Rule 15.18. Petition to Enforce a Contact Agreement.
(a) General Rule. By filing a petition under 23 Pa.C.S. § 2738, any party to the Contact Agreement, the adopted child, or a sibling who has continuing contact or communication with the adopted child under the terms of the Contact Agreement may seek to enforce the terms of the Contact Agreement.
(b) Contents of petition to enforce. The petition to enforce the Contact Agreement shall set forth specific averments to establish the following facts:
(1) the age and birth date of the adopted child;
(2) the date when the court approved the Contact Agreement and that such date was on or before the date of the adoption decree;
(3) whether the adopted child was then represented by a guardian ad litem;
(4) whether the adopted child either signed a separate written consent agreeing to the Contact Agreement or signed the Contact Agreement evidencing his or her consent, or that the adopted child had not attained 12 years of age at the time of the execution of the Contact Agreement;
(5) whether there are siblings of the adopted child who have continuing contact or communication with the adopted child under the terms of the Contact Agreement, and if so, the names, ages, and birth dates of such siblings, the names of previously appointed guardians ad litem, if any, and who such guardians ad litem represented;
(6) whether the party seeking enforcement is in substantial compliance with the terms of the Contact Agreement;
(7) the identity of the party who has breached the Contact Agreement and the nature and circumstances of the breach; and
(8) that enforcement of the Contact Agreement serves the needs, welfare and best interest of the adopted child.
(c) Exhibits. A copy of the Contact Agreement shall be attached to the petition.
(d) Service. The petition shall be served in accordance with Rule 15.16(a) and notice of any scheduled hearing shall be provided in accordance with Rule 15.16(b).
(e) Decree and Remedies. After a hearing, if the court finds that the petitioner is in substantial compliance with the terms of the Contact Agreement and also finds by clear and convincing evidence that enforcement of the Contact Agreement serves the needs, welfare and best interest of the adopted child, the court shall enter a decree directing specific performance of the Contact Agreement.
The evidentiary standard of clear and convincing evidence is statutorily mandated. See 23 Pa.C.S. § 2738(d)(2). For purposes of determining where to file a petition to enforce a Contact Agreement, petitioner should consider 23 Pa.C.S. § 2738(a) and 23 Pa.C.S. § 2738(e)(2).
The provisions of this Rule 15.18 added July 22, 2021, effective July 1, 2022, 51 Pa.B. 4267.
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