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2013 - 2014 Adoption Rules

Part I. General Provisions

1 Title Scope -- Construction -- Situations Not Covered by the Rules
2 Definitions
3 Appointment and Authority of Masters
4 Authority of District Court Judges and Magistrates
5 Venue
6 Petitions
7 Guardians Ad Litem
8 Right to Counsel
9 Consents -- Relinquishments

10 Notice
11 Hearings
12 Tribal Intervention and Removal
13 Decree of Termination
14 Decree of Adoption
15 Appeal
16 Records
17 Challenges to Validity of Adoption Decree
Appendix Alaska Adoption Statutes

PART I. GENERAL PROVISIONS

Rule 1. Title -- Scope -- Construction -- Situations Not Covered by the Rules.

(a) Title. These rules will be known and cited as the Adoption Rules.

(b) Scope. These rules govern practice and procedure in the trial courts in all phases of adoption proceedings brought under AS 25.23.010 through 25.23.240.

(c) Construction. These rules will be construed and applied to promote fairness, accurate fact-finding, the expeditious determination of adoption proceedings, and the best interests of the child.

(d) Legal Effect of Rules. These rules are promulgated pursuant to Alaska constitutional authority granting rulemaking power to the Alaska Supreme Court. To the extent that the rules are inconsistent with a procedural provision of any Alaska statute not validly enacted for the specific purpose of changing a rule, these rules supersede the statute.

(e) Civil and Evidence Rules Applicable. The Alaska Civil and Evidence Rules apply to adoption proceedings except to the extent that any provisions of the Civil or Evidence Rules conflict with the Adoption Rules. The provisions of Civil Rule 100 apply to adoption proceedings.

(f) Situations Not Covered by the Rules. Where no specific procedure is prescribed by these rules, the court may proceed in any lawful manner, including application of relevant statutes, the Alaska and United States Constitutions or common law. Such a procedure may not be inconsistent with these rules and may not unduly delay or otherwise interfere with the unique character and purpose of adoption proceedings.

(SCO 972 effective January 15, 1990; amended by SCO 1469 effective October 15, 2002)

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Rule 2. Definitions.

(a) "Agency" means any person certified, licensed or otherwise specially empowered by law or regulation to place minors for adoption.

(b) "Child" means a son or daughter, whether by birth or adoption.

(c) "Consent" means the written giving of permission to an adoption in accordance with AS 25.23.060.

(d) "Extended family member" means a person as defined by the law or custom of the Indian child's tribe, or, in the absence of such a law or custom, means a person who has reached the age of eighteen and who is the Indian child's grandparent, aunt or uncle, brother or sister, brother-in-law or sister-in-law, niece or nephew, first or second cousin, or stepparent.

(e) "Guardian ad litem" means a person appointed by the court to represent the best interests of the child in an adoption proceeding.

(f) "Indian" means any person who is a member of an Indian tribe, or who is an Alaska Native and a member of a regional corporation as defined in 43 U.S.C. Section 1606.

(g) "Indian child" means any unmarried person who is under the age of 18 and who is either (a) a member of an Indian tribe, or (b) is eligible for membership in an Indian tribe and is the biological child of a member of an Indian tribe.

(h) "Indian child's tribe" means (a) the Indian tribe in which an Indian child is a member or eligible for membership, or (b), in the case of an Indian child who is a member of or eligible for membership in more than one tribe, the Indian tribe with which the Indian child has the more significant contacts.

(i) "Indian custodian" means any Indian person who has legal custody of an Indian child under tribal law or custom or under state law, or to whom temporary physical care, custody and control has been transferred by the parent of the child.

(j) "Indian tribe" means any Indian tribe, band, nation or other organized group or community of Indians recognized as eligible for services provided to Indians by the Secretary of the Department of the Interior because of their status as Indians, including an Alaska Native village as defined in 43 U.S.C. Section 1602(c).

(k) "Judge" means a superior court judge, a standing master or a district court judge or magistrate appointed as a special master pursuant to Adoption Rule 3.

(l) "Minor" means a person who has not reached the age of majority.

(m) "Parent" means a biological or adoptive parent.

