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Opening a Court Adoption Record


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The information on this page is not a substitute for legal advice. You are not required to hire an attorney, but legal matters can be complicated. Consider talking to an attorney to go over your options.

See our Finding Legal Help page for information about ways to get legal help. One way to talk to an attorney is to visit a free legal clinic. Clinics provide general legal information and give brief legal advice. You might also hire an attorney for just part of your case or to do one particular thing, rather than represent you for the whole case. Legal help is also available at discounted rates for people with modest incomes. 


Requesting a copy of an adoption decree

Utah Rule of Civil Procedure 107(a) says that certain people may request a copy of an adoption decree by making a written request and presenting the proper identification to the court. The people who are able to make this request are:

  • the adoptive parent, or
  • an adoptee who was 18 or older at the time of the adoption.

Only these people can make the request. They can request only the adoption decree, using the request form below.

If you are not the adoptive parent or if you were under 18 at the time of the adoption, or if you want to ask for copies of documents other than the adoption decree, you must file a Petition to Open Court's Adoption Records.


Petition to open a court adoption record

Only a party to the adoption proceeding may file a petition to open a court adoption record. A judge must approve the petition before access will be granted. The court may allow access to the entire file or only to certain information. The decision will depend on the type of information that is requested and the privacy interests that must be protected. 

The petitioner must show good cause for access to the records, and must show that the reasons for allowing access outweigh the reasons for keeping the records sealed. The petitioner must also specifically identify the information they are seeking.

If you are asking for health, genetic, or social information, you must show why the health history, genetic history, or social history that you can request from the Office of Vital Records and Statistics (health.utah.gov) is not sufficient.

If you are asking for identifying information, you must show why the information from the mutual-consent voluntary adoption registry of the Office of Vital Records and Statistics (health.utah.gov) is not sufficient.

The judge may order you to serve the petition on any person having an interest in the adoption file. This may include the placement agency, the attorney in the case, the birth parents or the adoptee. If the court orders you to serve the petition, you must follow Utah Rule of Civil Procedure 4. See our web page on serving papers for more information.

The judge may hold a hearing on the petition, or could make a decision based solely on the petition and other documents filed with the court by parties who have been served with the petition. 

If the judge approves the petition, court staff will help you access the documents that may be inspected. You will only be able to access those records that the judge identifies in the court order. After you have accessed the records, the court will reseal the file. 


Objecting to a petition open a court adoption record

If you were served with a petition to open a court adoption record and wish to object, you may file an objection using the form below. The court may schedule a hearing to consider your objection.  The court will send you notice of the date and time for the hearing.  The court may also make a decision without a hearing, based on the petition and your objection.


Forms

Some forms may not apply in all cases. Use the Checklist to help you understand and complete the forms. The Checklist is not filed with the court or served on the other party. You must complete a form before you file it.

Forms to ask the court to provide a certified copy of the adoption decree (To be used by an adoptive parent or a person who was adopted)

Forms to petition the court to open an adoption record

Forms to oppose a petition to the court to open an adoption record


Related Information

The Utah State Courts mission is to provide the people an open, fair, efficient, and independent system for the advancement of justice under the law.


Page Last Modified: 5/18/2015
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