SALT LAKE CITY — A bill that would create a mechanism for an unmarried biological father to get receive notice of a pending adoption was endorsed by a House committee Tuesday.

SB55, which passed in the Utah Senate, is not mandatory, said the bill's sponsor, Sen. Todd Weiler, R-Woods Cross.

But the notification, which could be a certified letter from the mother, would notify the father of his rights to protest the adoption under Utah law. The father then has 30 days to register with the state to declare his paternity. If the adoption does not occur, the father is required to pay child support.

Weiler told members of the House Judiciary Committee that the legislation would enable a birth mother to send notice and "have some certainty to make their plans" to finalize an adoption.

Lance Rich, an attorney, adoptive parent and a member of the Utah Adoption Council, said the council board unanimously supports the bill.

While it is largely a clean-up bill, a new mechanism for giving unmarried father's notice will "help avoid situations where you might have a disrupted placement."

Rich said the bill "solves some problems without creating new ones."

Weiler added, "It’s a baby step in the right direction."

Marjorie Cortez