Private adoption provisions approved

Parents who conduct an adoption privately or through an agency may enter into a communication and contact agreement under a bill passed April 7.

LB744, sponsored by Syracuse Sen. Dan Watermeier, authorizes a court to incorporate a communication and contract agreement into a private adoption agreement. Failure to comply with the terms of an agreement will not be grounds to invalidate an adoption or the relinquishment of parental rights.

The bill allows a communication and contact agreement to be enforceable in civil action if the petitioner has participated or attempted to participate in good faith mediation. Parties seeking court enforcement of an agreement are required to participate in mediation first.

The bill also requires that a relinquishing parent be provided independent legal counsel and at least three hours of professional counseling at the expense of the adoptive parent or parents prior to relinquishment.

LB744 passed on a 46-0 vote.

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