Utah

Adoption Laws

Consent to Adoption

Who Must Consent to an Adoption Citation: Ann. Code §§ 78B-6-120; 78B-6-123

Consent to adoption of a child or relinquishment of a child for adoption is required from:

  • A man who by operation of law under § 78B-15-204 is recognized as the father of the proposed adopted child or is the father of the child by a previous legal adoption
  • The mother of the child
  • Any biological parent who has been adjudicated to be the child’s biological father by a court of competent jurisdiction prior to the mother’s execution of consent to adoption or her relinquishment of the child for adoption
  • Any biological parent who has executed and filed a voluntary declaration of paternity with the State Registrar of Vital Statistics within the Department of Health, prior to the mother’s execution of consent to adoption or her relinquishment of the child for adoption
  • An unmarried biological father of the child only if he strictly complies with requirements to develop a substantial relationship with the child, openly acknowledge himself to be the father, initiate paternity proceedings, and agrees to support the child
  • The person or agency to whom the child has been relinquished and that is placing the child for adoption

A minor parent has the power to consent to the adoption of his or her child and relinquish his or her control or custody of the child for adoption. The consent or relinquishment is valid and has the same force and effect as a consent or relinquishment executed by an adult parent.

A minor parent, having executed a consent or relinquishment, cannot revoke that consent upon reaching the age of majority or otherwise by becoming emancipated.

Consent of Child Being Adopted Citation: Ann. Code § 78B-6-120

A child who is age 12 or older must consent to the adoption unless he or she does not have the capacity to consent.

When Parental Consent Is Not Needed Citation: Ann. Code §§ 78B-6-120;78B-6-121; 78B-6-111

The consent of a parent is not required if the adopted person is age 18 or older. The consent of a parent is not required if the person’s parental rights relating to the child have been terminated.

The consent of an unmarried biological father is not required if:

  • The court determines that the unmarried biological father’s rights should be terminated based on the petition of any interested party.
  • A declaration of paternity declaring the unmarried biological father to be the father of the child is rescinded.
  • The unmarried biological father fails to comply with requirements to initiate proceedings to establish his paternity of the child.

A biological father is not entitled to notice of an adoption proceeding, nor is the consent of a biological father required in connection with an adoption proceeding, in cases where it is shown that the child who is the subject of the proceeding was conceived as a result of conduct that would constitute any sexual offense, regardless of whether the biological father is formally charged with or convicted of a criminal offense.

When Consent Can Be Executed Citation: Ann. Code § 78B-6-125

A birth mother may not consent to the adoption of her child or relinquish control or custody of her child until at least 24 hours after the birth of her child.

The consent or relinquishment of any other person as required by §§ 78B-6-120 and 78B-6-121 may be executed at any time, including prior to the birth of the child.

How Consent Must Be Executed Citation: Ann. Code § 78B-6-124

A consent or relinquishment by a birth mother or an adopted person shall be signed before:

  • A judge of any court that has jurisdiction over adoption proceedings or a person appointed by that judge for the purpose of taking consents or relinquishments
  • A person who is authorized by a licensed child-placing agency to take consents or relinquishments if the consent or relinquishment grants legal custody of the child to a child-placing agency or an extra-jurisdictional child-placing agency

If the consent or relinquishment of a birth mother or adopted person is taken out of State, it shall be signed before:

  • A person who is authorized by a child-placing agency to take consents or relinquishments
  • A person authorized or appointed to take consents or relinquishments by a court of this State that has jurisdiction over adoption proceedings
  • A court that has jurisdiction over adoption proceedings in the State where the consent or relinquishment is taken
  • A person authorized, under the laws of the State where the consent or relinquishment is taken, to take consents or relinquishments of a birth mother or adopted person

The consent or relinquishment of any other person or agency as required by § 78B-6-120 may be signed before a notary public or any person authorized to take a consent or relinquishment.

A person authorized to take consents or relinquishments shall certify to the best of his or her information and belief that the person executing the consent or relinquishment has read and understands the consent or relinquishment and has signed it freely and voluntarily.

A person executing a consent or relinquishment is entitled to receive a copy of the consent or relinquishment.

Revocation of Consent Citation: Ann. Code § 78B-6-126

A consent or relinquishment is effective when it is signed and may not be revoked.

