In re Adoption of B.B.
In re Adoption of B.B., 2020 UT 52 (Lee, A.C.J.)
Birth father’s biological daughter was born to his girlfriend, who placed her in the care of adoptive parents. Birth father initially objected to the adoption, but then signed a relinquishment of parental rights, expressing his peace over the adoption via text. He later claimed he signed the relinquishment under duress. The district court denied his motion to revoke his relinquishment. He appealed. The Utah Supreme Court affirmed, holding:
- The district court did not err when it denied birth father’s motion to revoke his relinquishment of parental rights as involuntary. Birth father failed to allege sufficient facts to support his claim. A bare assertion that consent was influenced by adoptive parents is not enough. As well, the texts the court considered supported a finding that his relinquishment was knowingly and voluntarily given. A separate evidentiary hearing was not required.
- The district court did not err when it concluded birth father’s relinquishment was not rendered invalid because he was not notified of his right to independent counseling prior to making his decision. Utah Code 78B-6-119 provides that failure to give notice of the right to counseling does not invalidate relinquishment of parental rights. And the due process clause does not invalidate a relinquishment that a biological parent signs without being notified of his statutory right to counseling in connection with the decision.
- Birth father’s equal protection claim is dismissed for lack of standing. He has not shown how the judgment he seeks would redress his injury.
2020, Civil, Q3, Supreme Court