S.B. 246





Chief Sponsor: Curtis S. Bramble

House Sponsor: ____________

             7      LONG TITLE
             8      General Description:
             9          This bill amends provisions relating to consent and notice requirements before the
             10      relinquishment of a child for adoption.
             11      Highlighted Provisions:
             12          This bill:
             13          .    requires that notice of a potential adoption proceeding be provided to a birth father,
             14      unless an exception exists; and
             15          .    makes technical changes.
             16      Money Appropriated in this Bill:
             17          None
             18      Other Special Clauses:
             19          None
             20      Utah Code Sections Affected:
             21      AMENDS:
             22           78B-6-110 , as last amended by Laws of Utah 2013, Chapter 458
             23           78B-6-110.1 , as enacted by Laws of Utah 2012, Chapter 340
             25      Be it enacted by the Legislature of the state of Utah:
             26          Section 1. Section 78B-6-110 is amended to read:
             27           78B-6-110. Notice of adoption proceedings.

             28          (1) (a) An unmarried biological father, by virtue of the fact that he has engaged in a
             29      sexual relationship with a woman:
             30          (i) is considered to be on notice that a pregnancy and an adoption proceeding regarding
             31      the child may occur; and
             32          (ii) has a duty to protect his own rights and interests.
             33          (b) An unmarried biological father is entitled to actual notice of a birth or an adoption
             34      proceeding with regard to his child only as provided in this section and Section 78B-6-110.1 .
             35          (2) Notice of an adoption proceeding shall be served on each of the following persons:
             36          (a) any person or agency whose consent or relinquishment is required under Section
             37      78B-6-120 or 78B-6-121 , unless that right has been terminated by:
             38          (i) waiver;
             39          (ii) relinquishment;
             40          (iii) actual consent, as described in Subsection (12); or
             41          (iv) judicial action;
             42          (b) any person who has initiated a paternity proceeding and filed notice of that action
             43      with the state registrar of vital statistics within the Department of Health, in accordance with
             44      Subsection (3);
             45          (c) any legally appointed custodian or guardian of the adoptee;
             46          (d) the petitioner's spouse, if any, only if the petitioner's spouse has not joined in the
             47      petition;
             48          (e) the adoptee's spouse, if any;
             49          (f) any person who, prior to the time the mother executes her consent for adoption or
             50      relinquishes the child for adoption, is recorded on the birth certificate as the child's father, with
             51      the knowledge and consent of the mother;
             52          (g) a person who is:
             53          (i) openly living in the same household with the child at the time the consent is
             54      executed or relinquishment made; and
             55          (ii) holding himself out to be the child's father; and
             56          (h) any person who is married to the child's mother at the time she executes her consent
             57      to the adoption or relinquishes the child for adoption, unless the court finds that the mother's
             58      spouse is not the child's father under Section 78B-15-607 .

             59          (3) (a) In order to preserve any right to notice, an unmarried biological father shall,
             60      consistent with Subsection (3)(d):
             61          (i) initiate proceedings in a district court of Utah to establish paternity under Title 78B,
             62      Chapter 15, Utah Uniform Parentage Act; and
             63          (ii) file a notice of commencement of the proceedings described in Subsection (3)(a)(i)
             64      with the office of vital statistics within the Department of Health.
             65          (b) If the unmarried, biological father does not know the county in which the birth
             66      mother resides, he may initiate his action in any county, subject to a change in trial pursuant to
             67      Section 78B-3-307 .
             68          (c) The Department of Health shall provide forms for the purpose of filing the notice
             69      described in Subsection (3)(a)(ii), and make those forms available in the office of the county
             70      health department in each county.
             71          (d) When the state registrar of vital statistics receives a completed form, the registrar
             72      shall:
             73          (i) record the date and time the form was received; and
             74          (ii) immediately enter the information provided by the unmarried biological father in
             75      the confidential registry established by Subsection 78B-6-121 (3)(c).
             76          (e) The action and notice described in Subsection (3)(a):
             77          (i) may be filed before or after the child's birth; and
             78          (ii) shall be filed prior to the mother's:
             79          (A) execution of consent to adoption of the child; or
             80          (B) relinquishment of the child for adoption.
             81          (4) Notice provided in accordance with this section need not disclose the name of the
             82      mother of the child who is the subject of an adoption proceeding.
             83          (5) The notice required by this section:
             84          (a) may be served at any time after the petition for adoption is filed, but may not be
             85      served on a birth mother before she has given birth to the child who is the subject of the
             86      petition for adoption;
             87          (b) shall be served at least 30 days prior to the final dispositional hearing;
             88          (c) shall specifically state that the person served shall fulfill the requirements of
             89      Subsection (6)(a), within 30 days after the day on which the person receives service if the