Criminal Background Checks for Prospective Foster and Adoptive Parents

Requirements for Foster Parents Ann. Code §§ 78B-6-131; 62A-2-120

A child who is in the legal custody of the State may not be placed with a prospective foster parent unless, before the child is placed:

  • A fingerprint-based FBI national criminal history records check is conducted on the prospective foster parent and each adult living in the home.
  • The Department of Human Services conducts a check of the child abuse and neglect registry in each State where the prospective foster parent and each adult living in the home has resided in the previous 5 years to determine whether the prospective foster parent or other adult is listed as having a substantiated or supported finding of child abuse or neglect.
  • Each person required to undergo a background check passes the background check, as provided by § 62A-2-120.

The application of a prospective foster parent shall not be approved if he or she has been convicted of a felony involving conduct that constitutes any of the following:

  • Child abuse
  • Commission of domestic violence in the presence of a child
  • Abuse or neglect of a child with a disability
  • Endangerment of a child
  • Murder, manslaughter, child abuse homicide, or homicide by assault
  • Kidnapping
  • A sexual offense
  • Sexual exploitation of children
  • Aggravated arson, burglary, or robbery
  • Domestic violence

A prospective foster parent shall not be approved if, within the previous 5 years, he or she has been convicted of a felony involving conduct that constitutes any of the following:

  • Aggravated assault, aggravated assault by a prisoner, or mayhem
  • A violation of the Controlled Substances Act, Drug Paraphernalia Act, Imitation Controlled Substances Act, Controlled Substance Precursor Act, or Clandestine Drug Lab Act

Requirements for Adoptive Parents Ann. Code § 78B-6-131

A child who is in the legal custody of the State may not be placed with a prospective adoptive parent unless, before placement of the child:

  • A fingerprint-based FBI national criminal records check is conducted on the prospective adoptive parent and each adult living in the home.
  • The Department of Human Services conducts a check of the child abuse and neglect registry in each State where the prospective adoptive parent has resided in the 5 years immediately preceding the day on which the prospective adoptive parent applied to be an adoptive parent, to determine whether the prospective adoptive parent is listed in the registry as having a substantiated or supported finding of child abuse or neglect.
  • The department conducts a check of the child abuse and neglect registry of each State where each adult living in the home of the prospective adoptive parent has resided in the immediately preceding 5 years, to determine whether the adult is listed in the registry as having a substantiated or supported finding of child abuse or neglect.
  • Each person required to undergo a background check passes the background check, pursuant to § 62A-2-120.

Grounds for Involuntary Termination of Parental Rights

Circumstances That Are Grounds for Termination of Parental Rights Ann. Code §§ 78A-6-507; 78A-6-508

Subject to the protections and requirements of § 78A-6-503, and if the court finds strictly necessary, the court may terminate parental rights if it finds any one of the following:

  • The parent has abandoned the child.
  • The parent has neglected or abused the child.
  • The parent is unfit or incompetent.
  • The child is being cared for in an out-of-home placement, the parent has substantially neglected or has been unable or unwilling to remedy the circumstances that caused the child to be in an out-of-home placement, and there is a substantial likelihood that the parent will not be capable of exercising proper and effective parental care in the near future.
  • The parent has made only token efforts to support or communicate with the child, prevent neglect of the child, eliminate the risk of serious harm to the child, or avoid being an unfit parent.
  • After a trial period during which the child was returned home, the parent substantially and continuously refused or failed to give the child proper parental care and protection.
  • The parent has complied with the terms and conditions of a safe relinquishment of a newborn child.

In determining whether a parent has abandoned a child, it is prima facie evidence of abandonment when the parent has:

  • Surrendered physical custody of the child, and for 6 months following the surrender has not manifested a firm intention to resume physical custody or to make arrangements for the care of the child
  • Failed to communicate with the child for 6 months
  • Failed to show the normal interest of a natural parent, without just cause
  • Abandoned an infant

In determining whether a parent is unfit or has neglected a child, the court shall consider, but is not limited to, the following circumstances, conduct, or conditions:

  • Emotional illness, mental illness, or mental deficiency of the parent that renders the parent unable to care for the immediate and continuing physical or emotional needs of the child for extended periods of time
  • Conduct toward a child of a physically, emotionally, or sexually cruel or abusive nature
  • Habitual or excessive use of intoxicating liquors, controlled substances, or dangerous drugs that render the parent unable to care for the child
  • Repeated or continuous failure to provide the child with adequate food, clothing, shelter, education, or other necessary care
  • Incarceration of the parent for such a time that the child will be deprived of a normal home for more than 1 year
  • A history of violent behavior

The following circumstances constitute prima facie evidence of unfitness:

  • Sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, injury, or death of any child, due to known or substantiated abuse or neglect by the parent
  • Conviction of a crime of such a nature as to indicate the unfitness of the parent to provide adequate care for the child
  • A single incident of life-threatening or gravely disabling injury to or disfigurement of the child
  • Conviction of the parent of committing, aiding, abetting, attempting, conspiring, or soliciting to commit murder or manslaughter of a child or child abuse homicide
  • Intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causing the death of another parent of the child, without legal justification

Circumstances That Are Exceptions to Termination of Parental Rights Ann. Code §§ 78A-6-507; 78A-6-508

The court may not terminate the parental rights of a parent because the parent has failed to complete a treatment required by a child and family plan.

