Adoptions of minor children and adults are filed and finalized in Surrogate's Court. These adoptions include private, agency-filed, relative, and step-parent adoptions. Persons who are adopted obtain all rights, privileges and responsibilities as those of natural birth.
The Surrogate's Court is responsible for reviewing and processing all documents as well as ensuring that the procedural requirements of the New Jersey Statutes and Court Rules are met. It also works closely with the Essex Vicinage Family Division of Superior Court to schedule adoption proceedings with a Family Court Judge. After an adoption case is heard, the file is returned to the Surrogate's Court to be finalized and is permanently sealed. Adoption files may only be opened upon request to and order by a Superior Court Judge.
Additional information on adoption is available under the New Jersey Court Rules for Adoption: Rule 5:10 Action for Adoption of a Child and Rule 5:11 Action for Adoption of Adult. Because of the complexity of the adoption process, it is suggested that you obtain an attorney who is familiar with the process.