Types of Adoptions Court Rules – 5:10

Agency Placement Child is placed by an approved agency in the State of New Jersey for the purpose of adoption.  Complaint, Order, original Consent by Agency, Termination of Parental Rights, copy of child’s birth certificate. Order is signed.  Agency Report with State and Federal fingerprint checks, CARI checks and Promis-Gavel checks, medical check list is submitted. Certification from agency stating that neither the child nor the child’s biological parents are members or eligible to be members of a federally recognized Indian tribe in accordance with the requirements set forth in R. 5:10-6, it is unaware of any pending concurrent adoption action existing in another county, whether the plaintiff(s) have entered into a subsidy agreement if applicable, in DCP&P cases, the adoptee’s verified current social security number, and that the card will be supplied to the plaintiff(s) if available. Final hearing date is set within 10 to 30 days.

Stepparent & Co-Parent Child comes under the custody and control of plaintiff for purpose of adoption because of marriage.  Papers are filed.  Complaint, Order, Consent of custodial parent, copy of child’s birth certificate, copy of Civil Union. Non-custodial parent does not have to consent, but he/she must receive notice of the hearing.  Copy of Notice to Parent, Proof of Service (must mail by regular & certified mail with return receipt).  Order is signed and final hearing date is set within two to three months.  Union County waives the agency investigation unless the background checks come back with a record, but the stepparent/co-parent  & any other adults in the home must have State and Federal fingerprint and CARI checks (except biological parent).  If fingerprints are not filed with the complaint, the Order Setting Hearing Date must provide a provision that orders the fingerprint check and they must be submitted 10 days before the hearing.  Hearing date is set within two to three months.

Relative Child comes under the custody of a relative for purpose of adoption because birth parent(s) cannot take care of child.  Papers are filed.  Complaint, Order, copy of child’s birth certificate.  Birth parents do not have to consent, but they must receive notice of the hearing.  Court appoints agency to do an investigation. It is the Plaintiff(s) obligation to pay the agency’s fee.  Order is signed.  Agency Report with fingerprint check & CARI check is submitted.  Final hearing date is set within two to three months.

Private When plaintiff(s) receives the child to be adopted from a source other than an agency, relative or stepparent. This is by far the most complex type of adoption and the one that offers the most pitfalls to the parties involved and the Court.  Papers are filed, Complaint (complaint must have attached to it an affidavit of non-military service in accordance with R. 1:5-7, Order for Hearing, copy of child’s birth certificate, Affidavit of Circumstances, Affidavit of Expenses, Interstate Compact (if child born in another state).  Birth parents must receive notice of the hearing by certified, return receipt and regular mail.  Proof of Service and copy of Notice to Parents.  Preliminary hearing date is set, agency is appointed to investigate and submit report with fingerprint checks and CARI checks. This preliminary hearing is set in 60 to 90 days. Upon completion of PH, agency is assigned duty as next friend to supervise over the next six to nine months. At the end of this period, the agency either consents or opposes the adoption.  Second and final hearing has no appearance by plaintiffs.  The Court must receive a supplemental agency report before the final hearing.

Foreign In most cases when a child is adopted from another country, the child is abandoned by the birth parents or the birth mother surrenders her rights and does not name the birth father. Complaint, Order, Affidavit of Expenses, copies of the Decree of Adoption, Adoption Registration Certificate, Certificate/Statement of Guardian, Certificate of Abandonment, Fingerprint & CARI checks.  The agency that completed the pre-adoptive home study does the report for the Court. Certified copies of immigration visa, birth certificate, copies of all foreign adoption paperwork with English translation.  No one has to be notified. There is one hearing.

Adult When someone wants to adopt an adult 18 years of age or older, papers are filed with the Court. Verified Complaint and Order for Hearing. Verified Complaint shall state 1. Name, age & place of residence of the plaintiff & the adoptee, 2. Adoptee’s new name, if any, 3. Full description of adoptee’s property.  Filed with the complaint, a request for the adoption & name change by the adoptee.  Consent of spouse. Copy of adoptee’s birth certificate.  Court Rules-5:11


Stepparent, Relative and Private Adoptions – natural parents have right to object.

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Check or money order should be made payable to the Union County Surrogate.

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Adoptions Brochure

Letter & Affidavit to Unseal an Adoption