If the court has directed the division to provide reunification services to a parent, the court must find that the division made reasonable efforts to provide those services before the court may terminate the parent’s rights.

A parent who, legitimately practicing the parent’s religious beliefs, does not provide specified medical treatment for a child is not, for that reason alone, a negligent or unfit parent.

A parent may not be considered neglectful or unfit because of a health-care decision made for a child by the child’s parent unless the State or other party to the proceeding shows, by clear and convincing evidence, that the health-care decision is not reasonable and informed.

Circumstances Allowing Reinstatement of Parental Rights

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.

Home Study Requirements for Prospective Parents in Domestic Adoption

Who Must Be Studied Citation: Ann. Code § 78B-6-128

Each prospective adoptive parent and any other adult living in the home shall be included in the study.

Agency or Person Conducting the Study Citation: Ann. Code § 78B-6-128

The preplacement evaluation may be conducted by:

  • An expert in family relations approved by the court
  • A certified social worker
  • A clinical social worker
  • A marriage and family therapist
  • A psychologist
  • A professional counselor
  • The Department of Human Services or a child-placing agency that has entered into a contract with the department for a child with special needs who is in the custody of any public child welfare agency

Qualifications for Adoptive Parents Citation: Ann. Stat. §§ 78B-6-117; 78B-6-118: Admin. Code R512-41-3

A child may be adopted by adults who are legally married to each other, including adoption by a stepparent. 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.

When a child in the custody of the division is placed for adoption, the child shall be placed with a married couple unless:

  • There are no qualified married couples who are willing and able to adopt the child.
  • The child is placed with a relative.
  • The child is placed with a person who has already developed a substantial relationship with the child.
  • The child is placed with a person who was selected by a parent or former parent of the child.
  • It is in the best interests of the child to place the child with a single person.

A person adopting a child must be at least 10 years older than the child adopted. If the petitioners are a married couple, only one of them need beat least 10 years older than the child.

In regulation: Prospective adoptive parents who apply to adopt a child in the custody of Child and Family Services, including kin or division employees, must meet the following requirements:

  • Complete the adoption training program approved by the division
  • Be assessed and approved as adoptive parents following completion of a home study

Elements of a Home Study Citation: Ann. Code § 78B-6-128; Admin. Code R512-41-4

The preplacement adoptive evaluation shall include:

  • A fingerprint-based State and national criminal history records check
  • A report containing all information regarding reports and investigations of child abuse, neglect, and dependency for each State the person has lived in for the previous 5 years

In regulation: An adoption evaluation must be consistent with the standards of the Child Welfare League of America and must include the following:

  • An autobiography or psychosocial information gathered from the prospective adoptive parents and family members
  • A behavioral assessment of the prospective adoptive parents and children living at home
  • A declaration that applicants are not cohabiting in a relationship that is not a legal marriage
  • A health status verification of the prospective adoptive parents and children living at home
  • A verification of financial status
  • An assessment of home safety and health
  • An assessment of the prospective adoptive parents parenting skills
  • A recommendation of the types of children that may be appropriate for the prospective adoptive parents

Grounds for Withholding Approval Citation: Ann. Code § 62A-2-120

A person may not be approved as a prospective adoptive parent if the person has been convicted of:

  • A felony that constitutes any of the following:
    • Child abuse
    • Commission of domestic violence in the presence of a child
    • Abuse or neglect of a child with a disability
    • Endangerment of a child
    • Murder or manslaughter
    • Child abuse homicide
    • Kidnapping
    • A sex offense, including sexual exploitation of children
    • Aggravated arson, burglary, or robbery
    • Domestic violence
  • A felony committed within the past 5 years involving:
    • Aggravated assault
    • Mayhem
    • A drug-related offense

When Studies Must Be Completed Citation: Ann. Code § 78B-6-128; Admin. Code R512-40-3

A child may not be placed in an adoptive home until a preplacement adoptive evaluation, assessing the prospective adoptive parent and the prospective adoptive home, has been conducted in accordance with the requirements of this section.

The preplacement evaluation must be completed or updated within the 12-month period immediately preceding the placement of a child with the prospective adoptive parent.

