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One of the challenges of adoption is putting together a team of professionals who can be trusted to know and navigate Utah’s adoption laws.  A qualified adoption attorney is key to your team because creating a safe, legal and permanent adoption requires court action.

Most domestic adoptions of a child under age 18 have two distinct phases.  First, the rights of the birth parents and/or legal parents must be addressed, and second, documentation required by law to allow a judge to “finalize” (or complete) an adoption must be gathered and/or prepared. Once these two phases are completed, a judge will sign an adoption order that legally creates a relationship between the child and the new parent or parents.

Often clients ask us about the specific steps we take within the two phases of an adoption. Although the timeline and tasks will vary depending on the state where the birth mother delivers and the specific adoption situation, below is a general outline of steps we take to make your adoption safe and legal:

  • A petition for adoption of the child is filed with the court

  • Attorney develops a plan to terminate the parental rights of all birth or legal parents of the child

  • Birth father signs a Consent to Adoption or Denial of Paternity according to state law where child will be born, or a check of the birth state’s paternity registry is made

  • Child is born

  • Birth mother signs a Consent to Adoption according to Utah law or state law where the child is born (usually between 24 hours or up to three days after birth)

  • Child is placed with adoptive parents and waiting period begins (six months in Utah)

  • Paperwork is filed with a court based on birth parent consents to adoption requesting the court order official temporary custody of the child be with adoptive parents pending finalization of the adoption

  • Post-placement supervisory visits are made to adoptive family, and subsequent reports are prepared

  • Attorney gathers or prepares all documents required by law for the finalization of the adoption

  • A hearing date is set for “finalization”

  • Adoptive parents appear in court with the child and their attorney for the official adoption day

  • Judge signs adoption order

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