Unregulated Custody Transfers of Adopted Children - Utah

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Definitions

Citation: Ann. Code § 80-1-102

The term 'neglect' includes abandonment of a child through an unregulated custody transfer.

Prohibited or Required Actions Regarding Custody

Citation: Ann. Code §§ 78B-24-203; 78B-24-205

A parent or guardian of a child or an individual with whom a child has been placed for adoption may not transfer custody of the child to another person with the intent, at the time of the transfer, to abandon the rights and responsibilities concerning the child.

A parent, guardian, or an individual with whom a child has been placed for adoption may transfer custody of the child to another person with the intent, at the time of the transfer, to abandon the rights and responsibilities concerning the child only through one of the following:

  • Adoption or guardianship
  • Judicial award of custody
  • Placement by or through a child-placing agency
  • Other judicial or Tribal action
  • Safe relinquishment under title 62a, chapter 4a, part 8, Safe Relinquishment of a Newborn Child

A person may not receive custody of a child, or act as an intermediary in a transfer of custody of a child, if the person knows or reasonably should know the transfer violates this section.

A person may not solicit or advertise to do any of the following:

  • Find a person to which to make a transfer of custody in violation of § 78B-24-203(1)
  • Identify a child for a transfer of custody in violation of § 78B-24-203(3)
  • Act as an intermediary in a transfer of custody in violation of § 78B-24-203(3)

Exceptions

Citation: Ann. Code §§ 78B-24-202; 78B-24-203

This part does not apply to a transfer of custody of a child by a parent or guardian of the child to any of the following:

  • A parent of the child
  • A stepparent of the child
  • An adult who is related to the child by blood, marriage, or adoption
  • An adult who, at the time of the transfer, had a close relationship with the child or the child's parent or guardian for a substantial period and whom the parent or guardian reasonably believed, at the time of the transfer, to be a fit custodian of the child
  • An Indian custodian of the child, as defined in the Federal Indian Child Welfare Act
  • A member of the child's customary family unit recognized by the child's indigenous group

Section 78B-24-203(3) does not apply if the person receiving custody of the child, as soon as practicable after the transfer, notifies the Division of Child and Family Services of the transfer or takes appropriate action to establish custody.

Consequences

Citation: Ann. Code §§ 78B-24-203; 78B-24-205; 76-7-203(2)

A violation of § 78B-24- 203 or 78B-24-205 is a class B misdemeanor.

A person is guilty of a third-degree felony if they do either of the following:

  • While having custody, care, control, or possession of a child, they sell or dispose of the child, or attempt or offer to sell or dispose of the child, for and in consideration of the payment of money or another thing of value.
  • They offer, give, or attempt to give money or another thing of value to a person, with the intent to induce or encourage a person to violate this section.