Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 63.2. Welfare (Social Services)
Chapter 12. Adoption
10/22/2021

Article 1.1. Post-Adoption Contact and Communication Agreements.

§ 63.2-1220.2. Authority to enter into post-adoption contact and communication agreements.

A. In any proceeding for adoption pursuant to this chapter, the birth parent(s) and the adoptive parent(s) of a child may enter into a written post-adoption contact and communication agreement. A post-adoption contact and communication agreement may include, but is not limited to, provisions related to contact and communication between the child, the birth parent(s), and the adoptive parent(s) and provisions for the sharing of information about the child, including sharing of photographs of the child and information about the child's education, health, and welfare. Unless the parental rights of the birth parent or parents have been terminated pursuant to subsection E of § 16.1-283, a local board of social services or child welfare agency required to file a petition for a permanency planning hearing pursuant to § 16.1-282.1 may inform the birth parent or parents and shall inform the adoptive parent or parents that they may enter into such an agreement and shall inform the child if he is 14 years of age or older that he may consent to such an agreement.

B. Any post-adoption contact and communication agreement entered into by the birth parent(s) and the adoptive parent(s) of a child shall include acknowledgment by the birth parent(s) that the adoption of the child is irrevocable, even if the adoptive parent(s) do not abide by the post-adoption contact and communication agreement, and acknowledgment by the adoptive parent(s) that the agreement grants the birth parent(s) the right to seek to enforce the post-adoption contact and communication provisions set forth in the agreement. The petitioner for adoption shall file such agreement with other documents filed in the circuit court having jurisdiction over the child's adoption.

C. In no event shall failure to enter into a post-adoption contact and communication agreement with identified adoptive parent(s) after a valid entrustment agreement or consent to the child's adoption is executed, or failure to comply with a post-adoption contact and communication agreement, affect the validity of (i) the consent to the adoption, (ii) the voluntary relinquishment of parental rights, (iii) the voluntary or involuntary termination of parental rights, or (iv) the finality of the adoption.

D. No birth parent(s) or adoptive parent(s) of a child shall be required to enter into a post-adoption contact and communication agreement.

2010, c. 331; 2019, cc. 65, 84.

§ 63.2-1220.3. Approval of post-adoption contact and communication agreements.

A. The circuit court may approve a post-adoption contact and communication agreement authorized pursuant to § 16.1-283.1 or entered into pursuant to this article and filed with the court for a petition for adoption if:

1. The court determines that the child's best interest would be served by approving the post-adoption contact and communication agreement;

2. The adoptive parent or parents and birth parent or parents have consented to a post-adoption contact and communication agreement filed with the court;

3. The agency authorized to place the child for adoption and to consent to an adoption or authorized to recommend the placement of a child for adoption and the child's guardian ad litem have recommended that the post-adoption contact and communication agreement be approved as being in the best interest of the child, or, if there is no agency sponsoring the adoption, the agency that prepared the adoption report has been informed of the post-adoption contact and communication agreement and has recommended in the agency's report to the circuit court that the post-adoption contact and communication agreement be approved; however, in cases in which no child placing agency or guardian ad litem for the child is involved, this requirement may be waived; and

4. Where the child is 14 years of age or older, consent to the post-adoption contact and communication agreement is obtained from the child.

B. To be enforceable, any agreement under this section shall be approved by the circuit court and incorporated into the final order of adoption.

C. The circuit court shall not require execution of a post-adoption contact and communication agreement as a condition for approving any adoption.

2010, c. 331.

§ 63.2-1220.4. Jurisdiction to approve post-adoption contact and communication agreements.

A. Unless otherwise stated in the final order of adoption, the circuit court of the jurisdiction in which the final order of adoption was entered shall retain jurisdiction to modify or enforce the terms of a post-adoption contact and communication agreement entered into pursuant to this article.

B. A birth parent or parents or adoptive parent or parents who have executed a post-adoption contact and communication agreement as described in this article may file a petition with the circuit court of the jurisdiction in which the final order of adoption was entered:

1. To modify the post-adoption contact and communication agreement; and

2. To compel a birth or adoptive parent to comply with the post-adoption contact and communication agreement. The court may not award monetary damages as a result of the filing of a petition for modification of or compliance with the agreement. The court may modify the agreement at any time before or after the adoption if the court, after notice and opportunity to be heard by the birth parent or parents and the adoptive parent or parents, determines that the child's best interest requires the modification of the agreement. Before the court modifies an agreement or hears a motion to compel compliance, the court may appoint a guardian ad litem to represent the child's best interest.

C. The circuit court shall not grant a request to modify the terms of a post-adoption contact and communication agreement unless the moving party establishes that there has been a change of circumstances and the agreement is no longer in the child's best interest; provided, however, that no modification shall affect the irrevocability of the adoption.

2010, c. 331.