             90      person intends to intervene in or contest the adoption;
             91          (d) shall state the consequences, described in Subsection (6)(b), for failure of a person
             92      to file a motion for relief within 30 days after the day on which the person is served with notice
             93      of an adoption proceeding;
             94          (e) is not required to include, nor be accompanied by, a summons or a copy of the
             95      petition for adoption; and
             96          (f) shall state where the person may obtain a copy of the petition for adoption.
             97          (6) (a) A person who has been served with notice of an adoption proceeding and who
             98      wishes to contest the adoption shall file a motion to intervene in the adoption proceeding:
             99          (i) within 30 days after the day on which the person was served with notice of the
             100      adoption proceeding;
             101          (ii) setting forth specific relief sought; and
             102          (iii) accompanied by a memorandum specifying the factual and legal grounds upon
             103      which the motion is based.
             104          (b) A person who fails to fully and strictly comply with all of the requirements
             105      described in Subsection (6)(a) within 30 days after the day on which the person was served
             106      with notice of the adoption proceeding:
             107          (i) waives any right to further notice in connection with the adoption;
             108          (ii) forfeits all rights in relation to the adoptee; and
             109          (iii) is barred from thereafter bringing or maintaining any action to assert any interest in
             110      the adoptee.
             111          (7) Service of notice under this section shall be made as follows:
             112          (a) (i) Subject to Subsection (5)(e), service on a person whose consent is necessary
             113      under Section 78B-6-120 or 78B-6-121 shall be in accordance with the provisions of the Utah
             114      Rules of Civil Procedure.
             115          (ii) If service of a person described in Subsection (7)(a)(i) is by publication, the court
             116      shall designate the content of the notice regarding the identity of the parties.
             117          (iii) The notice described in this Subsection (7)(a) may not include the name of a
             118      person seeking to adopt the adoptee.
             119          (b) (i) Except as provided in Subsection (7)(b)(ii) to any other person for whom notice
             120      is required under this section, service by certified mail, return receipt requested, is sufficient.

             121          (ii) If the service described in Subsection (7)(b)(i) cannot be completed after two
             122      attempts, the court may issue an order providing for service by publication, posting, or by any
             123      other manner of service.
             124          (c) Notice to a person who has initiated a paternity proceeding and filed notice of that
             125      action with the state registrar of vital statistics in the Department of Health in accordance with
             126      the requirements of Subsection (3), shall be served by certified mail, return receipt requested, at
             127      the last address filed with the registrar.
             128          (8) The notice required by this section may be waived in writing by the person entitled
             129      to receive notice.
             130          (9) Proof of service of notice on all persons for whom notice is required by this section
             131      shall be filed with the court before the final dispositional hearing on the adoption.
             132          (10) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, neither the notice of an adoption
             133      proceeding nor any process in that proceeding is required to contain the name of the person or
             134      persons seeking to adopt the adoptee.
             135          (11) Except as to those persons whose consent to an adoption is required under Section
             136      78B-6-120 or 78B-6-121 , the sole purpose of notice under this section is to enable the person
             137      served to:
             138          (a) intervene in the adoption; and
             139          (b) present evidence to the court relevant to the best interest of the child.
             140          (12) In order to be excused from the requirement to provide notice as described in
             141      Subsection (2)(a) on the grounds that the person has provided consent to the adoption
             142      proceeding under Subsection (2)(a)(iii), the consent may not be implied consent, as described
             143      in Section 78B-6-120.1 .
             144          Section 2. Section 78B-6-110.1 is amended to read:
             145           78B-6-110.1. Prebirth notice to presumed father of intent to place a child for
             146      adoption.
             147          (1) As used in this section, "birth father" means:
             148          (a) a potential biological father; or
             149          (b) an unmarried biological father.
             150          (2) [Before the birth of a child, the following individuals may] Except as provided in
             151      Subsection (9), before relinquishing a child for adoption, a birth mother or her designee shall

