Utah is a very family-oriented state and has done their best to make adoption accessible to those that are interested while also ensuring that the best interests of the child are taken into consideration. Before you start the process you should learn the basics of how to adopt a child in Utah. Utah enforces both state and federal adoption laws. Each adoption case is as unique as the children and adoptive parents involved; however, knowing the laws and policies ahead of time will make the process easier to understand and potentially quicker.
Not all adults in Utah are eligible to adopt based on a number of stipulations. If the person adopting is married, they must have the consent of their spouse. Cohabitating couples who are having sexual relations but are not married are not eligible to adopt. Same-sex couples are permitted to adopt if they are married.
Any child or adult can be adopted if the individual is eligible and all State and Federal adoption laws are adhered to. The adult seeking to adopt must be at least ten years older than the one being adopted. For married couples, at least one spouse must be at least ten years older than the child or adult being adopted. Any person over the age of twelve must consent to the adoption as long as they have the mental capacity to do so.
In the state of Utah, the adopted person must live with the adoptive parent(s) for at least six months before the adoption will be finalized. In situations where a stepparent is adopting their spouse’s children, the home residency requirement is raised to at least twelve months.
The Utah State Department of Child and Family Services handles the adoptions of children who are unable to return to their families. This is a great option for families who struggle with having children naturally or are worried about the financial burden of adoption. There are programs available that will waive or reimburse all adoption fees for those adopting children from the Department of Child and Family Services. Petitions for adoption can be filed at any local District Court or Juvenile Court if the child’s birth parents have had their parental rights terminated. In Utah, an adoption cannot be contested after the entry of the final adoption decree. This law is still in effect even if there is fraudulent misrepresentation connected to the adoption. That being said, civil and criminal charges can be filed in cases of adoption fraud.
If you are considering adoption in Utah, it is a good idea to contact a local and experienced adoption lawyer. Laws change over time and there are many other factors to consider when adopting. A good quality lawyer will be able to adequately explain your options to you as well as help you through the process quickly and lawfully.