2012 Connecticut General Statutes
Title 45a - Probate Courts and Procedure
Chapter 803 - Termination of Parental Rights and Adoption
Section 45a-715 - (Formerly Sec. 45-61c). Petition to terminate parental rights. Cooperative postadoption agreements.
(a) Any of the following persons may petition the Court of Probate to terminate parental rights of all persons who may have parental rights regarding any minor child or for the termination of parental rights of only one parent provided the application so states: (1) Either or both parents, including a parent who is a minor; (2) the guardian of the child; (3) the selectmen of any town having charge of any foundling child; (4) a duly authorized officer of any child care facility or child-placing agency or organization or any children’s home or similar institution approved by the Commissioner of Children and Families; (5) a relative of the child if the parent or parents have abandoned or deserted the child; (6) the Commissioner of Children and Families, provided the custodial parent of such minor child has consented to the termination of parental rights and the child has not been committed to the commissioner, and no application for commitment has been made; provided in any case hereunder where the child with respect to whom the petition is brought has attained the age of twelve, the child shall join in the petition.
(b) A petition for termination of parental rights shall be entitled “In the interest of .... (Name of child), a person under the age of eighteen years”, and shall set forth with specificity: (1) The name, sex, date and place of birth, and present address of the child; (2) the name and address of the petitioner, and the nature of the relationship between the petitioner and the child; (3) the names, dates of birth and addresses of the parents of the child, if known, including the name of any putative father named by the mother, and the tribe and reservation of an American Indian parent; (4) if the parent of the child is a minor, the names and addresses of the parents or guardian of the person of such minor; (5) the names and addresses of: (A) The guardian of the person of the child; (B) any guardians ad litem appointed in a prior proceeding; (C) the tribe and reservation of an American Indian child; and (D) the child-placing agency which placed the child in his current placement; (6) the facts upon which termination is sought, the legal grounds authorizing termination, the effects of a termination decree and the basis for the jurisdiction of the court; (7) the name of the persons or agencies which have agreed to accept custody or guardianship of the child’s person upon disposition.
(c) If the information required under subdivisions (2) and (6) of subsection (b) of this section is not stated, the petition shall be dismissed. If any other facts required under subdivision (1), (3), (4), (5) or (7) of subsection (b) of this section are not known or cannot be ascertained by the petitioner, he shall so state in the petition. If the whereabouts of either parent or the putative father named under subdivision (3) of subsection (b) of this section are unknown, the petitioner shall diligently search for any such parent or putative father. The petitioner shall file an affidavit with the petition indicating the efforts used to locate the parent or putative father.
(d) If a petition indicates that either or both parents consent to the termination of their parental rights, or if at any time following the filing of a petition and before the entry of a decree a parent consents to the termination of his parental rights, each consenting parent shall acknowledge such consent on a form promulgated by the Office of the Chief Court Administrator evidencing to the satisfaction of the court that the parent has voluntarily and knowingly consented to the termination of his parental rights. No consent to termination by a mother shall be executed within forty-eight hours immediately after the birth of her child. A parent who is a minor shall have the right to consent to termination of parental rights and such consent shall not be voidable by reason of such minority. A guardian ad litem shall be appointed by the court to assure that such minor parent is giving an informed and voluntary consent.
(e) A petition under this section shall be filed in the court of probate for the district in which the petitioner or the child resides or, in the case of a minor who is under the guardianship of any child care facility or child-placing agency, in the court of probate for the district in which the main office or any local office of the agency is located. If the petition is filed with respect to a child born out of wedlock, the petition shall state whether there is a putative father to whom notice shall be given under subdivision (2) of subsection (b) of section 45a-716.
(f) If any petitioner under subsection (a) is a minor or incompetent, the guardian ad litem, appointed by the court in accordance with section 45a-708, must approve the petition in writing, before action by the court.
(g) Before a hearing on the merits in any case in which a petition for termination of parental rights is contested in a court of probate, the court of probate shall, on the motion of any legal party except the petitioner, or may on its own motion or that of the petitioner, transfer the case to the Superior Court in accordance with rules adopted by the judges of the Supreme Court. In addition to the provisions of this section, the probate court may, on the court’s own motion or that of any interested party, transfer any termination of parental rights case to a regional children’s probate court established pursuant to section 45a-8a. If the case is transferred, the clerk of the Court of Probate shall transmit to the clerk of the Superior Court or the regional children’s probate court to which the case was transferred, the original files and papers in the case. The Superior Court or the regional children’s probate court to which the case was transferred, upon hearing after notice as provided in sections 45a-716 and 45a-717, may grant the petition as provided in section 45a-717.
