Essex County Surrogate's Court will close at 3:00PM on Thursday, June 20, and remain closed on Friday, June 21, in observance of Juneteenth. We will resume regular operating hours on Monday, June 24.


Adoption is a legal process that establishes a parent-child relationship between the adopted child and the adopting parents. Our role is to work with the adopting parents, Family Court, the adoptive child, and any involved adoption agencies. We review adoption requests—formally referred to as verified complaints—and schedule the preliminary and final hearings. We also certify copies of judgments and seal the adoption records.

There are 8 recognized types of adoptions: adult, agency, foreign agency, foreign private, foreign readoption, private, second parent, and step-parent. In order to undertake an adoption, you must submit a verified complaint and other required documentation. We recommend that you acquire the assistance of an attorney to begin the legal proceedings.

After adoption records are sealed, only a Court Order from a Superior Court judge can unseal them.

Overview of Cost

  • Adoption Filing Fee
    $175.00 per child
  • Adoption Search Fee
    $15.00 per search
  • Copy of the Final Judgement of Adoption Certified
    $20.00 per copy

The New Jersey Adoptees Birthright Act gives adopted persons who were born and/or adopted in New Jersey the right to obtain a copy of their original birth certificate (OBC) upon request to the New Jersey Registrar of Vital Statistics.