In regulation: A record of the approved home study shall be maintained in the Division of Child and Family Services Management Information System. Any significant changes in the family’s situation shall be documented by revisions or additions on an annual basis in the adoptive study, including revised medical reports, if needed.

At the end of a family’s third year as an approved prospective adoptive home, Child and Family Services shall notify the family that their home study will be closed unless the family reapplies for a new home study to be completed.

Postplacement Study Requirements Citation: Ann. Code § 78B-6-129; Admin. Code R512-41-8

A postplacement evaluation shall be conducted and submitted to the court prior to the final hearing in an adoption proceeding. The postplacement evaluation shall include:

  • Verification of the allegations of fact contained in the adoption petition
  • An evaluation of the progress of the child’s placement in the adoptive home
  • A recommendation regarding whether the adoption is in the best interests of the child

In regulation:The division will develop a Child and Family Plan within 30 days of placement and supervise the adoptive parents, including frequent visits with the child for at least the first 6 months after placement. Supervision by the division will continue until the adoption is final.

Exceptions for Stepparent or Relative Adoptions Citation: Ann. Code §§ 78B-6-128; 78B-6-129

Preplacement and postplacement evaluations are not required if a birth parent has legal custody of the child being adopted and the prospective adoptive parent is related to that child as a stepparent, sibling, grandparent, aunt, uncle, or first cousin unless the evaluation is otherwise requested by the court. The prospective adoptive parent shall obtain criminal history record information and a report containing all information regarding reports and investigations of child abuse, neglect, and dependency, and file that documentation with the court prior to finalization of the adoption.

Requirements for Interjurisdictional Placements Citation: Ann. Code §§ 62A-4a-701; 62A-4a-710

Any out-of-home placement of a child outside the State is subject to the provisions of the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children.

The State of Utah may request a home study report from another State or an Indian Tribe for purposes of assessing the safety and suitability of placing a child in a home outside of the jurisdiction of the State of Utah.

The State of Utah may not impose any restriction on the ability of a State agency administering, or supervising the administration of, a State program operated under a State plan approved under 42 U.S.C. 671 to contract with a private agency to conduct a home study.

When the State of Utah receives a home study report, the home study report shall be considered to meet all requirements imposed by the State of Utah for completion of a home study before a child is placed in a home, unless, within 14 days after the day on which the report is received, the State of Utah determines, based on grounds that are specific to the content of the report, that making a decision in reliance on the report would be contrary to the welfare of the child.

Foster to Adopt Placements Citation: Ann. Code § 62A-4a-602

Beginning May 1, 2000, the division, as a licensed child-placing agency, may not place a child in foster care with any individual or individuals that would not be qualified for adoptive placement pursuant to the provisions of §§ 78B-6-117, 78B-6-102, and 78B-6-137.

Infant Safe Haven Laws

Infant’s Age Citation: Ann. Code § 62A-4a-801

A newborn child may be relinquished. The term ‘newborn child’ means a child who is approximately 72 hours old or younger, as determined within a reasonable degree of medical certainty.

Who May Relinquish the Infant Citation: Ann. Code § 62A-4a-802

The parent or parent’s designee may relinquish the child.

Who May Receive the Infant Citation: Ann. Code §§ 62A-4a-801; 62A-4a-802

A parent or a parent’s designee may safely relinquish a newborn child at a hospital. The term ‘hospital’ means a general acute hospital that is:

  • Equipped with an emergency room
  • Open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
  • Staffed by full-time health-care professionals who have emergency medical services training

Responsibilities of the Safe Haven Provider Citation: Ann. Code § 62A-4a-802

Personnel employed by a hospital shall accept a newborn child who is relinquished and may presume that the person relinquishing is the child’s parent or the parent’s designee.

The person receiving the newborn child may request information regarding the parent and newborn child’s medical histories and identifying information regarding the nonrelinquishing parent of the child. Personnel employed by a hospital shall provide any necessary medical care to the child and notify the Division of Child and Family Services as soon as possible but no later than 24 hours after receipt of the child.

Immunity for the Provider Citation: Ann. Code § 62A-4a-802

A hospital and personnel employed by a hospital are immune from any civil or criminal liability arising from accepting a newborn child if the personnel employed by the hospital substantially comply with the provisions of this part and medical treatment is administered according to standard medical practice.

Protection for Relinquishing Parent Citation: Ann. Code § 62A-4a-802

A parent or a parent’s designee may safely relinquish a newborn child at a hospital and retain complete anonymity as long as the child has not been subject to abuse or neglect.

Safe relinquishment of a newborn child who has not otherwise been subject to abuse or neglect shall not, in and of itself, constitute neglect, and the child shall not be considered a neglected child as long as the relinquishment is carried out in substantial compliance with these provisions.

