Any person over the age of 18 who is at least ten years older than the child to be adopted may file for adoption, however many different family structures exist and each brings their own unique set of circumstances to the adoption process. Our team of attorneys are experienced advising clients on single parent adoption, stepparent adoption and second parent adoption as well as same sex and LGBT adoption in New Jersey.
A home study investigation must be completed by an approved agency which interviews the adopting party(ies) and does a home visit to assure that the child will be moving into a safe and loving environment. Said report must include results of State and Federal criminal history records of the adoptive parents and each adult residing in the adoptive home, as well as background checks for any history of child abuse, neglect or domestic violence.
In order to legally adopt a child in New Jersey, a Complaint for Adoption must be filed with court. Additional pleadings to be filed include but may not be limited to a Consent or Affidavit of Birth Mother, Consent or Affidavit of Birth Father, Affidavit of Circumstances Surrounding Placement of Child, Affidavit of Costs and Expenses Incurred for the Adoption, an Order fixing the Date of Preliminary Hearing, and a proposed Judgment of Adoption. Even if the Birth Parents consent to the adoption, notice of the Adoption Hearing must still be sent to them unless the birth parents’ rights have been surrendered or terminated in a prior proceeding.
Once all the pleadings are filed with the court as well as the home study investigation report clearing the way for the adoption to go through, the court will hold a hearing to finalize the adoption.