Adopting a child is a wonderful journey that comes with some challenges. The process is made to ensure that the child is placed in a caring, loving, and stable home environment. In the state of Utah, certain rules and regulations must be followed to complete the adoption process.
Before an adoption can even be considered a child must be freed from the legal rights of their birth parent. This is a necessary step that must be taken for the child to be able to transfer to a new family. Once this is complete there still remain different factors, depending on the child’s family, age, and other considerations.
If you are in the state of Utah and wish to begin the adoption process, it is imperative that you contact the Law Offices of David Pedrazas.
Utah Adoption is not Simple
Like many states, Utah allows adopting a child, providing a stable home for kids who otherwise may end up in the social system as wards of the state in Utah or elsewhere. This perspective is consistent with the traditional social policy that a stable family and home is the best way to raise a child and make them ready to be productive member of a community as an adult.
However, legally, Utah requires a number of steps to be taken to effectively remove the child from his or her former status under a biological birth parent or the state and make them legally a child of the new parents. This process has to be followed correctly, or the Utah court system will not approve the adoption request, no matter how good an opportunity the family may offer the child’s future. Approval isn’t a simple matter of being willing to be a great parent potential.
Types of Adoptions
There are closed and open adoptions. A closed adoption means that no knowledge of the birth parents will be shared with you. There is no contact between the two parties, and the state is the only entity with identifying information about the child. Open adoption allows contact between all parties.
Independent adoption cases are possible in Utah, using the use of an intermediary, and is often seen when parents are adopting a baby.
Children living in foster care are not under the legal guardianship of their birth parents. These children are up for adoption and are typically living in foster homes. Independent adoption is when a family uses an intermediary to adopt a child. This process is legal in the state of Utah and is the recommended route for adopting an infant.
Adopting a relative is another option. This person can be an infant, adult, grandchild, or any other relative. Common reasons for this include divorce, death, and financial strain.
It is important to note that fostering a child differs from adoption in that a foster child tends to be a temporary stay until the child is adopted by you or another party. The Law Offices of David Pedrazas can help you stabilize the situation to get on the right track for the child involved.
Who is Eligible to Adopt a Child in Utah?
In Utah, eligibility for adopting a child is limited to legally married couples and single adults who do not have live-in adult partners. A prospective adoptive parent must be at least 10 years older than the child he or she requests to adopt.
The Four Steps of Adoption
To begin the process of adoption you must first make the decision to adopt. You will then want to contact an adoption agency, apply to adopt a child, complete a home study where your home life is assessed, be matched with a child, and finalize the process in the correct legal proceedings.
There will remain a lengthy set of mandatory court responsibilities that follow the adoption of a child that includes:
- Case review
- Termination of birth parent rights
- Setting goals for the child’s future
- Completing the adoption
Information You Should Give Your Adoption Lawyer
One of the most important things you will need to do to prepare for the adoption of a child in Utah is to start assembling the documents required by the court to complete the process. Multiple departments of the Utah government involved in adoption processing and oversight will review your documentation and communicate with each other as part of their vetting system. That can be a lengthy series of interactions.
Therefore, the best thing for applicants to do is to have all the documentation ready to submit as quickly as possible to launch the interdepartmental application process. The documents you will need to provide your Utah adoption lawyer include:
- Birth certificates
- Driver’s licenses
- Marriage certificate
- Your updated health records
- Your updated financial records
- Pet vaccination records
- Background checks
- Domestic abuse, child abuse clearances
- FBI fingerprint records
- Other security clearance records
- Multiple written personal reference letters recommending you for adoption
- Separate letters from you and your spouse discussing your personal history and why you want to adopt a child
- Other documentation
How Long is the Adoption Process?
In Utah, depending on the particular path to adoption that is necessary in your case, the timeline for completion can vary widely:
Directly from the birth mother: In Utah, the birth mother is legally allowed to sign adoption consent papers as early as 24 hours after the birth of the baby. The birth father can sign that paperwork at any time. Their signed consent to adopt is irrevocable. It typically takes about six months to finalize the adoption paperwork through the court.
Indirectly from Foster Care: Adopting a child who is in foster care is a different legal process and the timeline for completion varies widely, from months to years, depending on the child’s unique circumstances regarding the status of the birth parents.
How Your Adoption Attorney Can Help You
The Utah adoption process can be relatively complicated and often longer than expected. The adoption process is stressful. It can sometimes feel frustrating and seem unfair to people struggling to complete it. Your Utah adoption lawyer can provide the critical legal guidance, advice, and other support needed by people going through the challenging and emotional process of adoption. Your attorney makes sure that everything that can be done is done to complete the process and bring your child home as soon as possible.
