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Utah Family Law Attorney Stephen Howard

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Utah Adoption Law

Citizenship and Out-of-State Birth Issues

Utah adoption law provides special rules and requirements that apply to adoptions if the child to be adopted is not a citizen of the United States, was born outside of the State of Utah, or has Native american Ancestry. This page provides general information relating to questions involving these types of adoptions.

If you are involved in or considering beginning the adoption process, having good legal advice and assistance can be critical to successfully completing the adoption. Contact us today to see how we can help.

Can my husband adopt my son if he is not a citizen of the U.S.?

Attorney for Step-Parent AdoptionsThe answer to this question depends on whether it is the husband or the son who is not a citizen. The Utah Adoption Act does not place restrictions on a non-citizen's ability to adopt a child. it does, however, have certain requirements that must be met if the child to be adopted is not a United States Citizen.

When petitioning to adopt a child who is not a citizen of the United States (referred to under the Utah Adoption Act as an "alien" child), the petitioners (adoptive parents) must be able to provide documentation from the United States immigration officials verifying that the child was lawfully admitted to the United States as a permanent resident, admitted temporarily under a lawful nonimmigrant category, or otherwise paroled into the United States pursuant to 8 U.S.C. Section 1182(d)(5).

What if the child to be adopted was born in the United States to non-citizen parents?

The Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution provides that a person born in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction of the United States is considered to be a citizen. The language of the Amendment is generally interpreted to mean that a person born inside the borders of the United States becomes a citizen, regardless of citizenship or immigration status of his or her parents.

Are there any special rules that apply to an adoption when the child was born in another US state?

Utah adoption law requires that an adoption petition state whether the child was born in Utah or in another state. If the child to be adopted was born in another state, then the petitioners must comply with the requirements of the Interstate Compact on Placement of Children.

Are there special rules applying to adoptions involving a Native American child?

Utah Family Law AttorneysFederal law regarding adoption of Native American children uses the term "Indian child" as a specific legal term of art. The term is defined in the federal code, 25 USC 1903(4), as meaning "any unmarried person who is under the age eighteen and is either (a) a member in an Indian tribe or (b) is eligible for membership in an indian tribe and is the biological child of a member of an Indian tribe." The Utah Adoption Act requires that any adoption proceeding that involves an "Indian child" as defined under federal law must copmly with the terms of the Indian Child Welfare Act, Title 25, Chapter 21 of the United States Code.

Do the rules discussed above apply to step-parent adoptions in Utah?

The rules discussed above regarding non-citizen children, Native American children, and children born outside the State of Utah apply generally to all adoption proceedings. An exception, however, is made when the step-parent adoption involves a child born in another US state. In step-parent adoptions, rules governing jurisdiction and venue for Utah must be followed. But compliance with the Interstate Compact on Placement of Children is not required.

Contact a Utah Attorney

A successful adoption proceeding is much more likely when good legal counsel is sought up front. If you are considering beginning the adoption process, or if you have already started and need legal assistance, contact us right away. We are pleased to assist clients in the adoption process throughout Utah.


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Serving Salt Lake, Davis, Weber, Utah, Cache, Tooele, Summit, Box Elder, Morgan, and Wasatch Counties - and all of Utah.


Stephen W. Howard is Utah attorney, practicing as part of the Canyons Law Group, LLC.
With offices in Salt Lake and Davis Counties, we are pleased to provide legal services to clients throughout Utah.
Call 801-449-1409 to arrange for a confidential initial consultation.

Stephen W. Howard, PC

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