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In re Adoption of B.B., 2020 UT 52 (July 23, 2020)

Jul 23, 2020

In this challenge to an adoption proceeding, the Utah Supreme Court affirmed the district court’s denial of the child’s biological father’s motion to revoke his relinquishment of the child.  The Court rejected the father’s argument that Utah Code Section 78B-6-112(a)(5), which requires a showing that the relinquishment was “truly voluntary” requires a separate hearing or procedure to establish that consent was “truly voluntary.”  The Court likewise rejected the father’s argument that the failure to notify him of his right to seek counseling invalidates his relinquishment on due process grounds.  Finally, the Court affirmed that the father lacked standing to assert an equal protection challenge to Section 78B-6-124(4), which requires birth mother’s relinquishment be signed in front of a judge or court-appointed representative who must certify in writing that the birth mother “read and understands” the relinquishment and “signed it freely and voluntarily,” whereas a biological father’s relinquishment need only be signed in front of a notary—without any written, third-party certification of voluntariness.  The biological father had not shown that he would not have signed the relinquishment if the same requirements for birth mothers applied.