(n) "Parties" means the petitioners, person to be adopted, the parents of the person to be adopted, anyone who has a right to consent under AS 25.23.040, a guardian ad litem, and any person or entity who has intervened.

(o) "Relinquishment" means a written surrender of parental rights in compliance with AS 25.23.180.

(SCO 972 effective January 15, 1990; amended by SCO 1084 effective January 15, 1992)

Cross References

(f) CROSS REFERENCE: 25 U.S.C. § 1903(3).

(g) CROSS REFERENCE: 25 U.S.C. § 1903(4).

(h) CROSS REFERENCE: 25 U.S.C. § 1903(5).

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Rule 3. Appointment and Authority of Masters.

(a) Appointment. The presiding judge may appoint a standing master to conduct adoption proceedings. Appointments of standing masters must be reviewed annually. The presiding judge may appoint a special master to conduct a proceeding which is specified in the order of reference.

(b) Authority, Order of Reference. (1) An order of reference specifying the extent of the master's authority and the type of appointment must be entered in every case assigned to a master. The order of reference must be served on all parties.

(2) A master's report is not binding until approved by a superior court judge pursuant to Civil Rule 53(d) and paragraph (f) of this rule, except that a master may enter orders without further approval of the superior court pursuant to Civil Rule 53(b) and (c), and paragraph (d) of this rule.

(c) Objection to Reference to a Master. In addition to the peremptory challenge of a master provided for in Civil Rule 42(c), a party may file an objection to a referral to a master in the following manner:

(1) Timeliness. A party may file an objection no later than five days after receiving notice of an order of reference.

(2) Grounds for Objection. An objection to the assignment of a master must set forth sufficient grounds from which the court may determine whether good cause exists to remove the matter from the master's jurisdiction. Good cause may include involvement of:

(i) complex questions of law which require a decision by a superior court judge; or

(ii) questions requiring prompt resolution which would be seriously impaired by reference to a master.

(d) Standing Master's Authority to Enter Orders. A standing master is authorized to take the following actions without further approval by a superior court judge:

(1) appoint counsel and guardians ad litem;

(2) order home studies;

(3) set hearings and order continuances of the hearings;

(4) accept and approve stipulations; and

(5) accept voluntary relinquishments of parental rights and consents to adoption, and, in the case of an Indian child, make the requisite judicial certification of voluntary consent required by federal law.

(e) Master's Report, Recommendations. A master may issue a written report or oral findings on the record concerning an order or recommendation which must be approved by a superior court judge. The master shall advise the parties on the record of their right to file objections to any such decisions pursuant to paragraph (f) of this rule.

(f) Objections to Master's Report, Recommendations. Objections to a master's report or recommendation must be filed within ten days of service of the report unless the court requires objections to be filed earlier. In the case of a recommendation rendered orally on the record where a party requests an electronic recording of the recommendation, the time period for objection runs from receipt of the recording. A reply to the objections must be filed within three days of service of the objections. The superior court may permit oral argument, order the taking of further evidence, or grant a hearing de novo.

(SCO 972 effective January 15, 1990; and amended by SCO 1555 effective October 15, 2004)

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Rule 4. Authority of District Court Judges and Magistrates.

A district court judge or magistrate may not preside over adoption proceedings in the absence of appointment as a master pursuant to Adoption Rule 3 or, in the case of a district court judge, appointment by the chief justice as a superior court judge pro tempore.

(SCO 972 effective January 15, 1990)

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Rule 5. Venue.

(a) Venue. Adoption proceedings must be brought in superior court in the judicial district or venue district in which, at the time of filing the petition, the petitioner or the person to be adopted resides or is in military service, or in which the agency having the care, custody, or control of the person to be adopted is located.

(b) Change of Venue. Venue may be changed in the interest of substantial justice pursuant to AS 22.10.040 after a petition is filed.

(c) Venue Districts. Venue districts as used in this rule refer to the districts referenced in the Venue District Map attached to Criminal Rule 18.

(SCO 972 effective January 15, 1990)

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Rule 6. Petitions.

(a) Petition for Adoption.