As long as the person relinquishing a newborn child is the child’s parent or the parent’s designee and there is no abuse or neglect, safe relinquishment of a newborn child in substantial compliance with these provisions is an affirmative defense to any potential criminal liability for abandonment or neglect relating to that relinquishment.

Effect on Parental Rights Citation: Ann. Code § 62A-4a-802

The division shall assume care and custody of the child immediately upon notice from the hospital. Unless identifying information relating to the nonrelinquishing parent of the newborn child has been provided:

  • The division shall work with local law enforcement and the Bureau of Criminal Identification in an effort to ensure that the newborn child has not been identified as a missing child.
  • The division shall immediately place the child in a potential adoptive home and, within 10 days after receipt of the child, file a petition for termination of parental rights.
  • The division shall direct the Office of Vital Records and Statistics to conduct a search for a birth certificate for the child and an Initiation of Proceedings to Establish Paternity Registry for unmarried biological fathers maintained by the Office of Vital Records and Statistics within the Department of Health and provide notice to each potential father identified on the registry. Notice of termination of parental rights proceedings shall be provided in the same manner as is utilized for any other termination proceeding in which the identity of the child’s parents is unknown.
  • If no person has affirmatively identified himself or herself within 2 weeks after notice is complete and established paternity by scientific testing within as expeditious a timeframe as practicable, a hearing on the petition for termination of parental rights shall be scheduled.
  • If a nonrelinquishing parent is not identified, relinquishment of a newborn child shall be considered grounds for termination of parental rights of both the relinquishing and nonrelinquishing parents.

Regulation of Private Domestic Adoption Expenses

Birth Parent Expenses Allowed Citation: Ann. Code § 76-7-203

Payment of adoption-related expenses is permitted as an act of charity. ‘Adoption-related expenses’ means expenses that are reasonably related to the adoption of a child and are incurred for a reasonable amount. These expenses may include expenses of the mother or father of the child being adopted, including:

  • Legal expenses
  • Maternity expenses
  • Medical and hospital expenses
  • Counseling expenses
  • Temporary living expenses during the pregnancy or confinement of the mother
  • Expenses for travel between the mother’s or father’s home and the location where the child will be born or placed for adoption

Birth Parent Expenses Not Allowed Citation: Ann. Code § 78B-6-140

Payments for adoption-related expenses may only be made in accordance with § 76-7-203.

Allowable Payments for Arranging Adoption

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.

Allowable Payments for Relinquishing Child Citation: Ann. Code § 76-7-203

It is unlawful for a person, while having custody, care, control, or possession of a child, to sell, dispose of, or attempt to sell or dispose of the child for and in consideration of the payment of money or other thing of value.

No payment may be made for the purpose of inducing the mother, parent, or legal guardian of a child to:

  • Place the child for adoption
  • Consent to an adoption
  • Cooperate in the completion of an adoption

Allowable Fees Charged by Department/Agency Citation: Ann. Code § 78B-6-135

The Division of Child and Family Services shall charge the petitioner a reasonable fee for the services provided.

Accounting of Expenses Required by Court Citation: Ann. Code § 78B-6-140

Prior to the entry of the final decree, an affidavit regarding fees and expenses, signed by the adoptive parents and the person or agency placing the child, shall be filed with the court. The affidavit shall list the following items in connection with the adoption:

  • All legal expenses, maternity expenses, medical or hospital expenses, and living expenses that have been or will be paid to or on behalf of the birth mother or father, with the source of payment
  • Fees paid by the prospective adoptive parent or parents in connection with the adoption
  • All gifts, property, or other items that have been or will be provided to the birth mother or father, with the source of the gifts, property, or other items
  • All public funds used for any medical or hospital costs in connection with the pregnancy, delivery of the child, or care of the child
  • A description of services provided to the prospective adoptive parent or parents or birth parents in connection with the adoption

The Rights of Unmarried Fathers

Legal Definition of Father Ann. Code § 78B-15-102

As used in this chapter:

  • ‘Adjudicated father’ means a man who has been adjudicated by a tribunal to be the father of a child.
  • ‘Alleged father’ means a man who alleges himself to be, or is alleged to be, the genetic father or a possible genetic father of a child, but whose paternity has not been determined.
  • ‘Declarant father’ means a male who, along with the biological mother, claims to be the genetic father of a child, and signs a voluntary declaration of paternity to establish the man’s paternity.
  • ‘Determination of parentage’ means the establishment of the parent-child relationship by the signing of a valid Voluntary Declaration of Paternity or adjudication by a tribunal.

