On April 4, Professor Lisa Tucker was featured on the legal scholarship podcast Ipse Dixit to discuss her paper “From Contract Rights to Contact Rights: Rethinking the Paradigm for Post-Adoption Contact Agreements” with host Brian L. Frye, Spears-Gilbert Associate Professor of Law at the University of Kentucky College of Law. Listen to the episode.
In her paper, Tucker proposes that the law treat post-adoption contact agreements (PACAs) similarly to custody agreements. PACAs outline the terms of contact between adoptive parents and birth parents after the adoption has been finalized and generally are not enforceable if the terms of the agreement are broken after the adoption has been finalized. In these cases, birth parents effectively have no legal recourse. Only about half of U.S. states recognize PACAs as legally enforceable, and in many cases, enforceability requires certain conditions be met, which adoptive parents can circumvent.
Treating PACAs like custody agreements, as Tucker recommends, would allow birth parents clearly defined and legally enforceable rights. Moving towards this model for PACAs would protect the rights of both adoptive and birth parents, while acting in the best interest of the adopted child.
Tucker’s article was published in the Boston University Law Review in March 2020.