(1) An adoption petition must include the information required by AS 25.23.080. A separate petition must be filed for each person to be adopted. If the proceeding involves a minor, the petition must also state whether the minor to be adopted is an Indian child and whether any other court cases involving the minor are know to be pending.

(2) An adoption petition involving an Indian child must include a statement of petitioner's compliance with the placement preferences provided by 25 U.S.C. Section 1915(a). The petition must state the identity of the child's tribe, if known; whether the child is reasonably believed to be a resident or domiciliary of an Indian reservation as defined in 25 U.S.C. Section 1903(10); and whether the child is known to be a ward of a tribal court.

(3) The report of expenditures required by AS 25.23.090 may be incorporated into the petition.

(b) Petition for Termination of Parental Rights Based on Relinquishment. A petition for termination based on the voluntary relinquishment of parental rights pursuant to AS 25.23.180(b) must state, in addition to the information required by paragraph (a), that the parent has or intends to relinquish parental rights to the child.

(c) Petition for Involuntary Termination. A petition for termination based on the involuntary termination of parental rights pursuant to AS 25.23.180(c)(1)-(3) must state, in addition to the information required by paragraph (a), the specific statutory and factual basis of the claim that parental rights should be involuntarily terminated.

(d) Relationship of Petitions to Terminate Parental Rights and to Adopt. (1) A petition to terminate parental rights under paragraph (b) or (c) of this rule may be combined with a petition for adoption.

(2) In a petition for termination of parental rights under paragraph (b) or (c) of this rule filed before a petition for adoption, the term "petitioner" in AS 25.23.080(b)(4) -- (6) will be interpreted to mean the person who will have custody of the child pending adoption.

(SCO 972 effective January 15, 1990; amended by SCO 1568 effective October 15, 2005, and by SCO 1650 effective October 15, 2007)

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Rule 7. Guardians Ad Litem.

(a) When Appointed. The court may appoint a guardian ad litem for a child in an adoption proceeding when necessary to promote the child's best interests.

(b) Appointment. Guardians ad litem will be appointed in accordance with the provisions of AS 25.23.100 and Administrative Rule 12. The court shall specify the duties of the guardian ad litem and the duration of the appointment in its order of appointment.

(c) Service. A guardian ad litem is a party and must be served with pleadings and notices according to the civil rules.

(SCO 972 effective January 15, 1990; amended by SCO 1092 effective July 15, 1992)

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Rule 8. Right to Counsel.

(a) Counsel of Choice. The court shall ensure at the first appearance of a parent that the parent is informed of the right to counsel of their choice at the parent's own expense. The court shall ensure that a child is advised of the right to counsel at the time the child appears to sign a consent to adoption.

(b) Appointed Counsel.

(1) The court shall appoint counsel at public expense pursuant to Administrative Rule 12(e)(1)(A)(i) to represent an indigent parent of an Indian child.

(2) The court shall appoint the Office of Public Advocacy to represent an indigent parent against whom an involuntary termination of parental rights is sought pursuant to AS 25.23.180(c)(3).

(3) The court shall also appoint counsel at public expense pursuant to Administrative Rule 12 to represent:

(A) an indigent parent against whom an involuntary termination of parental rights is sought on grounds other than stated in AS 25.23.180(c)(3), if the action is brought by the state or by a party represented by the Alaska Legal Services Corporation or the Alaska Pro Bono Program; and

(B) an indigent parent who is defending against a claim that the parent's consent to adoption is not required under AS 25.23.050(a).

(4) The court may appoint counsel under AS 25.24.310 to represent a minor child who is to be adopted.

(SCO 972 effective January 15, 1990; amended by SCO 1092 effective July 15, 1992; and by SCO 1169 effective July 15, 1994; by SCO 1187 effective July 15, 1995; and by SCO 1296 effective January 15, 1998)

*An indigent Indian custodian has a right to court-appointed counsel under 25 U.S.C. Section 1912(b). Counsel appointed for an Indian custodian under Section 1912 must seek compensation pursuant to 25 C.F.R. Section 23.13.

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Rule 9. Consents -- Relinquishments.