Paternity Registry Ann. Code § 78-45g-401; 78B-15-402

The Office of Vital Records shall register the following records that are filed with the office:

  • All declarations of paternity
  • All judicial and administrative determinations of paternity
  • All notices of proceedings to establish paternity that are filed pursuant to §§ 78-30-4.13 and 78-30-4.14

A notice of initiation of paternity proceedings may not be accepted into the registry unless accompanied by a copy of the pleading that has been filed with the court to establish paternity. A notice of initiation of paternity proceedings may not be filed if another man is the adjudicated or declarant father.

An unmarried biological father who desires to be notified of a proceeding for adoption of a child must file a notice of the initiation of paternity proceedings as required by §§ 78B-6-110, 78B-6-120, 78B-6-121, and 78B-6-122.

A registrant shall promptly notify the registry in writing of any change in the information registered. The Office of Vital Records shall incorporate all new information received into its records but need not affirmatively seek to obtain current information for incorporation in the registry.

Alternate Means to Establish Paternity Ann. Code §§ 78B-15-301; 78B-15-302; 78B-15-401; 78B-15-601; 78B-15-622

The Office of Vital Records shall register the following records that are filed with the office:

  • All declarations of paternity
  • All judicial and administrative determinations of paternity
  • All notices of proceedings to establish paternity that are filed pursuant to §§ 78-30-4.13 and 78-30-4.14

A notice of initiation of paternity proceedings may not be accepted into the registry unless accompanied by a copy of the pleading that has been filed with the court to establish paternity. A notice of initiation of paternity proceedings may not be filed if another man is the adjudicated or declarant father. The mother of a child and a man claiming to be the genetic father of the child may sign a declaration of paternity to establish the paternity of the child. The declaration of paternity shall be in a form prescribed by the Office of Vital Records and shall be accompanied with a written and verbal notice of the alternatives to, the legal consequences of, and the rights and responsibilities that arise from signing the declaration.

The declaration of paternity shall become an amendment to the original birth certificate. A declaration of paternity may be completed and signed any time after the birth of the child. A declaration of paternity may not be signed or filed after consent to or relinquishment for adoption has been signed.

The parentage of a child may also be determined at an adjudicative proceeding. The tribunal shall issue an order adjudicating whether a man alleged or claiming to be the father is the parent of the child.

Required Information Ann. Code § 78B-15-302

A declaration of paternity must:

  • Be in a record
  • Be signed by the birth mother and declarant father in the presence of two witnesses who are not related by blood or marriage
  • State that the child whose paternity is being declared:
  • State whether there has been genetic testing and, if so, that the declarant man’s claim of paternity is consistent with the results of the testing
  • State that the signatories understand that the declaration is the equivalent of a legal finding of paternity of the child

If either the birth mother or the declarant father is a minor, the voluntary declaration must also be signed by that minor’s parent or legal guardian.

A presumed father may sign or otherwise authenticate an acknowledgment of paternity. The Social Security number of any person who is subject to declaration of paternity shall be placed in the records relating to the matter.

Revocation of Claim to Paternity Ann. Code §§ 78B-15-306; 78B-15-307

A signatory may rescind a declaration of paternity by filing a voluntary rescission document with the Office of Vital Records in a form prescribed by the office before the earlier of:

  • 60 days after the effective date of the declaration
  • The date of notice of the first adjudicative proceeding to which the signatory is a party, before a tribunal to adjudicate an issue relating to the child, including a proceeding that establishes support

Upon receiving a voluntary rescission document from a signatory, the Office of Vital Records shall provide notice of the rescission by mail to the other signatory at the last known address of that signatory. After the period for rescission has expired, a signatory of a declaration of paternity or a support-enforcement agency may commence a proceeding to challenge the declaration only on the basis of fraud, duress, or material mistake of fact. A party challenging a declaration of paternity or denial of paternity has the burden of proof.

A challenge brought on the basis of fraud or duress may be commenced at any time. A challenge brought on the basis of a material mistake of fact may be commenced within 4 years after the declaration is filed with the Office of Vital Records. Genetic test results that exclude a declarant father or that rebuttably identify another man as the father constitute a material mistake of fact.

Access to Information Ann. Code §§ 78B-15-312; 78B-15-405

The Office of Vital Records may release information relating to the declaration of paternity to a signatory of the declaration or denial and to tribunals and Federal, Tribal, and State support-enforcement agencies of this or another State.

The Office of Vital Records shall send a copy of the filing to a person or entity set forth below who has requested a copy. The copy of the filing shall be sent to the most recent address provided by the requestor.

