ADOPTION LAW OF UTAH
The adoption laws of Utah is governed by Title 78 Chapter 30 of the Utah Code. As per the law of Utah any minor child may be adopted by an adult person and any adult may be adopted by another adult. However, the adoption of an adult just as though the person being adopted were a minor, except that consent of the parents of an adult person being adopted is not required.
ELIGIBILITY OF PERSONS TO ADOPT
A person adopting a child must be at least ten years older than the child adopted, unless the petitioners for adoption are a married couple, one of which is at least ten years older than the child.
Consent of child
The consent of a child over the age of 12 years is necessary for his adoption
Adoption by married man
A child may be adopted by adults who are legally married to each other in accordance with the laws of this state, including adoption by a stepparent. But a child may not be adopted by a person who is cohabiting in a relationship that is not a legally valid and binding marriage under the laws of this state.
A married man who is not lawfully separated from his wife may not adopt a child without the consent of his wife, neither may a married woman who is not separated from her husband adopt a child without his consent, if the spouse not consenting is capable of giving that consent.
NOTICE OF ADOPTION PROCEEDINGS
An unmarried biological father, by virtue of the fact that he has engaged in a sexual relationship with a woman:
- is considered to be on notice that a pregnancy and an adoption proceeding regarding the child may occur; and
- has a duty to protect his own rights and interests.
An unmarried biological father is entitled to actual notice of a birth or an adoption proceeding with regard to his child only.
Notice of an adoption proceeding shall be served on each of the following persons:
- a. any person or agency whose consent or relinquishment is required unless that right has been terminated by:
- consent; or
- judicial action;
- any person who has initiated a paternity proceeding and filed notice of that action with the state registrar of vital statistics within the Department of Health,
- any legally appointed custodian or guardian of the adoptee;
- the petitioner's spouse, if any, only if the petitioner's spouse has not joined in the petition;
- the adoptee's spouse, if any;
- any person who, prior to the time the mother executes her consent for adoption or relinquishes the child for adoption, is recorded on the birth certificate as the child's father, with the knowledge and consent of the mother;
- any person who is:
- openly living in the same household with the child at the time the consent is executed or relinquishment made; and
- holding himself out to be the child's father; and
- any person who is married to the child's mother at the time she executes her consent to the adoption or relinquishes the child for adoption.
The notice that is required to be served:
- may be served immediately after relinquishment or execution of consent;
- shall be served at least 30 days prior to the final dispositional hearing; and
- shall specifically state that the person served must respond to the petition within 30 days of service if he intends to intervene in or contest the adoption.
Any person who has been served with notice of an adoption proceeding and who wishes to contest the adoption shall file a motion in the adoption proceeding:
- within 30 days after the day on which the person was served with notice of the adoption proceeding;
- that shall set forth specific relief sought; and
- that shall be accompanied by a memorandum specifying the factual and legal grounds upon which the motion is based.
Adoption proceedings may be commenced by filing a petition with the clerk of the District Court either:
- in the district where the person adopting resides, or if the person adopting is not a resident of this state, in the district where the child was born or in which the child-placing agency that has custody of the child is located; or
- with the juvenile court.
All orders, decrees, agreements, and notices in the proceedings needs to be filed with the clerk of the court where the adoption proceedings were commenced.
A petition for adoption is to be filed within 30 days of the date the adoptee is placed in the home of the petitioners for the purpose of adoption, unless the time for filing has been extended by the court, or unless the adoption is arranged by a licensed child-placing agency in which case the agency may extend the filing time.
If a person whose consent for the adoption is required cannot be found within the state, the fact of the minor's presence within the state shall confer jurisdiction on the court in proceedings.
The notice may not include:
- the name of the person or persons seeking to adopt the adoptee; or
- an unmarried mother without that person's consent.
The notice is served by the court with jurisdiction over the person served in the same manner as if the person served was served personally within the state.
In the case of service outside the state, service completed not less than five days before the time set in the notice for appearance of the person served, shall be sufficient to confer jurisdiction.
DIVISION OF CHILD AND FAMILY SERVICES
At the request of the court, the Division of Child and Family Services verifies the allegations of the petition for adoption of a minor child, make a thorough investigation of the matter, and report its findings in writing to the court.
When the court requests an investigation it shall serve a copy of the petition, together with a statement containing the names and addresses of the child and petitioners, on the division by certified mail. The division or the person appointed by the division shall complete the investigation and submit the written report to the court within 60 days of that service.
The written report submitted to the court shall state:
- why the birth parents, if living, desire to be released from the care, support, and guardianship of the child;
- whether the birth parents have abandoned the child or are morally unfit for custody;
- whether the proposed adoptive parent or parents are financially able and morally fit to have the care, supervision, and training of the child;
- the physical and mental condition of the child, so far as that may be determined; and
- any other facts and circumstances pertaining to the child and his welfare.
The court shall conduct a full hearing on the petition for adoption and examine the parties in interest under oath. The court may adjourn the hearing from time to time as the nature of the case requires.
If the report submitted by the Division of Child and Family Services disapproves of the adoption of the child by the petitioner, the court may dismiss the petition.
DECREE OF ADOPTION
The court shall after examining each person appearing before it separately, and, if satisfied that the interests of the child will be promoted by the adoption, it shall enter a final decree of adoption declaring that the child is adopted by the adoptive parent or parents and shall be regarded and treated in all respects as the child of the adoptive parent or parents.
The court shall make a specific finding regarding the best interest of the child, taking into consideration information provided to the court pursuant to the requirements of this chapter relating to the health, safety, and welfare of the child and the moral climate of the potential adoptive placement.
A final decree of adoption may not be entered until the child has lived in the home of the adoptive parent or parents for six months. However, if the adoptive parent is the spouse of the birth parent , a final decree of adoption may not be entered until the child has lived in the home of that adoptive parent for one year.
The Legislature specifically finds that it is not in a child's best interest to be adopted by a person or persons who are cohabiting in a relationship that is not a legally valid and binding marriage under the laws of this state. Nothing in this section limits or prohibits the court's placement of a child with a single adult who is not cohabiting.
NAME AND STATUS OF ADOPTED CHILD
When a final decree of adoption is entered, a child may take the family name of the adoptive parent or parents. After that decree of adoption is entered, the adoptive parent or parents and the child shall sustain the legal relationship of parent and child, and have all the rights and be subject to all the duties of that relationship.
ADOPTING ALIEN CHILD
An "alien child" means a child under 16 years of age who is not considered a citizen or national of the United States by the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service.
Any person adopting an alien child shall file with the petition for adoption written evidence from the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service that the child was inspected and:
- admitted into the United States for permanent residence;
- admitted into the United States temporarily in one of the lawful nonimmigrant categories specified; or
- paroled into the United States.
A person who adopts a child in a foreign country may register the order in this state. A petition for registration of a foreign adoption order may be combined with a petition for a name change. If the court finds that the foreign adoption order meets the requirements of Title78 Chapter 30 the court shall order the state registrar to:
- file the order pursuant; and
- file a certificate of birth for the child.
- An adoption related expenses" means expenses that:
are reasonably related to the adoption of a child;
are incurred for a reasonable amount; and
- The adoption expenses may also include expenses:
of the mother or father of the child being adopted, including:
temporary living expenses during the pregnancy or confinement of the mother; or
expenses for travel between the mother's or father's home and the location where the child will be born or placed for adoption; or
- of a directly affected person for:
travel between the directly affected person's home and the location where the child will be born or placed for adoption; or
temporary living expenses during the pregnancy or confinement of the mother; and