Pennsylvania Orphans’ Court — Rule 15

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 — Adoptions —

 

[Note: In Philadelphia County exclusive jurisdiction in adoption matters is vested in the Family Court Division of the Court of Common Pleas. As to adoption jurisdiction in the Orphans’ Court Division in all counties other than Philadelphia, see Sections 711(7) and 713 of the Probate, Estates and Fiduciaries Code.]

 

Pa. O.C. Rule 15.1. Local Rules.

The practice and procedure with respect to adoptions shall be as provided by Act of Assembly and to the extent not inconsistent therewith shall conform either with the pertinent general rule or special order of the local Orphans’ Court or, in the absence thereof, with this Rule 151.

[Adopted November 24, 1975, effective January 1, 1976.]

 

Pa. O.C. Rule 15.2. Voluntary Relinquishment to Agency.

(a) Petition. A petition under Section 301 of the Adoption Act to relinquish parental rights and duties with respect to a child who has been in the care of an Agency shall include the following allegations:

(1) the name, address, age, racial background and religious affiliation of each petitioner;

(2) the information required in subparagraph (1) as to any parent who is not a petitioner, including the father of a child born out of wedlock, if he has been identified, unless the court, for cause shown, determines such information is not essential;

(3) the marital status of the mother as of the time of birth of the child and during one year prior thereto and, if the mother has ever been married, the name of her husband or husbands and her maiden name;

(4) the name, age, date of birth, racial background, sex and religious affiliation of the child;

(5) the name and address of the Agency having care of the child;

(6) the date when the child was placed with the Agency;

(7) when the child is born out of wedlock, whether the mother and the father of the child intend to marry;

(8) the reasons for seeking relinquishment;

(9) that each petitioner understands the petition, has considered the alternatives, and has executed the petition voluntarily to promote what the petitioner believes to be in petitioner’s and the child’s best interests.

(b) Exhibits: The petitioner shall have attached to it the following exhibits:

(1) the joinder of a parent who is not a petitioner or his or her waiver of all interest in the child, if either is obtainable;

(2) a birth certificate or certification of registration of birth of the child;

(3) the written consent of a parent or guardian of petitioner who has not reached 18 years of age;

(4) the joinder of the Agency having care of the child and its consent to accept custody of the child until such time as the child is adopted.

(c) Notice and Hearing. If a parent, including the parent of a child born out of wedlock, has not relinquished his or her rights and duties in and to the child or joined in the other parent’s petition hereunder, then notice of the hearing on the petition to relinquish rights and duties shall be given to the first referred to parent as provided in Rule 15.6. A parent may waive in writing the right to such notice. Each petitioner and each person whose joinder or consent is attached to the petition shall be examined under oath at the hearing unless excused by the court.

[Adopted November 24, 1975, effective January 1, 1976.]

 

Pa. O.C. Rule 15.3. Voluntary Relinquishment to Adult Intending to Adopt Child.

(a) Petition. A petition under Section 302 of the Adoption Act to relinquish parental rights with respect to a child who has been in the exclusive care of an adult or adults who have filed a Report of Intention to Adopt shall include the allegations required under subparagraphs (1), (2), (3), (4) and (7), (8) and (9) of Rule 15.2(a) and

(5) the date when the Report of Intention to Adopt was filed;

(6) the date when the child was placed with the adult or adults;

(b) Exhibits. The petition shall have attached to it the first three exhibits specified in Rule 15.2(b) and

(4) the separate consent of the adult or adults to accept custody of the child.

(c) Notice and Hearing. If a parent, including the parent of a child born out of wedlock, has not relinquished his or her rights in the child or joined in the petition hereunder, the notice of the hearing on a parent’s petition to relinquish rights shall be given to the first referred to parent as provided in Rule 15.6. A parent may waive in writing the right to such notice. Each petitioner and each person whose joinder or consent is attached to the petition shall be examined under oath at the hearing unless excused by the court.

[Adopted November 24, 1975, effective January 1, 1976.]

 

Pa. O.C. Rule 15.4. Involuntary Termination of Parent Rights.

