The Appellate Group

In the adoption of C.C.

In the adoption of C.C., 2021 UT 20 (Lee, A.C.J.)


While Mother was married to another man, she married Father in New Hampshire; Mother and Father obtained a marriage license, participated in a marriage ceremony, and received a marriage certificate. Mother became pregnant with Father’s Child, left Father, gave birth to Child in Utah, and relinquished her parental rights. Child’s Adoptive Parents petitioned to adopt Child, and Father intervened. On summary judgment, the district court concluded that Father was not Child’s presumed father under Utah Code § 78B-15-204 since Father and Mother’s marriage was void because Mother was married to another man at the time of the marriage. The Utah Supreme Court reversed, holding:

  • Although Father did not appeal after the district court issued the summary judgment order, his notice of appeal was not untimely; the summary judgment order was not a final order, and Father did not have an appeal as of right until after the court issued the final adoption order.
  • Under Utah Code § 78B-15-204, a man is a presumed father if before the birth of a child, the father and the mother “married each other in apparent compliance with the law.” Although Father and Mother’s marriage was void under the law because it was bigamous, their marriage was entered into with ostensible or seeming compliance with the law, because they applied for and received an official marriage license and marriage certificate.
  • Under Utah Code § 78B-15-204, a man is a presumed a father if a child is born during an invalid marriage or within 300 days of its termination. Here, Child was born during Father’s invalid marriage to Mother, so Father is Child’s presumed father.

Read the full court opinion