             152      notify a birth father of the child that the mother of the child is considering an adoptive
             153      placement for the child[:].
             154          [(a) the child's mother;]
             155          [(b) a licensed child placing agency;]
             156          [(c) an attorney representing a prospective adoptive parent of the child; or]
             157          [(d) an attorney representing the mother of the child.]
             158          (3) Providing a birth father with notice under Subsection (2) does not obligate the
             159      mother of the child to proceed with an adoptive placement of the child.
             160          (4) The notice described in Subsection (2) shall include the name, address, and
             161      telephone number of the person providing the notice, and shall include the following
             162      information:
             163          (a) the mother's intent to place the child for adoption;
             164          (b) that the mother has named the person receiving this notice as a potential birth father
             165      of her child;
             166          (c) the requirements to contest the adoption, including taking the following steps
             167      within 30 days after the day on which the notice is served:
             168          (i) initiating proceedings to establish or assert paternity in a district court of Utah
             169      within 30 days after the day on which notice is served, including filing an affidavit stating:
             170          (A) that the birth father is fully able and willing to have full custody of the child;
             171          (B) the birth father's plans to care for the child; and
             172          (C) that the birth father agrees to pay for child support and expenses incurred in
             173      connection with the pregnancy and birth; [and]
             174          (ii) filing a notice of commencement of paternity proceedings with the state registrar of
             175      vital statistics within the Utah Department of Health; and
             176          (iii) offering to pay, and paying, a fair and reasonable amount of the expenses incurred
             177      in connection with the mother's pregnancy and birth, in accordance with his financial ability,
             178      unless the birth mother refuses to accept the birth father's offer to pay;
             179          (d) the consequences for failure to comply with Subsection (4)(c), including [that]:
             180          (i) the birth father's ability to assert the right, if any, to consent or refuse to consent to
             181      the adoption is irrevocably lost;
             182          (ii) the birth father will lose the ability to assert the right to contest any future adoption

             183      of the child; and
             184          (iii) the birth father will lose the right, if any, to notice of any adoption proceedings
             185      related to the child;
             186          (e) that the birth father may consent to the adoption, if any, within 30 days after the day
             187      on which the notice is received, and that his consent is irrevocable; [and]
             188          (f) that no communication between the mother of the child and the birth father changes
             189      the rights and responsibilities of the birth father described in the notice[.]; and
             190          (g) that the birth father may wish to consult an attorney regarding his potential rights
             191      and obligations.
             192          (5) The notice described in Subsection (2) may not include the name of the birth
             193      mother without her prior, written consent.
             194          (6) If a birth father contacts the person who provides him the notice described in
             195      Subsection (2), offers to pay, or provides payment for expenses incurred in connection with the
             196      mother's pregnancy and birth described in Subsection (4)(c)(iii), and the person is not the birth
             197      mother, the person:
             198          (a) shall inform the birth mother of the birth father's offer;
             199          (b) shall give any money the birth father gives to the individual to the birth mother; and
             200          (c) may not refuse the birth father's payment on the birth mother's behalf unless the
             201      birth mother instructs the person, in writing, to refuse the payment.
             202          [(5)] (7) If the recipient of the notice described in Subsection (2) does not fully and
             203      strictly comply with the requirements of Subsection (4)(c) within 30 days after the day on
             204      which he receives the notice, he will lose:
             205          (a) the ability to assert the right to consent or refuse to consent to an adoption of the
             206      child described in the notice;
             207          (b) the ability to assert the right to contest any future adoption of the child described in
             208      the notice; and
             209          (c) the right to notice of any adoption proceedings relating to the child described in the
             210      notice.
             211          [(6)] (8) If an individual described in Subsection (2) chooses to notify a birth father
             212      under this section, the notice shall be served on a birth father in a manner consistent with the
             213      Utah Rules of Civil Procedure or by certified mail.

             214          (9) The birth mother is excused from the requirements of this section if:
             215          (a) notice of, or consent to, an adoption proceeding would not be required under
             216      Section 78B-6-111 ; or
             217          (b) the birth mother shows, by a preponderance of the evidence in a judicial
             218      proceeding, that the birth father has engaged in physically abusive behavior toward the birth
             219      mother in the past, and she fears he will be abusive in the future.

Legislative Review Note
    as of 2-21-14 2:00 PM

Office of Legislative Research and General Counsel

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