Attorney Tonya L. Whipple and the team at Day Shell & Liljenquist, L.C. deliver adoption services for family law clients throughout Utah. Our office hours are 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, but we offer evening and weekend appointments when needed. Our office is located near the Murray Central Trax station.
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Guiding families through the adoption process
Day Shell & Liljenquist, L.C. takes care of the details of your adoption so you can focus on your new family member. Since 1944, our attorneys have helped families throughout Utah with adoptions of related and unrelated children. We guide you through the process from beginning to end. Day Shell & Liljenquist, L.C. is the law firm that works for you.
Overview of Utah adoption law
Under the Utah Adoption Act, married adults who have the permission of their spouses and single adults who are not cohabitating can adopt, provided the adoptive parent is at least 10 years older than the child being adopted.
The three main types of adoptions are open, closed, and step-parent:
- Open adoption - In an open adoption, the birth mother and sometimes the birth father may know the identities of the adoptive parents. In some cases, they may even meet and exchange information or develop an ongoing relationship.
- Closed adoption - In a closed adoption, the birth mother and adoptive parents' identities are not disclosed. They do not get an opportunity to meet each other or know each other's names.
- Step-parent adoptions - Step-parent adoptions are discussed immediately below.
A stepparent adoption occurs when a child's stepparent seeks to adopt the child with the consent of the child's custodial parent. Stepparent adoption rules differ from non-stepparent adoptions in several ways. For example, in a stepparent adoption, the child must have resided with the custodial parent and the stepparent for a minimum of one year before the adoption can become final. A non-stepparent adoption, in contrast, may take only six months to complete.
Another key difference is that the stepparent must obtain a consent or waiver from the child's noncustodial parent to proceed with an uncontested adoption. If the noncustodial parent refuses to sign a waiver or consent or cannot be located, the adoption is treated as a contested adoption. A court determines whether the adoption is in the best interests of the child.
Our professionals at Day Shell & Liljenquist, L.C. assist grandparents in asserting their rights. If a parent of your grandchild has died, is incarcerated or incapacitated, or is otherwise unfit or incompetent to care for your grandchild, you may attempt to become the guardian of, or even adopt, your grandchild. Guardianship allows you to legally care for your grandchild and provide love and support, while not ending the parental rights of the child's parents. A guardianship may also be the first step toward permanent adoption.