(a) Form. A consent or relinquishment must be in writing and must include:

(1) notice of the person's right to withdraw the consent or relinquishment as provided by paragraphs (g) and (h) of this rule;

(2) the address and telephone number of the court in which the adoption or relinquishment proceeding has or is expected to be filed;

(3) a statement of the right to counsel as stated in Rule 8;

(4) a statement concerning whether or not any visitation rights or other parental privileges are sought to be retained after the adoption;

(5) if a consent, the information required in AS 25.23.060; and

(6) if signed by a parent, a statement of whether the parent is a minor.

(b) Consent or Relinquishment Involving an Indian Child. A consent or relinquishment involving an Indian child must be signed in a hearing in the presence of a judge unless the consent is by an agency. In addition to the explanations required by paragraph (d), the court shall inquire as to what efforts have been made to comply with the placement preferences of 25 U.S.C. Section 1915(a). Consent for adoption or relinquishment of parental rights of an Indian child may not be given prior to or within ten days following the birth of the child.

(c) Consent By a Minor. (1) A consent by a minor child over the age of 10 to the child's adoption must be signed in writing and must be in the presence of the court unless the court in the best interest of the minor dispenses with the minor's consent or the requirement that the child consent in court.

(2) A consent by a parent who is a minor to an adoption of the parent's child must be signed in the presence of the court.

(d) Consent or Relinquishment Before the Court. If a consent or relinquishment is to be signed in the presence of the court, the judge shall first determine that the terms and consequences of the document were explained in detail to the person in a language that the person understands. The court also must determine that the person understands these terms and consequences, and that the person voluntarily signs the consent or relinquishment. If the identity or whereabouts of the other parent is in question, the court shall inquire into these matters.

(e) Consents or Relinquishments Not Before the Court. A consent or relinquishment to an adoption not taken in the presence of a judge must comply with AS 25.23.060. A relinquishment not taken in the presence of a judge must comply with AS 25.23.180(b).

(f) Consent or Relinquishment Before Special Master. A consent or relinquishment required to be taken in the presence of a judge must be taken in the physical presence of a judge. However, in exceptional circumstances the judge assigned to hear the entire proceeding may request that the presiding judge appoint a peace officer or person authorized to administer oaths or affirmations as a special master under Adoption Rule 3 for the limited purpose of sitting as the judge in whose physical presence the person gives the consent or relinquishment. The judge assigned to hear the entire proceeding must be telephonically present when the consent or relinquishment is taken. Both the special master and the judge assigned to hear the entire proceeding must make oral or written findings concerning the identity of the person signing the consent or relinquishment, whether the person understood the consent or relinquishment, and whether the person signed voluntarily. The requirements of paragraph (c) also must be met.

(g) Withdrawal of Consent or Relinquishment of a Non-Indian Child. The parent of a non-Indian child may withdraw a consent or relinquishment by notifying in writing the court, or the person or agency obtaining the consent or relinquishment, within 10 days of the birth or signing of the consent or relinquishment, whichever is later. Notification is timely if received or postmarked on or before the last day of this time period. The parent may move the court to permit withdrawal of the consent or relinquishment after the 10 day period pursuant to AS 25.23.070 for a consent or AS 25.23.180(g)or AS 47.10.089(h) for a relinquishment.

(h) Withdrawal of Consent or Relinquishment of an Indian Child. The parent of an Indian child may withdraw a consent or relinquishment by notifying in writing the court or the person or agency obtaining the consent or relinquishment at any time before the signing of the decree of adoption for a consent or the order of termination for a relinquishment. Notification is timely if received or postmarked on or before the last day of this time period. A decree of adoption or order of termination may not be signed until 10 days have passed since the signing of the consent or relinquishment.

(SCO 972 effective January 15, 1990; amended by SCO 1276 effective July 15, 1997; and by SCO 1580 effective nunc pro tunc to July 1, 2005)

Note: Chapter 64, sections 56 and 57, SLA 2005 (HB 53) amended Adoption Rule 9 as reflected in section 9 of this Order. The change to Adoption Rule 9 is adopted for the sole reason that the legislature has mandated the amendment. In addition, according to section 60(b) of the Act, AS 25.23.180(j) – (n) and AS 47.10.089, enacted in sections 4 and 17, amend Adoption Rule 9 by requiring retained privileges to be set out in the relinquishment form and order and by providing additional procedures related to the relinquishment.

