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MALE INFANT B. E. APPEAL JUDITH R. SHAPIRO A/K/A JUDITH R. SHAHAN (08/17/77)

decided: August 17, 1977.

IN RE MALE INFANT B. E. APPEAL OF JUDITH R. SHAPIRO A/K/A JUDITH R. SHAHAN


COUNSEL

Carl M. Moses, Sharon, for appellant.

No appearance for appellee.

Eagen, C. J., and O'Brien, Roberts, Pomeroy, Nix and Manderino, JJ.

Author: Roberts

[ 474 Pa. Page 142]

OPINION OF THE COURT

The issue presented is whether a parent may petition to terminate the parental rights of the other parent absent any plans for adoption of the child. Appellant, the natural mother of Male Infant B. E., filed a petition for involuntary termination of the natural father's parental rights to the child in the Orphans' Court Division of the Court of Common Pleas for Allegheny County. The petition was refused without hearing because the petition contained no averment that adoption proceedings with respect to the child were contemplated. Appellant's exceptions were dismissed by the Orphans' Court en banc. This appeal followed.*fn1

Appellant has had custody of her son since his birth and has not remarried since her divorce from the natural father. She concedes she has no plans to have the child adopted by a stepparent or any other person, but argues that she is nonetheless entitled to a decree terminating the parental rights of the natural father, upon proof that he has abandoned the child.*fn2 We agree with the Orphans' Court that the Adoption Act*fn3 provides for termination of parental rights only in connection with a plan for adoption, and affirm.

Appellant bases her argument on section 312 of the Adoption Act,*fn4 which governs standing to bring a petition for involuntary termination. Section 312 provides:

"A petition to terminate parental rights with respect to a child under the age of eighteen years may be filed by (i) either parent when termination is sought with respect to

[ 474 Pa. Page 143]

    the other parent, (ii) an agency, or (iii) the individual having custody or standing in loco parentis to the child and who has filed a report of intention to adopt required by section 331. When the petition is filed by a parent who is under the age of eighteen it shall be joined in by at least one of the parents of such petitioning parent, unless the court is satisfied that such joinder would not be in the best interest of the petitioning parent and would serve no useful purpose. A petition filed under this section shall contain an averment that the petitioner will assume custody of the child until such time as the child is adopted."

Appellant asserts it is necessary that a report of intention to adopt be filed only when a petition has been brought pursuant to subsection (iii). She reasons that since no report is required when a parent petitions for termination of the rights of the other parent, section 312 authorizes such a petition in the absence of an adoption plan. We do not agree.

The reason a parent may petition for termination of the parental rights of the other parent when no report of intention to adopt has been filed is not to permit termination when adoption is not contemplated. Rather, section 312 does not require that a report of intention to adopt be filed because such a report is not necessary for many adoptions. See section 331, 1 P.S. ยง 331 (Supp.1976). Section 331 states: "No report shall be required when the child is the child, grandchild, stepchild, brother or sister of the whole ...


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