A few important things your adoption lawyer does for you include:
- Complete all legal documentation correctly
- Makes sure that all DHS and court deadlines are met
- Interprets the laws specific to your particular adoption circumstances
- Enables you to avoid a prolonged adoption case due to poor legal handling
- Protects your rights and interests throughout the adoption process
- Protects you against discrimination regarding your race, religious beliefs, gender, etc.
Adoption is a complex family law matter. A mistake in one of the steps of the Utah adoption process can cause serious delays or even jeopardize your case. When you’re trying to bring your child home and start your lives together as a family, having an experienced adoptions lawyer is the best way to get through the process efficiently.
Working with the best adoption lawyer in Salt Lake City, UT, can offer you provides your best means of completing the process as soon as possible so you can start enjoying life with your family and have all the legal challenges permanently behind you.
Benefits of Having A Family Law Attorney
It is of the utmost importance to consider an attorney for your adoption needs because a family law attorney is qualified to give sound legal advice, has intimate knowledge of the legal process, and can make sure that all steps are taken the correct way. Having a strong attorney on your side will make your life easier. You can focus on the child rather than the overwhelming paperwork and legal jargon involved in this process.
Getting Started on an Important Road
The requirements for adopting a child can be challenging. People first need to really want to commit to the process and see it to fruition for a child. Next, the party needs to connect with an adoption agency, file the necessary application, go through the home review evaluation, be matched to a child, and then finalize through the court. Foster adoption works a bit differently, starting with a foster care assignment first, which is temporary. Then the foster case transitions to adoption. The last thing folks should be focused on is how much does it cost to adopt a child because cases vary due to the details and circumstances. If cost or how much to adopt a child is a critical issue, adoption may not be the right choice from the start.
Adoption is the steps required to become the legal guardians of a child. This is a process through which the adoptive parent will assume the legal responsibility for a child. Of note, the biological parents have to either give up their child or have their parental rights stripped. In other cases, the biological parents might pass away.
While the system of adoption in Utah varies from state to state, adoption processes usually go through a court of law. Adoptive parents have to show the court that they can provide a safe, loving environment in which they can raise a child. They also have to prove that the child does not currently have legal guardians or that the current guardians are unfit.
Any child who is under the age of 18 can be adopted as long as they do not have any current legal guardians or if the legal guardians are proven to be unfit to raise a child.
Anyone who is at least 21 years of age can adopt a child; however, any potential legal guardian must be able to prove to the court how and why that individual (or set of potential parents) should be allowed to adopt a child.
First, potential parents have to file the requisite paperwork with the courts. In most cases, there will also be a hearing to prove that the potential adoptive parents are a good fit for the child. Finally, the judge will deliver his or her decision and sign the legal order if the potential parents are approved.
If you are looking for adoption lawyers near me, then you should know that a family law attorney will specialize in the legal services that are required to guide someone through the adoption process. There is a lot of paperwork that goes along with the adoption process and a family law firm will help potential parents make the strongest case possible for the adoption of a child.
While the cost of adopting a minor in Utah will vary, this usually costs a few thousand dollars; however, this only includes court costs and potential legal fees. At the same time, it is also important for families to be familiar with some of the costs that will go along with raising a child. Some of the most common costs that accompany raising a child include education, healthcare, food, clothing, and extracurricular activities. Proving financial stability is one of the most important aspects of winning an adoption case.
In order to adopt a child in Utah, potential parents must be at least ten years older than the child being adopted. Adoptive parents need to show that they have a safe place to raise a child and that they can financially support a child. If adoptive parents are related to the child in some way, this will strengthen the adoption case.
An adoption process usually takes a few months; however, the process could range and vary with the court’s schedule and ancillary issues that might arise.
Absolutely, adoptive parents can apply for the legal rights of a newborn. In some cases, these proceedings start before the baby is born.
Yes, adoptive parents can adopt twins. Courts often like to keep siblings together.
If a child has been legally adopted, then parents cannot reclaim their legal rights.
Birth parents will not have any legal rights over a child who has been adopted.
Yes, single parents can adopt a child.
Choose the Law Office of David Pedrazas
Even smooth adoption cases come with many legal loopholes, which is why having an experienced attorney at your side is so critical. The Law Offices of David Pedrazas brings 20-plus years of family law and specific adoption legal experience to your case. David Pedrazas and his team will apply their legal expertise to your proceeding, avoiding mistakes, and confirm your application through the right legal channels. With a track record of over 1,000 cases and growing, there is no question that their representation is one of the best Utah choices to make in an adoption request.