Information contained in records that are filed pursuant to § 78-45g-401 is confidential and only may be released on request to:

  • A tribunal or a person designated by the tribunal
  • The mother of the child who is the subject of the filing
  • An agency authorized by law to receive the information
  • A licensed child-placing agency
  • The Office of Recovery Services, the Office of the Attorney General, or a support-enforcement agency of another State or Tribe
  • A party or the party’s attorney of record in a proceeding under this chapter, a proceeding for adoption of, or for termination of parental rights regarding, a child who is the subject of the filing
  • The registry of paternity in another State

Use of Advertising and Facilitators in Adoptive Placements

Use of Advertisement Citation: Ann. Code § 62A-4a-602(2)(b)

An attorney, physician, or other person may not:

  • Issue, or cause to be issued, a card, sign, or device to any person indicating that he or she is available to provide child-placing assistance
  • Cause, permit, or allow any sign or marking on or in any building or structure indicating that he or she is available to provide child-placing assistance
  • Announce--or cause, permit, or allow an announcement--in any newspaper, magazine, directory, or on radio or television indicating that he or she is available to provide child-placing assistance
  • Advertise by any other means that he or she is available to provide child-placing assistance

Use of Intermediaries/Facilitators Citation: Ann. Code §§ 62A-4a-602(1), (2)(a), (3); 76-7-203

No person, agency, corporation, association, or group children’s home may engage in child placing, or solicit money or other assistance for child placing, without a valid license. When a child-placing agency’s license is suspended or revoked, the care, control, or custody of any child who has been in the care, control, or custody of that agency shall be transferred to the division.

An attorney, physician, or other person may assist a parent in identifying or locating a person interested in adopting the parent’s child, or in identifying or locating a child to be adopted. However, no payment, charge, fee, reimbursement of expense, or exchange of value of any kind may be made for that assistance.

Nothing in this part precludes payment of fees for medical, legal, or other lawful services rendered in connection with the care of a mother, delivery and care of a child, or lawful adoption proceedings; and no provision of this part abrogates the right of procedures for independent adoption as provided by law.

A person commits a felony when, while having custody, care, control, or possession of a child, he or she sells or disposes of the child, or attempts or offers to sell or dispose of the child, for and in consideration of the payment of money or another thing of value; or when he or she offers, gives, or attempts to give money or another thing of value to a person with the intent to induce or encourage a person to sell or dispose of a child.

Who May Adopt, Be Adopted, or Place a Child for Adoption?

Who May Adopt Citation: Ann. Code §§ 78B-6-117; 78B-6-114; 78B-6-118

The following persons are eligible to adopt:

  • Adults who are legally married to each other
  • A stepparent
  • Any single adult

The following qualifications apply:

  • Persons who are cohabiting but not legally married may not adopt.
  • The adoptive parent must be at least 10 years older than the child being adopted.
  • In the case of a married couple, only one person needs to be 10 years older than the child being adopted.
  • A married person may not adopt without the consent of his or her spouse unless they are legally separated.

Who May Be Adopted Citation: Ann. Code §§ 78B-6-115; 78B-6-117

Any minor child or adult may be adopted.

Who May Place a Child for Adoption Citation: Ann. Code § 62A-4a-602

A child may be placed by the following:

  • A parent
  • A licensed child-placing agency

An attorney, physician, or other person may assist a parent in identifying or locating a person interested in adopting the parent’s child, or in identifying or locating a child to be adopted. However, no payment, charge, fee, reimbursement of expense, or exchange of value of any kind, or promise or agreement to make the same, may be made for that assistance.

Post-Adoption Laws

Access to Adoption Records

Who May Access Information Citation: Ann. Code §§ 78B-6-143; 78B-6-144

Nonidentifying information is available to:

Identifying information is accessible to:

  • The adult adopted person
  • Birth parents
  • A birth sibling who is age 18 or older

Access to Nonidentifying Information Citation: Ann. Code § 78B-6-143

A detailed health history and a genetic and social history of the adopted person that is on file with the Office of Vital Records and Statistics shall be available upon request to the persons listed above.

Mutual Access to Identifying Information Citation: Ann. Code § 78B-6-144

The adult adopted person and birth parents, upon presentation of positive identification, may request identifying information from the adoption registry maintained by the office. The office may release identifying information only when it receives requests from both the adopted person and the birth parent. After matching the request of an adult adopted person with that of at least one birth parent, the office shall notify both the adopted person and the birth parent that the requests have been matched and disclose the identifying information to those parties. However, if the adult adopted person has a sibling of the same birth parent who is under age 18, and who was raised in the same family setting as the adult adopted person, the office shall not disclose the requested identifying information to that adult adopted person or the birth parent.