(a) Petition. A petition for involuntary termination of parental rights under Sections 311 and 312 of the Adoption Act shall include the following allegations:

(1) the name and address of the petitioner and his or her standing;

(2) the name, age, date of birth, racial background, sex and religious affiliation of the child;

(3) the name, address, age, racial background and religious affiliation of the parent or parents, including the father of a child born out of wedlock, if he has been identified;

(4) the marital status of the mother as of the time of birth of the child and during one year prior thereof and, if the mother has ever been married, the name of her husband or husbands and her maiden name;

(5) the date when the child was placed in the care of the petitioner;

(6) facts constituting grounds for the involuntary termination under Section 311 of the Adoption Act, and a reference to the applicable subsection or subsections;

(7) whether either parent of the child is entitled to the benefits of the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Civil Relief Act of 1940, as amended (50) U.S.C.A. 501 et seq.);

(8) that the petitioner will assume custody of the child until such time as the child is adopted.

(b) Exhibits. The petition shall have attached to it the following exhibits:

(1) a birth certificate or certification of registration of birth of the child;

(2) the joinder of a parent of a petitioner who is under age of 18, unless excused by the court.

(c) Guardian ad Litem.

(1) When the termination of the parental rights of a parent who has not attained the age of 18 years is sought, unless the court finds the parent is already adequately represented, the court shall appoint a guardian ad litem to represent the parent. The appointment of a guardian ad litem may be provided for in the preliminary order attached to the petition for involuntary termination of parental rights.

(2) The decree appointing a guardian ad litem shall give the name, date of birth and address (if known) of the individual whom the guardian ad litem is to represent and the proceedings and period of time for which the guardian ad litem shall act.

(d) Notice and Hearing. Notice of the hearing on the petition shall be given, in accordance with Rule 15.6 hereof, to the parent or parents whose rights are sought to be terminated, including the parent of a child born out of Wedlock, to any intermediary named in a Report of Intention to Adopt, if one has been filed, and to the guardian of the person or guardian ad litem of any parent or parents who is or are under the age of 18 years. Each petitioner, each person whose joinder or consent is attached to the petitioner and any intermediary named in a Report of Intention to Adopt shall be examined under oath at the hearing unless they are excused by the court.

[Adopted November 24, 1975, effective January 1, 1976.]

 

Pa. O.C. Rule 15.5. Adoption.

(a) Petition. The petition shall contain all declarations and information required by Section 401 of the Adoption Act and any additional information required by local rules.

(b) Notice or Consent-Parents of a Child. Notice as provided by Rule 156 shall be given to each parent unless

(1) he or she has consent in writing to the adoption and waived notice of hearing, or

(2) he or she has voluntarily relinquished his or her parental rights in a proceeding under Rule 152 or 153, or

(3) his or her parental rights have been involuntarily terminated in a proceeding under Rule 154.

(c) 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 child, and the information required by Section 335 and 424 of the Adoption Act.

(d) Disclosure of Fees and Costs. At the hearing there shall be offered in evidence a report, certified by counsel for the petitioner, 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 any other person or institution, in connection with the adoption.

(e) 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 parent or parents, evidence showing compliance with the law relating to change of name [54 P.S. 1 et seq.] must be introduced before a decree will be made.

[Adopted November 24, 1975, effective January 1, 1976.]

 

Pa. O.C. Rule 15.6. Notice; Method and Time.

Notice to every person to be notified shall be by personal service, service at his or her residence on an adult member of the household, or by registered or certified mail to his or her last known address. If such service is not obtainable and the registered or certified mail is returned undelivered, then:

(1) no further notice shall be required in proceedings under Rules 152 or 153, and

(2) in proceedings under Rules 154 and 155, further notice by publication or otherwise shall be given if required by general rule or special order of the local Orphans’ Court.

If, after reasonable investigation, the identity of a person to be notified is unknown, notice to him or her shall not be required.

[Adopted November 24, 1975, effective January 1, 1976.]

 

Pa. O.C. Rule 15.7. Impounding: Docket Entries; Reports; Privacy.

(a) All proceedings shall be impounded, docket entries made, reports made to the Department of Public Welfare, and certificates of adoption issued as provided in Sections 505, 506, 507 and 508, respectively, of the Adoption Act, 23 Pa.C.S. § 201, et seq.

(b) The name or names of the natural parents and the name or names of the child before adoption shall not be entered on any docket which is subject to public inspection.

(c) No decision under the Adoption Act or any hearing judge or appellate court publicly reported or in any other way made available to the public by the court shall disclose the identity of the individual parties.

[Adopted November 24, 1975, effective January 1, 1976. Subsection (a) amended March 3, 1999, 29 Pa.B. 1494, effective immediately.]

 


Evans Law Office
Daniel B. Evans, Attorney at Law
P.O. Box 27370
Philadelphia, PA 19118
Telephone: (866) 348-4250
Email: resources@evans-legal.com

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