Is notice to a biological parent required in minor stepparent adoptions?

Stephen Howard — Stone River Law

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Is notice to a biological parent required in minor stepparent adoptions?

The answer to this question will depend on the status of the biological parent’s rights. In a stepparent adoption, Utah law requires that notice be given to a biological parent whose parental rights remain intact. However, if parental rights have been previously terminated or were never established, no notice is required.

If a child is born to an unmarried mother, the father’s parental rights are not secured unless either the father is named on the birth certificate, the father takes affirmative steps to establish paternity and parental rights, or the government (usually through Utah ORS) has established paternity through the courts. If none of these events have occurred, then the biological father is not legally entitled to notice.

Consultation with an adoption attorney is strongly encouraged before proceeding with a petition to adopt. Mistakes relating to service and notice requirements could potentially lead to a long legal battle over the validity of the adoption.