Middlesex County Surrogate acts as the Clerk of the Superior Court,
Chancery Division, Family Part, for all adoptions. This office is
responsible for reviewing and filing all Complaints, with all supporting
papers, including Orders Fixing Date for Hearing and Final Judgment
for Adoption. We ensure that the necessary procedural requirements
of the New Jersey Statutes and New Jersey Court Rules are met and
the scheduling of a court date is done in a timely manner.
Adoption: The adult to be adopted has requested the adoption and,
if desired, the change of name. The adopting parent(s) must be at
least 10 years older than the adult being adopted.
Adoption: The child to be adopted is in the custody and control
of an approved agency.
Adoption: The foreign child to be adopted is in the custody and
control of an approved agency.
Re-Adoption: The foreign child has been adopted in a foreign country
before a Judge and re-adopted in this country, thereby creating a
paper trail, as well as a New Jersey birth certificate.
Adoption: The child to be adopted has not been received from an
approved agency but from a birth mother.
Adoption: The child to be adopted was not received from an agency,
but the adoptive parent(s) are brother, sister, grandparent, aunt,
uncle or birth father.
Adoption: The child to be adopted is the natural child of the
papers may be filed with the Surrogate in one of the following:
The County in which the adopting parents reside;
2. The County where the child resided immediately prior to the placement
3. If the child is less than three months of age, the County in which
the child was born;
4. Whenever the child to be adopted has been received into the home
of a prospective parent from an approved agency, the action may be
instituted in the Superior Court, Chancery Division, Family Part,
of any County in which the approved agency has an office.
the filing of a Verified Complaint for Adoption, which begins the
legal process with our office, a child may be required to be in the
adoptive home for a period of time. In an Agency Adoption (domestic
and foreign), the child must be in the adoptive home for at least
six months. With Private Placement, Relative and Stepparent Adoptions,
the Complaint may be filed within 45 days after receiving the child
into the adoptive home. With a Foreign Re-Adoption, the Complaint
can be filed upon the approval of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration
Services. In the case of an Adult Adoption, there is no waiting time.
the Complaint is filed, a hearing date is set. For an Agency Adoption,
the statute requires the hearing to take place no less than 10 days
and no more than 30 days from the filing of the Complaint. For a Stepparent,
Relative, Foreign Re-Adoption, or Private Adoption, the statute requires
a waiting time of no less than 60 days and no more than 90 days from
the filing of the Complaint. The finalization of a Private Adoption
requires a waiting period of 6 months after a preliminary hearing.
There is no similar statutory requirement for an Adult Adoption.
REQUIREMENTS FOR STEPPARENT ADOPTION
the time of the filing of the Verified Complaint in a Stepparent Adoption,
there are many other documents that must be filed along with the pleadings.
These include Criminal History Record Information (CHRI) fingerprint
background checks, Child Abuse Record Information (CARI), and Domestic
Violence Registry Check (D.V.C). The clearances must be less than
12 months old at the time of the filing of the Complaint. All of these
checks must be performed on the Stepparent and on all persons residing
in the adoptive applicant's home who are 18 years of age or older,
except the natural parent.
filing an Adoption, the fee is $175.00. Payment may be made by credit
card or a check made out to the Middlesex County Surrogate. This office
does not accept cash.
birth certificate will be amended after the Finalization of the Adoption.
The Report of Adoption form and a check for $27.00 made out to Vital
Statistics and can be submitted prior to the hearing date. Additional
birth certificates are $2.00 each.
office often receives requests for information regarding prior adoptions.
These requests are usually made by the adopted child who either wants
to locate their natural parents or needs a copy of their Adoption
Decree to prove their identity. All adoption files are maintained
by the Surrogate under seal (N.J.S.A. 9:3-52). An adoption file, or
even part of an adoption file, cannot be unsealed by the Surrogate
without a Court Order signed by a Superior Court Judge. The Surrogate's
office can only advise you of the procedure and cost of petitioning
the Court to break the seal on the adoption file.
further information, contact our main number at 732-745-3055 or at