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The Orphans’ Court Rules Have Been Overhauled Continued from page 23 of the statewide rules overhaul (for now), there are a few new local rules. A separate petition is required for each parent whose rights a petitioner seeks to terminate. Rule 15.4A. The parents or other persons entitled to notice of the hearing may execute a revocable waiver of notice. See Rule 15.6A. For confidentiality reasons, termination of parental rights should be done by a decree separate from an adoption decree. See Rule 15.4C. In cases where an “open adoption” with an agreement for continuing contact with a child’s biological family is presented to the court, notice will be required to the child’s guardian ad litem, if any. See Rule 15.10A. The most significant changes to the adoption rules are that all petitions for adoption shall be accompanied by an affidavit that is signed by the petitioner(s) and acknowledges financial responsibility for the adopted child(ren), see Rule 15.5C, and all petitions for the involuntary termination of a father’s parental rights shall have “appended thereto an affidavit of paternity signed by the child’s birth mother that contains” information regarding the identity of the child’s biological father. See Rule 15.4B.

So these are the major changes to the local Orphans’ Court rules in a nutshell. Fortunately for Berks County practitioners, several of our “old” rules have found their way into the Pa. O.C. Rules, which will make for easier transition. Still, like I said at the beginning, you will want to READ THE RULES before you do anything in Orphans’ Court or the Register of Wills office on and after September 1. Mr. Degler is a judicial law clerk for Berks County’s senior judges and a member of the Berks County Bar Association’s Orphans’ Court Rules Committee.

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The Berks Barrister | Summer 2016  

The Berks Barrister is the official publication of the Berks County Bar Association. www.berksbar.org. The Berks Barrister is published by H...

The Berks Barrister | Summer 2016  

The Berks Barrister is the official publication of the Berks County Bar Association. www.berksbar.org. The Berks Barrister is published by H...