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COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA

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The Pennsylvania Code website reflects the Pennsylvania Code changes effective through 52 Pa.B. 5624 (August 27, 2022).

231 Pa. Code Rule 15.13. Adoption.

Rule 15.13. Adoption.

 (a)  Petition. A petition for adoption under 23 Pa.C.S. §  2701 shall contain the following averments:

   (1)  the name, current address, any other addresses for the past five years, marital status, age, occupation, racial background and religious affiliation of the petitioners;

   (2)  the name of the adoptee as it appears on the birth certificate or certification of registration of the child’s birth;

   (3)  the relationship, if any, of the petitioners to the adoptee;

   (4)  whether the adoptee has resided with the petitioners, and if so, the length of time that adoptee has so resided with the petitioners;

   (5)  the name and address of the intermediary, if any;

   (6)  whether the home study and preplacement report under 23 Pa.C.S. §  2530, the Report of an Intention to Adopt under 23 Pa.C.S. §  2531, and the Report of Intermediary under 23 Pa.C.S. §  2533 have been filed;

   (7)  if there is no intermediary, if no Report of the Intermediary has been or will be filed, or if the adoptee has attained 18 years of age, all vital statistics and other information required in the Report of the Intermediary, so far as is applicable;

   (8)  whether the original birth certificate or certification of registration of the child’s birth has been filed with the clerk where the adoption petition is being filed, and if not whether a birth certificate or certification of registration of the child’s birth is attached to the petition as an exhibit, and if not previously filed or attached, the reason why it is has not been filed or is not attached, the efforts made to obtain the birth certificate or certification of registration of the child’s birth, and evidence available to establish a date and place of the adoptee’s birth;

   (9)  whether all the consents required by 23 Pa.C.S. §  2711 are attached to the petition as exhibits;

   (10)  whether the criminal history records information and child abuse clearance certificate for each Prospective Adoptive Parent prepared in accordance with 23 Pa.C.S. §  6344(b), (d)(1) are attached to the petition as exhibits;

   (11)  whether there are any court orders that remain in effect as of the date of the petition’s filing and which:

     (A)   terminate parental rights of any birth parent, presumptive father, or putative father of the adoptee;

     (B)   establish rights of guardianship or custody of the adoptee in any person or entity other than the birth parent; or

     (C)   establish or set forth any special conditions concerning placement, custody, guardianship, or adoption of the adoptee;

   (12)  whether there has been compliance with the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children if 62 P.S. § §  761 et seq. applies to this placement;

   (13)  if any of the reports or exhibits listed in subparagraphs (a)(6)—(a)(12) have not been filed or are not attached to the petition, specific averments explaining why such reports have not been filed or exhibits have not been attached and the reasons showing cause why the court may enter a decree of adoption under 23 Pa.C.S. §  2901, notwithstanding the absence of all legal requirements having been met;

   (14)  whether the Prospective Adoptive Parents and the minor adoptee, if required by 23 Pa.C.S. §  2733(c), have been informed of the opportunity to enter into a Contact Agreement with any of the minor adoptee’s birth relatives;

   (15)  if an agreement for post-adoption contact and communication has been negotiated and executed by the Prospective Adoptive Parents and one of more birth relatives, an averment of one of the following, as applicable:

     (A)   the date of the order and the name of the court approving the Contact Agreement and that the Contact Agreement and court order are attached as exhibits to the petition; or

     (B)   a petition to approve the executed proposed agreement for post-adoption contact and communication has been submitted and is pending before the court or is being filed under a separate petition simultaneously with the filing of this petition;

   (16)  whether the adoptee will retain his or her given birth name or the adoptee’s proposed new name if a name change is desired;

   (17)  that the petitioners desire to have a ‘‘parent-child’’ relationship established between the petitioners and the adoptee; and

   (18)  that each petitioner has read and understands the petition and believes the adoptee’s needs and welfare will be promoted by the adoption.

 (b)  Exhibits. Unless the petition contains averments explaining why an exhibit is not attached, the following exhibits shall be attached to the petition:

   (1)  Unless previously filed with the clerk where the adoption petition is being filed, a birth certificate or certification of registration of the child’s birth.

   (2)  The consents required by 23 Pa.C.S. §  2711, as applicable.

   (3)  Unless previously filed, the Report of the Intermediary with the exhibits required under 23 Pa.C.S. §  2534.

   (4)  The criminal history records information and child abuse clearance certificate for each Prospective Adoptive Parent prepared in accordance with 23 Pa.C.S. §  6344(b).

   (5)  Copies of any court orders referenced in subparagraph (a)(11).

   (6)  Written approval by the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children if 62 P.S. § §  761 et seq. applies to this placement.

