Relinquishment by Minor Parents in Utah Adoptions

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Is a minor (under 18) parent legally capable of relinquishing rights or consenting to adoption of his or her child? Although Utah law places restrictions on a minor’s ability to enter into or to be bound by agreements or contracts, such limitations typically will not apply to a minor parent’s legal capacity to relinquish parental…

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Stephen Howard — Stone River Law

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Is a minor (under 18) parent legally capable of relinquishing rights or consenting to adoption of his or her child?

Although Utah law places restrictions on a minor’s ability to enter into or to be bound by agreements or contracts, such limitations typically will not apply to a minor parent’s legal capacity to relinquish parental rights or consent to an adoption.

Under Utah Code 78B-6-123, a minor parent (a parent under the age of 18) has legal capacity to consent to the adoption of that minor parent’s child and also to relinquish control or custody of a child to allow for such an adoption. When properly executed, the minor parent’s consent or relinquishment has the same force and effect that the consent or relinquishment would have if made by an adult parent.

The Utah Adoption Act does specify different requirements for taking the consent or relinquishment of a mother as compared with the requirements for taking the consent or relinquishment of a father. But the validity of a consent or relinquishment is analyzed in the same manner, regardless of whether the parent is an adult or a teenager under the age of 18.

In some legal contexts, a minor (under the age of 18) can rescind or repudiate an agreement or contract made before reaching the age of majority. Consent or relinquishment for purposes of adoption does not allow such recision or repudiation. If a minor parent has executed a valid consent or relinquishment, such acts cannot be revoked upon reaching the age of majority.

Finding an Adoption Attorney in Utah

Whether you are a prospective adoptive parent working toward adoption or a biological parent considering adoption as an option, having good legal advice is important to avoiding costly and emotionally draining mistakes. Contact us today to see how we can help you.