Rule 3.615 Parental Rights Restoration Act Proceedings

(A) Applicable Rules. A proceeding by a minor to obtain a waiver of parental consent for an abortion shall be governed by the rules applicable to civil proceedings except as modified by this rule.

(B) Confidentiality, Use of Initials, Private File, Reopening.

(1) The court shall assure the confidentiality of the file, the assistance given the minor by court personnel, and the proceedings.

(2) If requested by the minor, the title of the proceeding shall be by initials or some other means of assuring confidentiality. At the time the petition is filed, the minor shall file a Confidential Information Sheet listing the minor's name, date of birth, permanent residence, title to be used in the proceeding and the method by which the minor may be reached during the pendency of the proceeding. The Confidential Information Sheet and all other documents containing identifying information shall be sealed in an envelope marked confidential on which the case number has been written and placed in a private file. Confidential information shall not be entered into a computer file.

(3) The court shall maintain only one file of all papers for each case. The file shall be inspected only by the judge, specifically authorized court personnel, the minor, her attorney, her next friend, the guardian ad litem, and any other person authorized by the minor. After the proceedings are completed, the file may be opened only by order of the court for good cause shown and only for a purpose specified in the order of the court.

(4) The file of a completed case shall not be destroyed until two years after the minor has reached the age of majority. The court shall not microfilm or otherwise copy the file.

(C) Advice of Rights, Method of Contact.

(1) If a minor seeking a waiver of parental consent makes first contact with the court by personal visit to the court, the court shall provide a written notice of rights and forms for a petition for waiver of parental consent, a confidential information sheet, and a request for appointment of an attorney, each substantially in the form approved by the state court administrator.

(2) If a minor seeking a waiver of parental consent makes first contact with the court by telephone, the court shall tell the minor that she can receive a notice of rights and forms for a petition, a confidential information sheet, and a request for appointment of an attorney by coming to the court or that the court will mail such forms to the minor. If the minor requests that the court mail the forms, the court shall mail the forms within 24 hours of the telephone contact to an address specified by the minor.

(3) Any person on personal visit to the court shall be given, on request, a copy of the notice of rights or any other form.

(D) Assistance with Preparation of Petition. On request of the minor or next friend, the court shall provide the minor with assistance in preparing and filing of a petition, confidential information sheet and request for appointment of an attorney, each substantially in the form approved by the state court administrator.

(E) Next Friend. If the minor proceeds through a next friend, the petitioner shall certify that the next friend is not disqualified by statute and that the next friend is an adult. The next friend may act on behalf of the minor without prior appointment of the court and is not responsible for the costs of the action.

(F) Attorney, Request, Appointment, Duties.

(1) At the request of the minor or next friend before or after filing the petition, the court shall immediately appoint an attorney to represent the minor. The request shall be in writing in substantially the form approved by the state court administrator. Except for good cause stated on the record, the court shall appoint an attorney selected by the minor if the minor has secured the attorney's agreement to represent her or the attorney has previously indicated to the court a willingness to be appointed.

(2) If it deems necessary, the court may appoint an attorney to represent the minor at any time.

(3) The minor shall contact the court appointed attorney within 24 hours of such appointment. The court shall advise the minor of this requirement.

(4) If an attorney is appointed to represent a minor prior to filing a petition, the attorney shall consult with the minor within 48 hours of appointment.

(G) Guardian Ad Litem, Appointment, Duties.

(1) Request of Minor. The court shall immediately appoint a guardian ad litem to represent the minor at the request of the minor or next friend before or after filing the petition.

(2) Appointment on Court's Motion.

(a) At any time if it deems necessary, the court may appoint a guardian ad litem to assist the court.

(b) The guardian ad litem may obtain information by contacting the minor and other persons with the consent of the minor, provided the confidentiality of the proceedings is not violated.

(H) Filing Petition, Setting Hearing, Notice of Hearing.

(1) The petition shall be filed in person by the minor, attorney or next friend.

(2) The court shall set a time and place for a hearing and notify the filer at the time the petition is filed. The court shall give notice of the hearing only to the minor, the minor's attorney, next friend and guardian ad litem. Notice of hearing may be oral or written and may be given at any time prior to the hearing. The hearing may be scheduled to commence immediately if the minor and her attorney, if any, are ready to proceed.

(3) Insofar as practical, at the minor's request the hearing shall be scheduled at a time and place that will not interfere with the minor's school attendance.

(I) Venue, Transfer. Venue is in the county of the minor's residence or where the minor is found at the time of the filing of the petition. Transfer of venue properly laid shall not be made without consent of the minor.

(J) Hearing.

(1) Burden and Standard of Proof. The petitioner has the burden of proof by preponderance of the evidence and must establish the statutory criteria at a hearing.

(2) Closed Hearing. The hearing shall be closed to the public. The court shall limit attendance at the hearing to the minor, the minor's attorney, the next friend, the guardian ad litem, persons who are called to testify by the minor or with the minor's consent, necessary court personnel and one support person who would not be disqualified as a next friend by MCL 722.902(d).

(3) All relevant and material evidence may be received.

(4) The hearing may be conducted informally in the chambers of a judge.

(5) The hearing shall commence and be concluded within 72 hours, excluding Sundays and holidays, of the filing of the petition, unless the minor consents to an adjournment. The order of the court shall be issued within 48 hours, excluding Sundays and holidays, of the conclusion of the hearing.

(K) Order.

(1) Order Granting Waiver, Duration, Effect. If the petition is granted, the court immediately shall provide the minor with two certified copies of the order granting waiver of parental consent. The order shall be valid for 90 days from the date of entry. Nothing in the order shall require or permit an abortion that is otherwise prohibited by law.

(2) Order Denying Waiver, Notice of Appeal, Appointment of Counsel, Preparation of Transcript. If the order denies relief, the court shall endorse the time and date on the order. The order shall be served on the minor's attorney or, if none, the minor along with

(a) a unified appellate document substantially in the form approved by the state court administrator which may be used as notice of appeal, claim of appeal, request for appointment of an attorney and order of transcript, and

(b) a notice that, if the minor desires to appeal, the minor must file the notice of appeal with the court within 24 hours.

(3) Appeal.

(a) Upon receipt of a timely notice of appeal, the court must appoint counsel and order that the transcript be prepared immediately and two copies filed within 72 hours. If the minor was represented by counsel in the court proceedings, the court must reappoint the same attorney unless there is good cause for a different appointment. As soon as the transcript is filed, the court shall forward the file to the Court of Appeals.

(b) Time for filing notice.

(1) If the order was entered at the conclusion of the hearing or at any other time when the minor's attorney or, if none, the minor was in attendance at court, the minor must file the notice of appeal within 24 hours of the date and time stamped on the order, or

(2) If the order was entered at any other time, the minor must file the notice of appeal within 24 hours of the time when the order was received by the minor's attorney or, if none, the minor.

(c) If a court in which a document is to be filed is closed for business at the end of a filing period, the document will be filed on a timely basis if filed during the morning of the next day when the court is open for business.

(d) Perfection of Appeal. The minor's attorney must perfect the appeal by filing in the Court of Appeals a claim of appeal and a copy of the order denying waiver. The appeal must be perfected within 72 hours, excluding Sundays and holidays, of the filing of the notice of appeal.

(e) Brief. The minor's attorney shall file at the time of perfecting appeal five copies of the brief on appeal. The brief need not contain citations to the transcript.

(f) Oral Argument. There will be no oral argument, unless ordered by the Court of Appeals.