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Rule 10. Notice.

(a) Notice to Parties. Petitioner shall give notice of the adoption hearing to the persons required by AS 25.23.100(a). The notice must contain the information required by AS 25.23.100(b) and must be served in the manner provided by this rule and Civil Rule 4, except that in an adoption involving an Indian child, notice must be by personal service or certified or registered mail with proof of service dated no later than 10 days before the adoption hearing. Notice of the adoption hearing must also be given to extended family members of an Indian child who have intervened in the adoption proceeding or participated as a party in any prior child custody proceeding involving the child.

(b) Waiver. A party may waive the party's right to notice by filing a written notarized waiver with the court.

(c) Notice to Parents Whose Whereabouts Are Unknown. If the name of a parent who has not consented to the adoption is known, but the person's whereabouts cannot be ascertained after diligent inquiry, the petitioner may move the court to allow notice by publication under Civil Rule 4 in a newspaper of general circulation in the community most likely to effect actual notice. Published notice must give the full name, if known, of the person to whom the notice is directed. All other parties must be identified by initials rather than names. In an adoption involving an Indian child, additional notice to the parent must be sent in care of the Secretary of the Interior.

(d) Notice to Unknown Parent. If the identity of the parent is unknown and the court is satisfied that no form of notice, even by publication, is reasonably likely to give actual notice to the parent, the court may waive notice.

(e) Notice to Indian Tribe. In an adoption or relinquishment proceeding involving an Indian child, notice must be given to the child's tribe at the time of the petition or, if the child's tribe is not known at this time, reasonably promptly after the tribe has been determined. However, notice is not required if parental rights are to be voluntarily terminated and the parent files a statement that the tribe has not been served with notice in order to protect the privacy of the parent. The notice, if required, must be by personal service or certified or registered mail, with proof of service dated no later than 10 days before the adoption hearing and, if applicable, also 10 days before the entry of the decree of termination. The notice, if required, must be sent with a copy of the petition and must contain:

(1) a statement that the Indian child's tribe has a right to intervene in the proceeding;

(2) a statement of the right of the tribe to request twenty additional days to prepare for the proceedings;

(3) the mailing address and telephone number of the court;

(4) a statement that the tribe may have a right to petition the court to transfer the proceedings to a tribal court authorized to exercise jurisdiction under federal law; and

(5) a statement that since adoption proceedings are usually conducted on a confidential basis, tribal officials shall keep the information contained in the notice confidential.

(SCO 972 effective January 15, 1990)

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Rule 11. Hearings.

(a) Conduct of Hearing. Adoption hearings are confidential proceedings tried by the court without a jury and must be conducted pursuant to AS 25.23.150(a).

(b) Exclusion of Witnesses. Witnesses may be excluded from a hearing pursuant to Evidence Rule 615.

(c) Telephonic Participation. The court may conduct any hearing with telephonic participation as provided by Civil Rule 99, except as provided by Adoption Rule 9(f). Payment of telephone costs is governed by Administrative Rule 48.

(d) Testimony Under Oath. All testimony must be given under oath or affirmation as required by Evidence Rule 603.

(e) Contested Adoptions. The court may issue a pretrial order when the parties contest any issue. The court shall consider the advisability of appointing a guardian ad litem in contested adoptions.

(f) Burden and Standard of Proof. The burden is on the petitioner to prove all relevant issues in the adoption. The standard of proof as to the finding that the adoption is in the best interests of the person to be adopted is by a preponderance of the evidence. The standard of proof as to a finding that a consent is not required under AS 25.23.050(a) is by clear and convincing evidence.

In an adoption involving an Indian child, the burden of proof is also on the petitioner to show by a preponderance of the evidence that the placement is within the placement preferences or that there is good cause for allowing a non-preferred placement pursuant to 25 U.S.C. Section 1915. The burden and standard of proof in proceedings for the involuntary termination of parental rights in conjunction with adoption proceedings must comply with CINA Rule 18.

