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Finding Legal Help

You are not required to hire an attorney, but legal matters can be complicated. Consider talking to an attorney to go over your options. See the Finding Legal Help page for information about free and low cost ways to get legal help. 

Como encontrar ayuda legal

Usted no está obligado a contratar un abogado, pero los asuntos legales pueden ser complicados. Considere la posibilidad de hablar con un abogado para hablar de sus opciones. Para información sobre cómo obtener ayuda legal vea nuestra página Como encontrar ayuda legal.

Adult Adoption

Attention! This webpage includes information and forms for the adoption of an adult.

The primary focus of this page is on procedures when everyone involved is in agreement and cooperating. It does not include information or forms for when people are not in agreement.

This page does not include information or forms for other types of adoptions, such as adoptions of minor children through an agency, or adoptions by other family members. See the court's Adopting a Minor Stepchild web page for information and forms about that process.

Talk to an attorney

The information on this page is not a substitute for legal advice. You are not required to hire an attorney, but legal matters can be complicated. Consider talking to an attorney to go over your options.

See our Finding Legal Help page for information about ways to get legal help. One way to talk to an attorney is to visit a free legal clinic. Clinics provide general legal information and give brief legal advice. You might also hire an attorney for just part of your case or to do one particular thing, rather than represent you for the whole case. Legal help is also available at discounted rates for people with modest incomes.


Adopting an adult

The person who wants to adopt an adult is called the petitioner. The adult being adopted is called the adoptee.

Any adult may adopt another adult, subject to certain requirements:

  • The petitioner must be at least 10 years older than the adoptee.
  • If there are joint married petitioners, at least one of them must be 10 years older than the adoptee.
  • The adoptee must either be a U.S. citizen or be in the United States legally.
  • The petitioner is required to notify certain people about the adoption, and get the consent of certain people.

If two people are married and they both want to adopt the adult, they should use the joint petition form.


Where to file

The adoption petition may be filed in the district court in the district in which the petitioner lives, or if the petitioner does not live in Utah, in the district court in Utah where:

  • the adoptee was born, or
  • the adoptee lives, or
  • the parent of the adoptee lives

Utah Code Section 78B-6-105.


Notice and consent

Each of these people must receive notice of the adoption case, and are required to consent to adoption of the adult:

  • the adoptee
  • the petitioner
  • the spouse of petitioner (if there is one)
  • the guardian or custodian of the adoptee (if there is one)

Written notice must be provided at least 30 days before the day the adoption is finalized. The people listed above may waive their right to notice in writing.

If the adoptee is married, the spouse of the adoptee must also receive notice or sign a waiver of notice.

Utah Code Section 78B-6-116.

If one or more of these people will not consent to the adoption, seek the advice of an attorney. The information and forms on this web page are not designed for a contested adoption case.


Hearing

Once the papers are filed, the court will schedule a hearing. The petitioner(s) and adoptee must attend the hearing. The hearing is not a trial but an opportunity for the judge to confirm that all is in order under the law and to issue the final adoption order.

At the hearing, the petitioner(s) and the adoptee will sign documents in front of the judge agreeing to the adoption.


Notice to legal parent(s)

In most cases, the legal parent(s) do not have to be notified about the adoption case. They also do not have to consent to the adoption.

However, the adoptee must give notice of the adoption to their former legal parent(s) once the adoption is final, unless the judge waives the notice requirement for good cause.

Utah Code Section 78B-6-116.


Effect of adoption

Once the adoption is final, the adoptee is the legal child of the petitioner(s). The former parent's rights and responsibilities regarding the adoptee are dissolved. The adoptee will be regarded and treated in all respects as the child of the adoptive parent(s).

If you have questions about the effect of adoption on immigration, inheritance and other matters, seek the advice of an attorney.


Name change and birth certificate

The adoptee may take the family name of their adoptive parent(s) as part of the adoption case.

Once the adoption is final, the court will send a Report of Adoption to the Utah Office of vital Records and Statistics (OVRS). OVRS will send a letter to the adoptive parents with instructions about how to obtain a new birth certificate for the adoptee. If the adoptee's birth certificate is from a state other than Utah, OVRS will forward the Report of Adoption to the listed state of adoptee's birth.

If the adoptee wants to change more than just their last name to take the family name, they must follow the procedure for an adult name change. See the Name Change - Adult web page for information and forms.

For example, Jane Holt, an adult, is adopted by John and Mary McDonald. She can change her last name to McDonald as part of the adoption case. She cannot change her first name to Lucy as part of that adoption case. That would have to be done in a separate name change case in district court.


Adoption records

While the case is pending and for 6 months after the decree is signed, the case is classified as private and the parties can see and copy the records, but the public cannot.

Six months after the decree of adoption, the records are sealed; no one can access the records without a court order.

After the hearing, the parties should get at least one court-certified copy of the adoption order. The certified copy would be shown to any third parties.

For more information, see Utah Code Section 78B-6-141 and our webpage on Non-public Court Records.

Certain people may request a copy of an adoption decree by making a written request and presenting the proper identification to the court. See the webpage on Opening a Court Adoption Record for more information.


Fee Waiver

There is a fee to file a petition for adoption. The petitioner can ask the court to waive the filing fee. See our webpages on Fees and Fee Waivers for more information and forms.


Forms

Required forms

  • Cover Sheet for Civil Actions - PDF | Word
  • Verified Petition:
    • Verified Petition for Adoption of an Adult (one petitioner) - PDF | Word
      - or-
    • Verified Joint Petition for Adoption of an Adult (married co-petitioners) - PDF | Word
  • Request for Hearing on Petition to Adopt an Adult - PDF | Word
  • Agreement of Adoption of Adult - PDF | Word
    (complete the form, but do not sign it until the hearing with the judge)
  • Consent to Adoption by Adult Adoptee - PDF | Word
    (complete the form, but do not sign it until the hearing with the judge)
  • Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law - PDF | Word
  • Adoption Decree - PDF | Word
  • Report of Adoption (Office of Vital Records and Statistics)
  • Notice of Adoption - PDF | Word
    (adoptee must serve on the former legal parent(s))

Optional Forms

  • Waiver of Notice of Adoption by Adult Adoptee's Spouse - PDF | Word
    (required if the adult seeking to be adopted is married)
  • Waiver by Petitioner's Spouse - PDF | Word
    (required if the petitioner is married)
  • Notice of Hearing on Petition to Adopt an Adult - PDF | Word
    (required to be served on any interested party who has not waived notice)

Related Information

The Utah State Courts mission is to provide the people an open, fair, efficient, and independent system for the advancement of justice under the law.


Page Last Modified: 10/6/2017
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