contact agreement.The court may not order compliance with a post-adoption relative contact agreement unless the court finds that the party seeking the enforcement participated in good faith in mediation or other appropriate dispute resolution proceedings regarding the conflict prior to the filing of the enforcement action and, that the enforcement is in the child's best interests.Documentary evidence or offers of proof may serve as the basis for the court's decision regarding enforcement.

(j) Attorney fees and costs.The prevailing party may be awarded reasonable attorney fees and costs.All mediation or other appropriate dispute resolution proceeding fees and costs are borne by each party, excluding the child.

(k) Modification or termination of post-adoption relative contact agreement.The post-adoption relative contact agreement may be modified or terminated when the court finds the modification or termination is necessary to serve the child's best interests and is agreed to by all parties, including the child, when he or she is 12 years of age and older.

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