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Rule 15.1A Form of Petition and Other Papers.

Petitions, orders and decrees for adoption, relinquishment, confirmation of consent and termination of parental rights, as well as reports of intention to adopt and reports of intermediaries shall be filed in the forms contained in the most recent edition of the Bucks County Bar Association Orphans' Court Section Manual on Practices and Procedures before the Register of Wills and in the Orphans' Court Division. Copies of this manual are available for inspection in the Bucks County Law Library or may be purchased from the Bucks County Bar Association. 

Rule 15.1B Certificate of Adoption.

An adoption petition in which the petitioners are residents of Pennsylvania presented to the Orphans' Court for filing with the Court shall not be accepted by the clerk unless there is filed simultaneously with it a Certificate of Adoption, Pennsylvania Form H 105.091, promulgated by the Department of Health, Vital Records. All parts except Part IV shall be completely filled in by counsel for petitioners. Item five shall have the child's family or given name in capital letters. In Item six of said form the date of birth shall be set forth in Arabic numerals and for computer handling by the Department of Health must contain six digits. Therefore, for the months of January through September, a zero shall be added as part of the month. The clerk will complete part IV of said form. Copies of said form can be obtained from the clerk's office. A sample completed form is available for inspection in the clerk's office. 

Rule 15.2A Persons at Hearing for Voluntary Relinquishment to Agency.

1. The following persons shall appear at the hearing for voluntary relinquishment of parental rights and duties to an agency pursuant to 23 Pa.C.S. §2501:

a. the parent(s) seeking to relinquish parental rights, and

b. a representative of the agency to whom custody is sought to be awarded.

2. At least 10 days' notice of the hearing shall be given to a parent who has not relinquished parental rights and duties and has not joined in the petition for voluntary relinquishment, to the putative father whose parental rights could be terminated pursuant to 23 Pa.C.S. §2503(d) and to the parents or guardian of a petitioner who has not reached 18 years of age. These persons are not required to attend the hearing.

3. The witnesses at the hearing may be sequestered. 

Rule 15.3A Persons at Hearing for Voluntary Relinquishment to Adult.

1. The following persons shall appear at the hearing for voluntary relinquishment of parental rights to an adult intending to adopt the child pursuant to 23 Pa.C.S. §2502:

a. the parent(s) seeking to relinquish parental rights; and

b. the person(s) to whom custody is sought to be awarded.

2. At least 10 days' notice of the hearing shall be given to a parent who has not relinquished parental rights and duties and has not joined in the petition for voluntary relinquishment, to the putative father whose parental rights could be terminated pursuant to 23 Pa.C.S. §2503(d) and to the parents or guardian of a petitioner who has not reached 18 years of age. These persons are not required to attend the hearing.

3. The witnesses at the hearing may be sequestered. 

Rule 15.4A Persons at Hearing for Involuntary Termination of Parental Rights.

1. The following persons shall appear at the hearing for involuntary termination of parental rights pursuant to 23 Pa.C.S. §2511, et seq.:

a. A representative of the agency to whom custody is sought to be awarded; or

b. the person(s) to whom custody is sought to be awarded.

2. At least 10 days' notice of the hearing shall be given to the parent or parents whose rights are to be terminated, to the parents or guardian of a minor parent whose rights are to be terminated, to the putative father, to the other parent who has not relinquished parental rights and whose rights are not to be terminated and to the parents or guardian of the other parent if the other parent is a minor. These persons are not required to attend the hearing.

3. The witnesses at the hearing may be sequestered. 

Rule 15.5A Petition for Adoption.

If the consent of a natural parent to the proposed adoption is not attached to the adoption petition and that parent's parental rights have not been terminated, the petition for adoption shall either state reasons for and request the Court to dispense with such consent or shall contain averments of grounds for the termination of parental rights under 23 Pa.C.S. §2511(a). 

Rule 15.5B Preplacement Home Study and Report; Investigation.

1. Agency Intermediary.

a. When the intermediary is an agency licensed by the Department of Public Welfare of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the agency shall conduct a home study and file a preplacement report as required by 23 Pa.C.S. §2530.

b. After the Report of Intention to Adopt has been filed, the agency shall conduct three supervisory post-placement visits and file a report of its investigation as required by 23 Pa.C.S. §2535. The report of investigation may be incorporated into the report of intermediary.

2. Non-Agency Intermediary or No Intermediary.

a. Prior to the placement of a child for adoption, a non-agency intermediary or the person(s) proposing to adopt if there is no intermediary shall file with the clerk a request for a pre-placement home study. A person or agency designated by the Court shall conduct the home study and file the pre-placement report required by 23 Pa.C.S. §2530.

b. After the report of Intention to Adopt has been filed, the same person or agency shall conduct three supervisory post-placement visits and file a report of its investigation as required by 23 Pa.C.S. §2535. The report of investigation may be incorporated into the report of the intermediary.

c. The persons or agency designated by the Court to perform the services required in 3(a) and (b) shall be paid the reasonable cost of such services by the proposed adopting parent(s). The reasonable cost shall be fixed by the Court. A check payable to the designated person or agency in the amount fixed shall be attached to the Request for Preplacement Home Study.

d. Bucks County Children and Youth Social Services Agency is designated to perform the home studies and supervisory visits required in 3a. and b. In appropriate cases, and upon petition to the Court, another person or agency may be approved to perform the duties required in 3a. and b., and payment for those services shall be paid by the proposed adopting parent(s) directly to the person or agency performing the services.


Rule 15.5C Disclosure of Fees and Costs.

1. The report required by Pa.O.C. Rule 15.5(d), disclosing fees and expenses, shall itemize each fee or expense known to counsel and shall be filed with the clerk of the Orphans' Court simultaneously with the filing of the petition for adoption. The report will be entered into evidence at that adoption hearing and will be considered the final report unless amended at the time of the adoption hearing.

2. An agency intermediary shall attach a statement itemizing its fees and expenses as an exhibit to the Report of the Intermediary. In the alternative, an agency intermediary may file with the Court a statement of the basis for its fees and annually thereafter a statement that the basis has not changed, if that is the case. If the agency electing to file annually does change its fee structure, then it must file with the Court a statement setting forth the change at least 30 days before the effective date of the change. 

Rule 15.5D Persons at Adoption Hearing.

1. The following persons shall appear at the adoption hearing:

a. the proposed adoptee;

b. the proposed adopting parent(s);

c. the spouse of the proposed adopting parent when the spouse is the adoptee's natural parent who is consenting to the adoption; and

d. the individual intermediary or a fully informed representative of the agency intermediary.

2. The witnesses at the hearing may be sequestered. 

Rule 15.6A Notice.

Written notice in the manner provided by law of the time and place of the hearing shall be served at least 10 days prior thereto upon all persons required by law to be notified, and due proof thereof shall be furnished at the hearing. If a decree of termination has not been entered, such notice shall also be served upon the natural parent or parents or other persons whose consent is required by law even though his or their consents be attached to the Report of the Intermediary, or the Petition for Adoption, unless such consents have been executed within 30 days prior to the filing of the petition for adoption, or unless by reason of particular circumstances appearing at the hearing the likelihood of revocation of such filed consent appears to be remote. Notwithstanding this statement of general policy, the Court reserves the right in particular cases, as deemed necessary or appropriate from the evidence at the hearing, to fix an adjourned or continued further hearing and to require that due notice thereof be served upon any such person or persons who did not appear at the original hearing and whose consent may be required, regardless of the date of the execution of his or their filed consent.