Friday, February 20, 2009

Adoption: To Challenge an Adoption, an Out-of-State Father Must Comply With State Requirements Where He and the Mother Resided

H.U.F. and G.F. v. W.P.W., 2009 UT App. 10, (Utah Supreme Court, February 10, 2009).

W.P.W. the putative father of Baby Girl Stine challenged the trial Court’s findings that he failed to comply with the Utah requirements to challenge the adoption of B.G.S. W.P.W. appealed on added that the trial court violated his equal protection and due process rights. This matter was certified to the Supreme Court bypassing review by the Utah Court of Appeals.

The Supreme Court affirmed the trial court. First, the Court found that W.P.W. failed to preserve his Constitutional claims (due process and equal protection) by failing to argue those claims to the trial court. Second, Father argued that he established his right to contest the adoption because he had no notice of the mother’s move to Utah and because he complied with the Arizona law; where he and mother resided prior to the birth of B.G.S. However, the Supreme Court found that in order to challenge the adoption, Arizona law required W.P.W. to file a Paternity action within 30 days of receiving notice of a possible adoption. W.P.W. failed to file for Paternity within the 30 days; therefore he did not comply with the most stringent requirements. Because of his failure, he could not contest the adoption. Additionally, he failed to comply with the Utah law because he had reason to believe that the mother was residing in Utah.

Full Decision available at

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