Utah’s Preconstruction Lien Laws

In 2005, the Utah Legislature created the State Construction Registry which serves as a repository of all notices filed concerning construction projects. All parties working on a construction project must file notices with the registry to maintain rights to a lien.

A mechanic’s lien is a statutory lien that secures payment for labor or materials supplied in improving, repairing, or maintaining real property. A preconstruction lien is a mechanic’s lien for services provided prior to construction. Preconstruction services include planning or designing a proposed improvement before construction commences and for compensation separate from construction work. This includes consulting, conducting a site investigation or assessment, estimates, rendering, drawings, and other similar activities. Utah’s preconstruction lien laws are helpful to architects or engineers who perform services before any visible work is done on the property.

A party may claim a preconstruction lien and a separate construction lien on the same project property, but a preconstruction lien may not include an amount claimed for construction work. The value of the preconstruction lien is the reasonable value of the preconstruction service.

To claim a preconstruction lien, a party must first file a notice of preconstruction service with the State Construction Registry no later than 20 days after commencing preconstruction services. To actually claim a preconstruction lien, the claimant must record a notice with the county recorder within 90 days after completing the preconstruction service and send notice to the owner of the property. To enforce a preconstruction lien, the claimant must file a lawsuit and a lis pendens within 180 days after filing the notice of preconstruction lien.

The Cannon Law Group has assisted many service providers with preconstruction lien issues.

Surrogacy Rights Under Utah Law

Since 2005, married couples desiring to have children through a gestational carrier have been able to rely on the laws of Utah to eliminate much of the uncertainty and risk that may otherwise be involved in the surrogacy process. The Utah Uniform Parentage Act (Utah Code § 78B-15-801, et seq.), allows Utah courts to validate gestational agreements and issue pre-birth and post-birth orders that confirm parentage and direct the Office of Vital Records to issue a birth certificate naming the intended parents as parents of the child or children. Utah State Senator Lyle Hillyard sponsored the bill in the 2005 that became the law in Utah.

In the 2018 session of the Utah Senate, Senator Lyle Hillyard introduced S.B. 126, which would repeal the provisions of the Utah Uniform Parentage Act dealing with gestational agreements. The Utah State Senate Health and Human Services Committee held a hearing on S.B. 126 on February 7, 2018. At the hearing, Sen. Hillyard explained before the Committee that he sought to repeal the law because circumstances with courts, marriage, and surrogacy had changed since 2005.

Many others, including members of The Cannon Law Group, made public comments before the Committee concerning their experiences with surrogacy and the process of validating gestational agreements through Utah courts. The comments were overwhelmingly in favor of the law and against repealing the law. At the end of the hearing, the Committee voted to table the bill, signaling the Committee’s opposition to it.

 The basic components of validating a gestational agreement in Utah are as follows:

  • Either the mother or intended parents must be residents of Utah for at least 90 days
  • Medical evidence shows that the intended mother is unable to bear a child without unreasonable risk;
  • The intended parents must meet standards of fitness through an adoptive home study;
  • All parties must participate in counseling to discuss options and consequences;
  • The prospective gestational mother must have had at least one pregnancy and delivery;
  • Health care expenses must be provided for; and
  • All parties must be 21 years of age or older.

Cannon Law Group has assisted many gestational carriers and intended parents through the process of negotiating a gestational agreement, filing a petition to validate the agreement, and obtaining the necessary orders from the court to protect the interests of all parties and to ensure the parentage of the intended parents.