Utah denies the right of adult adoptees to request and obtain their own original birth certificates. The OBC can only be provided by court order or upon consent of listed birthparents in limited circumstances.
For adoptions finalized on or after January 1, 2016, a birth parent may consent in writing to release of identifying information to an adult adoptee. Utah defines an adult adoptee as “an adoptee who is 18 years of age or older and was adopted as a minor.”
New Law EnactedUtah enacted a new law that removes the date-based restriction on the release of records. While the new law applies to all adoptions—and not only to those finalized after 2015—parental consent is still required for the release of adoption documents, including the original birth certificate. If birthparents are deceased, the records are released, though if a birthparent is alive and does not consente to release, that parent’s name will be redacted from the records. The new law is effective November 21, 2021. It can be reviewed here.
Utah maintains a Mutual-Consent Voluntary Adoption Registry, which adoptees and birth parents may use to facilitate disclosure of identifying information. Identifying information does not include the original birth certificate.
Relevant Utah Law: Original Birth Certificates
26-2-10. Supplementary certificate of birth.
(1) Any person born in this state who is legitimized by the subsequent marriage of the person’s natural parents, or whose parentage has been determined by any U.S. state court or Canadian provincial court having jurisdiction, or who has been legally adopted under the law of this or any other state or any province of Canada, may request the state registrar to register a supplementary birth certificate on the basis of that status.
(2) The application for registration of a supplementary birth certificate may be made by the person requesting registration, if the person is of legal age, by a legal representative, or by any agency authorized to receive children for placement or adoption under the laws of this or any other state.
(3) (a) The state registrar shall require that an applicant submit identification and proof according to department rules.
(b) In the case of an adopted person, that proof may be established by order of the court in which the adoption proceedings were held.
(4)(a) After the supplementary birth certificate is registered, any information disclosed from the record shall be from the supplementary birth certificate.
(b) Access to the original birth certificate and to the evidence submitted in support of the supplementary birth certificate are not open to inspection except upon the order of a Utah district court or as provided under Section 78B-6-141 or Section 78B-6-144.
Relevant Utah Law: Adoption Court Records
78B-6-141. Petition, report, and documents sealed—Exceptions.
(1) An adoption document is sealed.
(2) An adoption document may only be open to inspection and copying as follows:
(a) in accordance with Subsection (4)(a), by a party to the adoption proceeding:
(i) while the proceeding is pending; or
(ii) within six months after the day on which the adoption decree is entered;
(b) subject to Subsection (4)(b), if a court enters an order permitting access to the documents by a person who has appealed the denial of that person’s motion to intervene;
(c) upon order of the court expressly permitting inspection or copying, after good cause has been shown;
(d) as provided under Section 78B-6-144 [Utah’s Mutual-Consent Voluntary Adoption Registry ];
(e) when the adoption document becomes public on the one hundredth anniversary of the date the final decree of adoption was entered;
(f) when the birth certificate becomes public on the one hundredth anniversary of the date of birth;
(g) to a mature adoptee or a parent who adopted the mature adoptee, without a court order, unless the final decree of adoption is entered by the juvenile court under Subsection 78B-6-115(3)(b); or
(h) to an adult adoptee, to the extent permitted under Subsection (3).
(3)(a) For an adoption finalized on or after January 1, 2016, a birth parent may elect, on a written consent form provided by the office, to permit identifying information about the birth parent to be made available for inspection by an adult adoptee.
(b) A birth parent may, at any time, file a written document with the office to:
(i) change the election described in Subsection (3)(a); or
(ii) elect to make other information about the birth parent, including an updated medical history, available for inspection by an adult adoptee.
(c) A birth parent may not access any identifying information or an adoption document under this Subsection (3).
(4)(a) A person who files a motion to intervene in an adoption proceeding:
(i) is not a party to the adoption proceeding, unless the motion to intervene is granted; and
(ii) may not be granted access to the documents described in Subsection (1), unless the motion to intervene is granted.
(b) An order described in Subsection (2)(b) shall:
(i) prohibit the person described in Subsection (2)(b) from inspecting a document described in Subsection (1) that contains identifying information of the adoptive or prospective adoptive parent; and
(ii) permit the person described in Subsection (4)(b)(i) to review a copy of a document described in Subsection (4)(b)(i) after the identifying information described in Subsection (4)(b)(i) is redacted from the document.