Utah Step Parent Adoption laws allow a process to validate a family unit that has previously existed between the parent, step-parent, and child. This relationship is finalized by a Decree of Adoption. Utah Code provides six steps or criteria which must be met before a court will grant a Decree of Adoption.
The step-parent must have consent from his or her spouse to adopt the child. (See Utah Code Ann. §78B-6-114).
- The step-parent must be an adult (18 years of age or older), and must be able to provide for the health and welfare of the child. (See Utah Code Ann. §78B-6-115). Additionally, the step-parent must be at least 10 years older than the child adopted. (See Utah Code Ann. §78B-6-118).
- The child must have lived with the step-parent for at least one year prior to the Decree of Adoption being signed, unless the court finds that there is good cause to enter the order in earlier. (See Utah Code Ann. §78B-6-136.5).
- If the child is older than 12 years old, the child must consent to the adoption, unless the child does not have the capacity to consent. (See Utah Code Ann. §78B-6-120).
- Consent from an absent biological parent may be necessary and any issues of consent from the biological father must be resolved.
Typically, the main concern in adoptions is obtaining the requisite consent from the necessary parties. This can raise many issues especially when determining what is the requisite consent needed from an absent biological parent.
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