In the matter of the adoption of Baby Girl D, a minor, 1999

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In the matter of the adoption of Baby Girl D, a minor, 1999, No. 990037-CA, Filed February 11, 1999 IN THE UTAH COURT OF APPEALS
----ooOoo---- In the matter of the adoption of Baby Girl D, a minor.
                                                                                
G.A.,
Appellant,

v.

D.B. and S.B., 
Appellees. )
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  MEMORANDUM DECISION
(Not For Official Publication)

Case No. 990037-CA

F I L E D February 11, 1999 -----

Second District, Provo Department
The Honorable Ray M. Harding, Jr.

Attorneys:
James I. Watts, Salt Lake City, for Appellant
Phillip E. Lowry, Provo, for Appellees

----- Before Judges Bench, Billings, and Orme.

PER CURIAM:

¶1     Appellees ask us to dismiss appellant's appeal arguing that it has become moot. However, we decline to dismiss for that reason. Appellant began asserting his claimed rights to Baby Girl D and contesting the adoption proceedings in July of 1996, rather than after the adoption decree was signed, and, thus, is entitled to challenge the trial court's determination that he did not have standing. See, e.g., In re W, 904 P.2d 1113, 1116 (Utah Ct. App. 1995) (involving an appeal from an order terminating claims of the putative father and from the adoption decree). Utah Code Ann. § 78-30-4.16(3) is not meant to preclude appeals by those who began contesting an adoption before it was finalized. Thus, we do not dismiss the appeal as moot, but dismiss it for the reason explained below.

¶2     In the trial court's November 16, 1998, order, from which the parties filed notices of appeal, it states that appellant's counsel is "directed and ordered to prepare the Amended Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law consistent with this ruling, for approval as to form by Mr. Lowry, and executed by the court." Based upon this court's review of the district court file, it does not appear that these amended findings and conclusions have ever been completed or entered. Utah R. App. P. 3(a) only allows us to consider appeals from final orders. See, e.g., A.J. Mackay Co. v. Okland Construction Co., 817 P.2d 323, 325 (Utah 1991) (stating that where the order was not final, the appeal was not properly taken, and the remedy was dismissal of the appeal). Orders that direct counsel to prepare amended findings are not considered final. See, e.g., Swenson Associates Architects v. State, 889 P.2d 415, 417 (Utah 1994) (concluding that a signed minute entry ordering defendant's counsel to prepare an order denying plaintiff's Rule 52(b) and Rule 59 post-judgment motions was not a final appealable order). Since the November 16, 1998, order, which the parties are attempting to appeal, directs counsel to take further action, it cannot be considered a final appealable order. Accordingly, we dismiss the appeal for lack of jurisdiction.
 
 

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Russell W. Bench, Judge
 
 

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Judith M. Billings, Judge
 
 

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Gregory K. Orme, Judge