Handling the Legal Legwork of an Adoption so You Can Focus on Your Growing Family

We assist families with the complex legal paperwork and procedures of adoption so you can feel confident that the process is handled correctly so that your child's well-being is secure.

While adopting a child brings happiness to families, adoption can also result in substantial heartache when something goes wrong. Sometimes the laws regulating adoption can be complex and difficult to negotiate. Our firm has experience working with all kinds of adoptions, and we can help guide you through the process. We work hard to make the procedure as smooth and speedy as possible so you can start your life with your new family member.

Petition for Adoption

All adoptions that take place in Utah begin with filing a petition with the clerk of the proper district court. The specifics of the petition will depend on whether you are adopting a stepchild, a foster child, a child from an Department of Child and Family Services, a child from a local adoption agency, or another option. Taking the time to make sure the petition is handled properly is essential in avoiding any delays or other issues that could cause problems with your adoption.


If adopting a child where the biological parents are living, it will be necessary to gain consent from them for the relinquishment of their parental rights. This is a very complex step that needs to be handled properly to ensure the biological parents know exactly what they are doing, and what implications that means for their child. If a parent will not consent to relinquish their rights, court involvement to terminate their rights will be necessary. 

Termination of Parental Rights

Termination of parental rights can either take place voluntarily, or by court order. When a biological parent is planning on giving up their child for adoption, they will voluntarily terminate their parental rights in most cases (relinquishment). In some situations, it is possible for the adopting parents and biological parents to establish some type of agreement where some contact with the child is maintained.

In cases where a child was abused or neglected, the state may step in and terminate the parental rights of the mom, dad, or both. This is typically only relevant when adopting a foster child, or if you are adopting the child of a relative.


Establishing guardianship can, in some cases, take place before adoption is possible. Guardianship provides non-biological parents with certain rights and responsibilities for the child or children involved, but it is not the same as adoption. If a biological parent gets into a serious accident and can't take care of their children, for example, you may be able to file for guardianship until the biological parent recovers. Having this handled properly can be difficult, especially when it occurs due to an unexpected event. We can help you through this process and ensure all children involved are properly taken care of.  The Court can also use permanent guardianship when termination of parental rights is not in the best interest of the child but the biological parent cannot provide for the child. 

Contact Topham Family Law

If you need legal help in any of the above practice areas, we are here for you. Please contact us to set up a consultation to have your questions answered by an experienced attorney serving people throughout Tooele, Salt Lake, Weber, Davis and Utah County.

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Topham Family Law is committed to answering your questions about Mediation, Family Centered Divorce, Co-parenting Services and Legal Services law issues in Grantsville, UT and throughout Tooele County, Salt Lake County, Weber County, Davis County and Utah County.

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