Skip to navigation Skip to content Skip to subnav
Searching 2019-2020 Session

The Vermont Statutes Online

 

Title 15A : Adoption Act

Chapter 004 : ADOPTION OF MINOR STEPCHILD BY STEPPARENT

(Cite as: 15A V.S.A. § 4-112)
  • § 4-112. Visitation agreement and order

    (a) Upon the request of the petitioner, the petitioner's spouse, the adoptee's other parent or a relative of the adoptee, the court shall review a written agreement that permits another person to visit or communicate with the minor after the decree of adoption becomes final. The agreement shall be signed by the person, the petitioner, the petitioner's spouse, the minor if 14 years of age or older, and, if an agency placed the minor for adoption, an authorized employee of the agency.

    (b) The court may enter an order approving the agreement only upon determining that the agreement is in the best interest of the minor adoptee. In making this determination, the court shall consider:

    (1) the preference of the minor, if the minor is mature enough to express a preference;

    (2) any special needs of the minor and how they would be affected by performance of the agreement;

    (3) the length and quality of any existing relationship between the minor and the person who would be entitled to visit or communicate, and the likely effect on the minor of allowing this relationship to continue;

    (4) the specific terms of the agreement and the likelihood that the parties to the agreement will cooperate in performing its terms;

    (5) the recommendation of the minor's guardian ad litem, attorney, social worker, or other counselor; and

    (6) any other factor relevant to the best interest of the minor.

    (c) In addition to any agreement approved pursuant to subsections (a) and (b) of this section, the court may approve the continuation of an existing order or issue a new order permitting the minor adoptee's former parent, grandparent, or sibling to visit or communicate with the minor if:

    (1) the grandparent is the parent of a deceased parent of the minor or the parent of the adoptee's parent whose parental relationship to the minor is terminated by the decree of adoption;

    (2) the former parent, grandparent, or sibling requests that an existing order be permitted to survive the decree of adoption or that a new order be issued; and

    (3) the court determines that the requested visitation or communication is in the best interest of the minor.

    (d) In making a determination under subdivision (c)(3) of this section, the court shall consider the factors listed in subsection (b) and any objections to the requested order by the adoptive stepparent and the stepparent's spouse.

    (e) An order issued under this section may be enforced in a civil action only if the court finds that enforcement is in the best interest of a minor adoptee.

    (f) An order issued under this section may not be modified unless the court finds that modification is in the best interest of a minor adoptee, and:

    (1) the persons subject to the order request the modification; or

    (2) exceptional circumstances arising since the order was issued justify the modification.

    (g) Failure to comply with the terms of an order approved under this section or with any other agreement for visitation or communication is not a ground for revoking, setting aside, or otherwise challenging the validity of a consent, relinquishment, or adoption pertaining to a minor stepchild, and the validity of the consent, relinquishment, and adoption is not affected by any later action to enforce, modify, or set aside the order or agreement. (Added 1995, No. 161 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)