When matters involving the adoption of the same child or children are pending before the court, the court may:
(a) order a joint hearing or trial of any or all the adoption matters;
(b) order consolidation of all such adoption matters;
(c) order that the matters be heard sequentially; and
(d) make any orders appropriate to avoid unnecessary delay or costs.
Upon notice of motion and motion and for good cause shown, the court may order the consolidation of the adoption matter with any related proceeding, including a custody proceeding, paternity proceeding, termination of parental rights proceeding, or other proceeding regarding the same child.
When multiple adoption petitions have been filed with respect to the same child who is under the guardianship of the Commissioner of Human Services, the court shall consolidate the matters for trial. In all other cases, when two or more parties have petitioned for the adoption of the same child, the court may, after consideration of the factors specified in subdivision 4, order the petitions to be tried together.
Upon motion for a change of venue and for good cause shown, the court may order the consolidation of the adoption matter with any related proceeding in another county regarding the same child.
In making the determinations required under subdivisions 1 to 3, the court shall consider the best interests of the child, any potential breaches of confidentiality of the adoption matter, the additional complexity or judicial economies of a joint proceeding, and any other relevant factors.
The court may order a trial pursuant to Rule 44 to be bifurcated as to one or more claims or issues.
In cases where the child is under the guardianship of the Commissioner of Human Services, the court shall bifurcate the trial on the contested adoption petitions as follows:
(a) A trial shall first be held to determine whether the consent to the adoption by the Commissioner of Human Services was unreasonably withheld from the petitioner. The responsible social services agency shall proceed first with evidence about the reason for the withholding of consent. The petitioner who has not obtained consent shall then have the burden of showing by a preponderance of the evidence that the consent was unreasonably withheld.
(b) If the court determines that the consent of the Commissioner of Human Services was not unreasonably withheld, the court shall dismiss the adoption petition of the petitioner who did not obtain consent, and proceed to trial on the remaining adoption petitions, if any.
(c) If the court determines that the consent of the Commissioner of Human Services was unreasonably withheld from any petitioner, the court shall not dismiss that petition for lack of consent. The court shall proceed to trial on all the contested adoption petitions, and shall determine whether adoption is in the best interests of the child, and, if so, adoption by whom.
(Amended effective January 1, 2007.)
The provisions of Rules 42.01 to 42.03 do not apply to children under the guardianship of the Commissioner of Human Services. Procedures for contested adoptive placement of children under the guardianship of the Commissioner of Human Services are governed by Minnesota Statutes, section 260C.607, subdivision 6.
(Added effective July 1, 2014; amended effective September 1, 2019.)