Adult adopted persons and adult siblings, upon presentation of positive identification, may request identifying information from the registry, following the same procedure outlined above.

Information registered with the office is available only to a registered adult adopted person, and his or her registered birth parent or registered adult sibling. Information regarding a birth parent who has not registered a request with the office may not be disclosed.

Access to Original Birth Certificate Citation: Ann. Code § 78B-6-141

A petition for adoption, the written report described in § 78B-6-135, and any other documents filed in connection with the petition, are sealed. These documents may only be open to inspection as follows:

  • Upon order of the court expressly permitting inspection or copying, after good cause has been shown
  • Through registration with voluntary adoption registry, as provided under § 78B-6-144

Those records shall become public on the 100th anniversary of the date the final decree of adoption was entered.

If the adopted person is an adult at the time the final decree of adoption is entered, the documents described in this section are open to inspection and copying without a court order by the adopted person or a parent who adopted the adopted person, unless the final decree of adoption is entered by the juvenile court that has jurisdiction over a vulnerable adult, as described in § 78B-6-115(3)(b).

Where the Information Can Be Located

Adoption Reunion Registry, Utah Department of Health, Office of Vital Records and Statistics

Intestate Inheritance Rights for Adopted Persons

Birth Parents in Relation to Adopted Person Citation: Ann. Code § 75-2-114

For purposes of intestate succession by, through, or from a person, an adopted individual is not the child of the birth parents. However, adoption of a child by the spouse of either birth parent has no effect on:

  • The relationship between the child and that birth parent
  • The right of the child or a descendant of the child to inherit from or through the other birth parent

Adoptive Parents in Relation to Adopted Person Citation: Ann. Code § 75-2-114

For purposes of intestate succession by, through, or from a person, an adopted individual is the child of the adopting parent(s).

Adopted Persons Who Are Not Included in a Will Citation: Ann. Code §§ 75-2-302; 75-2-705

If a testator fails to provide in his or her will for any child who was adopted after the execution of the will, the omitted after-adopted child receives a share in the estate as follows:

  • If the testator had no child living when he or she executed the will, an omitted after-adopted child receives a share in the estate equal in value to what the child would have received had the testator died intestate, unless the will gave all or substantially all of the estate to the other parent of the omitted child and that other parent survives the testator and is entitled to inherit under the will.
  • If the testator had one or more children living when he or she executed the will, and the will gave property or an interest in property to one or more of the then-living children, an omitted after-adopted child is entitled to share in the estate as follows:
    • The portion of the estate in which the omitted after-adopted child is entitled to share is limited to bequests made to the testator’s then-living children under the will.
    • The omitted after-adopted child is entitled to receive the share of the estate, as limited above, that he or she would have received had the testator included all omitted after-born and after-adopted children with the children to whom bequests were made under the will and had given an equal share of the estate to each child.

The above does not apply if:

  • It appears from the will that the omission was intentional.
  • The testator provided for the omitted after-adopted child by transfer outside the will with the intent that the transfer be in lieu of a testamentary provision.

Adopted persons and their descendants, if appropriate to the class, are included in class gifts and other terms of relationship in accordance with the rules for intestate succession.

Postadoption Contact Agreements Between Birth and Adoptive Families

These issues are not addressed in the statutes reviewed.

Laws Related to Intercountry Adoption

Effect and Recognition of a Foreign Adoption Decree

Ann. Code § 78B-6-142

Except as otherwise provided by Federal law, an adoption order rendered to a resident of this State that is made by a foreign country shall be recognized by the courts of this State and enforced as if the order were rendered by a court in this State.

Readoption After an Intercountry Adoption

Ann. Code § 78B-6-142

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 requirements, the court shall order the State Registrar to:

  • File the order pursuant to § 78B-6-137
  • File a certificate of birth for the child pursuant to § 26-2-28

If a clerk of the court is unable to establish the fact, time, and place of birth from the documentation provided, a person holding a direct, tangible, and legitimate interest, as described in § 26-2-22(2)(a) or (b), may petition for a court order establishing the fact, time, and place of a birth, pursuant to § 26-2-15(1).

Application for a U.S. Birth Certificate

Ann. Code § 26-2-28

Upon presentation of a court order of adoption and an order establishing the fact, time, and place of birth under § 26-2-15, the department shall prepare a birth certificate for any person who:

  • Was adopted under the laws of this State
  • Was at the time of adoption considered an alien child for whom the court received documentary evidence of legal residence under § 78B-6-108

Source

Child Welfare Information Gateway. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families. [1]

References