   (7)  A verified statement from a representative of the agency or intermediary, counsel representing the agency or intermediary, or counsel representing any other party that written notice was provided to the Prospective Adoptive Parents and to the minor adoptee, if required by 23 Pa.C.S. §  2733(c), regarding the opportunity to enter into a Contact Agreement, that such notice was provided by hand delivery, by first-class United States mail, postage prepaid, to the last known address, or by electronic transmission in accordance with Rule 15.4(b)(1)(C), and the date(s) that such notice was provided. A copy of the notice shall accompany this verified statement.

   (8)  If previously approved, the Contact Agreement and the court order approving the Contact Agreement.

 (c)  Notice or Consent—Parents of Child.

   (1)  Notice of the hearing on the petition for adoption shall be given to the birth parent, putative father, and presumptive father in accordance with Rule 15.4 unless the parental rights of such birth parent, putative father, or presumptive father were terminated in a prior proceeding.

   (2)  If, as part of the adoption hearing, the petitioners are seeking court approval of an executed proposed agreement for post-adoption contact and communication, the petitioner shall mail a copy of the petition to approve the proposed agreement and the accompanying exhibits in accordance with subparagraph (d)(1) of Rule 15.12 to the individuals and entities therein listed, shall file a certificate of service as provided in subparagraph (d)(2) of Rule 15.12, and shall provide notice of the adoption hearing to these individuals and entities as provided in subparagraph (f)(3) of Rule 15.12.

 (d)  Investigation. A petition for adoption shall be subject to investigation as prescribed by local rules. The investigation report shall cover the matters alleged in the petition, any other matters that may affect the welfare of the adoptee, and the information required by 23 Pa.C.S. § §  2535 and 2724.

 (e)  Hearing. The court shall schedule a hearing to allow for testimony pursuant to 23 Pa.C.S. § §  2721—2724. Petitioner(s) and the adoptee shall appear at the hearing. After a hearing, if the court determines that the adoption can be granted, the court shall enter a decree conforming to the requirements of 23 Pa.C.S. § §  2901-2902, 2904.

   (1)  If the petition for adoption contains averments requesting that the court waive a statutory requirement of the Adoption Act, the court shall determine if the petitioner has shown cause for failing to meet the statutory requirement and has demonstrated that the adoptee’s needs and welfare nevertheless will be best served by entering a decree of adoption.

   (2)  At the hearing on the petition for adoption, there shall be offered in evidence a report, verified by the petitioners or counsel, setting forth the amount of fees and expenses paid or to be paid to counsel, and any other fees, costs and expenses paid or to be paid to an intermediary or to any other person or entity, in connection with the adoption. The court may request an itemization of any of the amounts reported.

 (f)  Adult—Change of Name. When the person to be adopted is over the age of 18 years and desires to assume the surname of the adopting parents, evidence showing compliance with the law relating to change of name must be introduced before a decree will be made. See 54 Pa.C.S. §  702.

Explanatory Comment

   The court, in its discretion, can dispense with any statutory requirement of the Adoption Act for cause shown. See 23 Pa.C.S. §  2901. As a result, if petitioner is unable to satisfy all the prerequisites or attach all the exhibits required by the Adoption Act, the adoption petition should not be dismissed summarily. Rather, the petitioner should be afforded an opportunity to demonstrate why a statutory requirement has not or cannot be met and why the proposed adoptee’s best interests nevertheless are served by granting the adoption petition. In re Adoption of R.B.F. and R.C.F., 803 A.2d 1195 (Pa. 2002). If, upon reviewing the petition’s averments as to why a statutory requirement should be waived, the court determines that cause has been demonstrated, the court can grant the relief requested and dispense with the relevant statutory requirement without conducting a hearing. However, if the court is not inclined to waive the pertinent statutory requirement, the petitioner is entitled to a hearing and an opportunity to present evidence in support of the averments in the petition. See In re Adoption of R.B.F. and R.C.F.

   Subparagraph (c)(1) of this Rule applies if a parent’s parental rights are being terminated as part of the hearing on the adoption petition. In such cases, the birth parent, putative father, or presumptive father whose rights are being terminated must receive notice of the adoption hearing in accordance with Rule 15.4. On the other hand, such persons do not need to be notified of the adoption hearing if (i) he or she previously consented to the adoption and his or her consent was confirmed by the court as provided in 23 Pa.C.S. §  2504 and Rule 15.9; (ii) he or she previously relinquished his or her parental rights as provided in 23 Pa.C.S. § §  2501, 2502 and Rule 15.7 or Rule 15.8 as applicable; or (iii) his or her parental rights were involuntarily terminated by the court as provided in 23 Pa.C.S. § §  2511 et seq. and Rule 15.10.

Source

   The provisions of this Rule 15.13 added July 22, 2021, effective July 1, 2022, 51 Pa.B. 4267.



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