We handle all kinds of adoptions at our firm. Utah has a uniform adoption law and a state statute that governs all the adoptions in the state; you simply follow the guidelines in the statute. You have to have home studies and criminal background checks, child abuse database checks, and you have to have a child living with you for at least 6 months. Some of the requirements are waived if the adoption is by a stepparent or a relative.
ARE YOU ABLE TO HELP WITH INTERNATIONAL ADOPTIONS AS WELL?
Yes, we’ve handled several international adoptions. You basically have to comply with the laws of Utah as well as the laws in the state or country where the adoption is coming from. There is a specific statute in Utah and it’s passed in most other states that govern interstate or international adoptions. Generally it requires you comply with the law in your state as well as the law in the state or country from where you’re coming. So these cases are a little more complex in nature.
CAN YOU PROVIDE A GENERAL OVERVIEW OF THE ADOPTION PROCESS IN UTAH?
It depends on the kind of adoption but for a standard agency adoption, usually the agency would place a child with the adopted parents and you’d file your petition for adoption. You probably get some kind of order of temporary custody for the child so that you have the ability to seek medical services and other things for the child, and then the child lives with you during the time the adoption is pending. During this time, you can get all of these other requirements out of the way, such as the background checks, home studies, and so forth. If it’s an agency adoption, the agency usually takes care of whatever parental rights or consents that may be necessary. If it’s a private adoption, you have to get the consent from the biological parents or you may have to file a petition to terminate prior rights of the biological parents.
When the timeframe has gone by, you schedule a hearing. At the hearing you take the child and adopted parents and present all of your evidence before the judge and the judge will finalize the adoption. If you’re married and it’s a stepparent adoption, then you have to have the consent of the biological parent. For example, if the wife is having a stepfather / new husband, adopt her child, then she would need to consent as well as the person who’s doing the actual adoption, i.e. the stepfather/new husband.
HOW LONG DOES THE ADOPTION PROCESS TYPICALLY TAKE IN UTAH?
The state of Utah requires 6 months period of time that the child has to live with the adopted parents unless it’s a stepparent adoption. For a stepparent adoption, the law requires a year; that’s probably to verify the stability of the marriage. That’s the minimum time, but it could take more if there were other procedural or legal problems. But if you came in to get an adoption and you’ve already had the child with you for that period of time, then it just takes as long as it takes to get your background information done and for you to schedule the hearing.
WHAT ROLE DOES AN ATTORNEY PLAY IN ASSISTING WITH THE ADOPTION PROCESS?
As attorneys, we can do as much as you want us to do in the adoption process. Typically the adoptive parent’s petition needs to be prepared and served. We’ll schedule hearings, and we will give you all the information to get your background check and criminal background check. We can’t do that for you, as you have to go to do your criminal identification and give them your fingerprints and then they have to provide that. We can help you find someone to do the home study or you can do that on your own, but we’re happy to do it all. We schedule all the necessary hearings and go to court with you. If we have a trial to terminate the parental rights of the biological parents, we will gather the evidence and prepare for trial, with your assistance.
For more information on Adoption Cases In Utah, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (801) 396-2967 today.