(h) Either or both birth parents and an intended adoptive parent may enter into a cooperative postadoption agreement regarding communication or contact between either or both birth parents and the adopted child. Such an agreement may be entered into if: (1) The child is in the custody of the Department of Children and Families; (2) an order terminating parental rights has not yet been entered; and (3) either or both birth parents agree to a voluntary termination of parental rights, including an agreement in a case which began as an involuntary termination of parental rights. The postadoption agreement shall be applicable only to a birth parent who is a party to the agreement. Such agreement shall be in addition to those under common law. Counsel for the child and any guardian ad litem for the child may be heard on the proposed cooperative postadoption agreement. There shall be no presumption of communication or contact between the birth parents and an intended adoptive parent in the absence of a cooperative postadoption agreement.
(i) If the Court of Probate determines that the child’s best interests will be served by postadoption communication or contact with either or both birth parents, the court shall so order, stating the nature and frequency of the communication or contact. A court may grant postadoption communication or contact privileges if: (1) Each intended adoptive parent consents to the granting of communication or contact privileges; (2) the intended adoptive parent and either or both birth parents execute a cooperative agreement and file the agreement with the court; (3) consent to postadoption communication or contact is obtained from the child, if the child is at least twelve years of age; and (4) the cooperative postadoption agreement is approved by the court.
(j) A cooperative postadoption agreement shall contain the following: (1) An acknowledgment by either or both birth parents that the termination of parental rights and the adoption is irrevocable, even if the adoptive parents do not abide by the cooperative postadoption agreement; and (2) an acknowledgment by the adoptive parents that the agreement grants either or both birth parents the right to seek to enforce the cooperative postadoption agreement.
(k) The terms of a cooperative postadoption agreement may include the following: (1) Provision for communication between the child and either or both birth parents; (2) provision for future contact between either or both birth parents and the child or an adoptive parent; and (3) maintenance of medical history of either or both birth parents who are a party to the agreement.
(l) The order approving a cooperative postadoption agreement shall be made part of the final order terminating parental rights. The finality of the termination of parental rights and of the adoption shall not be affected by implementation of the provisions of the postadoption agreement, nor is the cooperative postadoption contingent upon the finalization of an adoption. Such an agreement shall not affect the ability of the adoptive parents and the child to change their residence within or outside this state.
(m) A disagreement between the parties or litigation brought to enforce or modify the agreement shall not affect the validity of the termination of parental rights or the adoption and shall not serve as a basis for orders affecting the custody of the child. The court shall not act on a petition to change or enforce the agreement unless the petitioner had participated, or attempted to participate, in good faith in mediation or other appropriate dispute resolution proceedings to resolve the dispute and allocate any cost for such mediation or dispute resolution proceedings.
(n) An adoptive parent, guardian ad litem for the child or the court on its own motion may, at any time, petition for review of communication or contact ordered pursuant to subsection (i) of this section, if the adoptive parent believes that the best interests of the child are being compromised. The court may order the communication or contact be terminated, or order such conditions in regard to communication or contact as the court deems to be in the best interest of the adopted child.
(P.A. 73-156, S. 3; P.A. 74-164, S. 2, 20; P.A. 75-420, S. 4, 6; P.A. 76-436, S. 641, 681; P.A. 77-614, S. 521, 610; P.A. 79-223; 79-631, S. 33, 77, 85, 111; P.A. 80-476, S. 144; P.A. 83-355, S. 1; P.A. 84-449, S. 2, 7; P.A. 86-264, S. 8; P.A. 93-91, S. 1, 2; 93-170, S. 2; P.A. 95-349, S. 4; P.A. 96-130, S. 5; P.A. 00-75, S. 9; 00-137, S. 4; P.A. 01-195, S. 98, 181; P.A. 04-142, S. 6; P.A. 12-66, S. 10.)