(g) Representation by Non-Attorney. Unless the court for good cause requires representation by an attorney, an Indian tribe that has intervened may be represented by a non-attorney designated by the Indian tribe. The tribe must file a written authorization for representation by the designated non-attorney before the non-attorney may represent the tribe. If the tribe changes its designated representative or if the representative withdraws, the tribe must file a written substitution of representation or withdrawal. A guardian ad litem need not be represented by an attorney unless the court, for good cause, requires representation by an attorney.

(SCO 972 effective January 15, 1990; amended by SCO 998 effective January 15, 1990; and by SCO 1688 effective April 15, 2009)

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Rule 12. Tribal Intervention and Removal.

(a) Intervention. In any adoption or relinquishment proceeding involving an Indian child, the Indian child's tribe and an Indian custodian, if any, may intervene as a matter of right at any stage in the proceeding.

(b) Removal.

(1) In an adoption involving the termination of parental rights of a parent of an Indian child, the parent, Indian custodian or the tribe may move to have the matter removed to a tribal court pursuant to 25 U.S.C. Section 1911.

(2) When a petition for removal to tribal court is filed, the court must find that the tribal court is authorized to exercise jurisdiction under federal law before transferring jurisdiction to the tribal court. The court may set a hearing on the petition for removal with notice to all parties to determine whether the tribal court has declined jurisdiction, and, if jurisdiction has not been declined, to determine whether any objection has been raised by either parent to the removal pursuant to 25 U.S.C. Section 1911(b).

(3) Civil Rule 77 applies to petitions for removal to tribal court.

(SCO 972 effective January 15, 1990)

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Rule 13. Decree of Termination.

(a) Voluntary Relinquishment. A decree terminating parental rights may be entered after a voluntary relinquishment pursuant to AS 25.23.180 or AS 47.10.089 . The court shall enter findings of fact which must include a statement concerning whether visitation rights are being allowed under AS 25.23.130(c) or other privileges are being retained under AS 25.23.180 or AS 47.10.089, and whether the time limit for withdrawal of the relinquishment has elapsed. If the relinquishment was signed in the presence of the court, findings also must be entered as to whether the parent understood the consequences of the relinquishment, and whether the relinquishment was voluntarily signed.

In the case of a voluntary relinquishment of parental rights to an Indian child, the court shall make additional findings concerning whether any notice required by Rule 10(e) was timely given; whether the relinquishment was voluntary and in compliance with the requirements of 25 U.S.C. Section 1913; and whether the child's placement complies with the preferences set out in 25 U.S.C. Section 1915 or good cause exists for deviation from the placement preference.

(b) Involuntary Termination of Parental Rights. Proceedings for the involuntary termination of parental rights in conjunction with adoption proceedings must comply with CINA Rule 18, except as otherwise provided by AS 25.23.180(c)(2) and (3). 25 U.S.C. Section 1912 also applies to all involuntary termination proceedings involving an Indian child.

(SCO 972 effective January 15, 1990; amended by SCO 1276 effective July 15, 1997; and by SCO 1580 effective nunc pro tunc to July 1, 2005)

Note: Chapter 64, section 58, SLA 2005 (HB 53) amended Adoption Rule 13 as reflected in section 11 of this Order. The change to Adoption Rule 13 is adopted for the sole reason that the legislature has mandated the amendment. In addition, according to section 60(b) of the Act, AS 25.23.180(j) – (n) and AS 47.10.089, enacted in sections 4 and 17, amend Adoption Rule 13 by requiring retained privileges to be set out in the relinquishment form and order and by providing additional procedures related to the relinquishment. According to section 60(c) of the Act, AS 25.23.180(k) – (n) and AS 47.10.089(g), (h), and (j), enacted in sections 4 and 17, amend Adoption Rule 13 by authorizing review hearings for voluntary relinquishments.

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Rule 14. Decree of Adoption.

(a) Findings. At the conclusion of the hearing, the court shall enter findings of fact concerning:

(1) whether the required consents were filed or excused;

(2) whether a report of petitioner's expenditures was required, and if so, whether the report was accepted by the court;

(3) whether all appropriate notices were timely given;

(4) if the adoption was of a minor, whether the required residence of the minor with petitioner exists;

(5) whether a home study was required, and if so, whether the home study was accepted by the court;

(6) whether the adoption is in the best interests of the minor; and

(7) whether visitation rights are being allowed under AS 25.23.130(c).

