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What are adoption visitation agreements, and how do they work?

On Behalf of | Jan 12, 2023 | Family Law |

Adoption is one of the best ways to expand your Oklahoma family. There are many avenues to adopt, but open adoption is among the most popular. In some cases, a visitation agreement is signed between the respective parties. This is what to know about these legal documents.

Visitation agreements in open adoption

Some open adoptions allow for visitation between the child and the birth parent or other biological family members. These agreements are formal contracts signed when the adoptive family brings the child home. Also known as a post-adoption contract, it allows the respective parties to maintain communication and contact to share information about the child in the future. The contract outlines how much contact is allowed and can be modified over time if necessary.

Criteria for visitation agreements

Not all open adoptions allow for visitation agreements. For example, with respect to adoptions of Native American children in Oklahoma, the child must be tribal Native American, over 12 years of age and have lived with their biological family prior to their adoption. If the adoptive parents and birth family enter into a visitation agreement, all parties must be clear on all the terms of the contract.

Adoptions involving tribal children differ in some respects from those involving other kids. Typically, the birth parents no longer have parental rights after the child is adopted; in spite of the adoption, the birth family still maintains rights to the child but must abide by the visitation agreement.

As long as the post-adoption contact is beneficial to the child, the adoption agency finalizes the agreement. On the other hand, if it’s determined that contact with the birth family would be harmful to the child, the court might not enforce such a contract.

All parties are required to follow the terms of a visitation agreement. The purpose of the contract is to give the child a better sense of identity.