History: P.A. 74-164 specified right to petition court for appointment of statutory parent or termination of one parent’s parental rights in cases where adoption is contemplated, specified right of minor parent to petition, and made minor changes in wording to conform with definitions of Sec. 45-61b in existing provisions and added Subsecs. (c) and (d); P.A. 75-420 replaced welfare commissioner with commissioner of social services; P.A. 76-436 replaced references to supreme and juvenile courts in Subsec. (d) with references to superior court, effective July 1, 1978; P.A. 77-614 replaced social services commissioner with commissioner of human resources, effective January 1, 1979; P.A. 79-223 authorized commissioner of children and youth services to make petition as provided in Subsec. (a)(5); P.A. 79-631 made technical corrections in Subsecs. (b) and (d) and substituted children and youth services commissioner for human resources commissioner in Subsec. (a)(3); P.A. 80-476 rephrased provisions; P.A. 83-355 inserted a new Subsec. (b) re the information required in a petition, Subsec. (c) re dismissal of the petition if certain information is not stated, and Subsec. (d) requiring a copy of any parental consent to adoption to accompany the petition; P.A. 84-449 amended Subsec. (a) by deleting a provision authorizing any of the enumerated persons to petition the court for the appointment of a statutory parent if adoption is contemplated and amended Subsec. (d) by replacing provision that “a copy of any consent to adoption, previously executed by a parent to an authorized agency, shall accompany the petition” with provision that each consenting parent shall acknowledge such consent on a form promulgated by the office of the chief court administrator evidencing that the parent has voluntarily and knowingly consented to the termination of his parental rights, adding provisions re consent by a minor parent and prohibiting consent to termination by a mother within 48 hours of the birth of the child; P.A. 86-264 changed age of minor from 14 to 12 years of age; Sec. 45-61c transferred to Sec. 45a-715 in 1991; P.A. 93-91 substituted commissioner and department of children and families for commissioner and department of children and youth services, effective July 1, 1993; P.A. 93-170 in Subsec. (b) required that name of putative father named by mother be included in petition for termination and in Subsec. (c) required that the petitioner file an affidavit that there was diligent search for either parent or putative father if whereabouts are unknown; P.A. 95-349 substituted “child care facility” for “child care agency” in Subsecs. (a) and (e); P.A. 96-130 made technical changes in Subsecs. (a), (b) and (f); P.A. 00-75 amended Subsec. (g) by adding provisions re transfer of case to another judge of probate appointed by Probate Court Administrator from a panel of qualified probate judges specializing in children’s matters; P.A. 00-137 added Subsecs. (h) to (n), inclusive, re cooperative postadoption agreements, terms of such agreements, disagreement between parties, dispute resolution and review by court; P.A. 01-195 made a technical change in Subsec. (g), effective July 11, 2001; P.A. 04-142 amended Subsec. (g) by replacing provision re transfer of case to another judge of probate with provision re transfer of any termination of parental rights case to another judge of probate, deleting provision re location of hearing in original probate court and making technical changes; P.A. 12-66 amended Subsec. (g) to replace provisions re transfer to another judge of probate with provisions re transfer to a regional children’s probate court and make technical changes, effective January 1, 2013.
See Sec. 17a-112 re termination of parental rights of child committed to Commissioner of Children and Families.
Cited. 179 C. 155. Cited. 182 C. 545.
Cited. 8 CA 92. Cited. 13 CA 626. Cited. 21 CA 226.
Cited. 192 C. 254. Cited. 214 C. 560.
Annotations to present section:
Cited. 34 CA 176. Jurisdiction for terminating parental rights lies either in Probate Court or in Superior Court pursuant to Sec. 17a-112 and Subsecs. (a) and (g) of this section. 49 CA 706.
Cited. 234 C. 194.
No statutory requirement that Dept. of Children and Families file treatment plan as a condition precedent to filing of termination petition. 49 CA 706. Administrative hearing officer in Dept. of Children and Families has no authority to hear or determine a petition for termination of parental rights. Id. In termination proceeding, burden is on Dept. of Children and Families to prove by clear and convincing evidence that sufficient grounds exist for termination and that termination would serve the best interests of the child. Id.
Subdiv. (6) cited. 234 C. 194.
Cited. 234 C. 194.
Cited. 234 C. 194.
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