The court's findings also must include a description and an estimate of value of any property of the person to be adopted.

(b) Additional Finding for Indian Children. In the case of an Indian child, the court must enter additional findings regarding:

(1) whether any additional notices required in Rule 10(e) were timely given;

(2) whether the parent's consent was voluntary and in compliance with 25 U.S.C. Section 1913; and

(3) whether the placement complies with the preferences set out in 25 U.S.C. Section 1915 or good cause exists for deviation from the placement preferences.

(SCO 972 effective January 15, 1990; amended by SCO 1276 effective July 15, 1997)

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Rule 15. Appeal.

(a) Grounds, Procedure. An appeal of a final judgment or order, or a petition for review of an interlocutory order or decision in an adoption case, may be taken subject to Appellate Rule 218 or other appropriate appellate procedures.

(b) Stay. An order, judgment or decision of the superior court remains in effect pending appeal or review, unless stayed by order of the superior court or the supreme court.

(SCO 972 effective January 15, 1990)

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Rule 16. Records.

(a) Report of Adoption. The court shall require a report of adoption and a biological information sheet to be filled out so that it can be filed with the Bureau of Vital Statistics with the decree of adoption. The court shall refer requests for adoption documents to the Bureau of Vital Statistics.

(b) Substitute Birth Certificate. At the request of the adoptive parent and upon payment of fees and completion of forms, the clerk of court shall send a request for a substitute birth certificate to the appropriate state's vital statistics office.

(c) Indian Child Adoption Reports. The court shall send a copy of the decree, a report providing all information required by 25 U.S.C. Section 1951, and an affidavit requesting anonymity, if any, to the Secretary of the Interior. A copy of this report must be kept in the case file.

(d) Confidential Files. Access to the court file prior to a decree of adoption is limited to the parties unless ordered otherwise by the court. Access to the file after a decree of adoption is limited as provided by AS 25.23.150, subject to informational requests under AS 18.50.500, AS 18.50.510, and 25 U.S.C. Section 1917.

(e) Adoption Index. An alphabetical index of all adoption cases will be kept under the name by which the person to be adopted will be known if the petition is granted. The adoption index is confidential.

(f) Certificate of Adoption or Termination of Parental Rights. A person whose parental rights have been terminated under AS 25.23.130 or AS 25.23.180 may request a certificate to be issued by the clerk which confirms that a decree of adoption or termination has been entered terminating the parent and child relationship between the person and a particular child. Before issuing a certificate, the clerk shall require sufficient identification to establish that the person requesting the certificate is the parent named in the decree. The certificate may disclose only the following information about the adoption or termination:

(1) the case number;

(2) the name of the parent whose rights were terminated;

(3) the date the decree was entered;

(4) the name of the child prior to the adoption or termination; and

(5) the child's date of birth.

(SCO 972 effective January 15, 1990; amended by SCO 1060 effective July 15, 1991; and by SCO 1286 effective October 1, 1997; and by SCO 1404 effective October 15, 2000)

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Rule 17. Challenges to Validity of Adoption Decree.

(a) Procedure. A person may move to set aside the decree by filing a motion stating the grounds for challenging the validity of the decree, with service on other parties, subject to the time limitations of AS 25.23.140(b) and (c), and 25 U.S.C. Section 1913(d). The court shall schedule a hearing after reasonable notice to the parties. At the hearing, the burden is on the party challenging the decree to show by a preponderance of the evidence that the decree is not valid.

(b) Petition under 25 U.S.C. Section 1914. A petition alleging a violation of any provision of 25 U.S.C. Section 1911, 1912 or 1913 is governed by the procedures set out in CINA Rule 20.

(SCO 972 effective January 15, 1990)

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APPENDIX

Alaska Adoption Statutes

The current Alaska Statutes are available at the Alaska Legislature website.

Chapter 23. Adoption.

Section

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Rev. 15 October 2013
© Alaska Court System

www.courts.alaska.gov
webmaster@courts.state.ak.us

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