Adoption
Adoption

Adoption proceedings are filed with the Gloucester County Surrogate. In the State of New Jersey there are several types of adoptions; Step Parent, Close Relative, Adult, Private Placements, Agency Placements and Second Parent. 

Adoption records are sealed upon the final hearing and the statutes are clear that the contents are confidential and can only be disclosed by court order and for good cause. The filing fee for all adoptions is $175.00 per application. All adoption matters are heard before the Honorable  John J. Matheussen, J.S.C.

What To File For a Step-Parent  Adoption

  • Verified Complaint, Order for Hearing, and Judgment
  • State and Federal fingerprint Criminal History Records Investigation (CHRI)  reports
  • State Child Abuse Registry Investigation  (CARI) report
  • Copy of child's birth certificate
  • Consent of custodial parent
  • Consent/Proof of Service of non-custodial natural parent if applicable
  • Certified Certificate of Death of natural parent if applicable 
  • Affidavit of Diligent Inquiry if whereabouts of the above are unknown 
  • Certified marriage certificate
  • Method of payment

What To File For a Close Relative Adoption

  • Verified Complaint, Order for Hearing, Judgment 
  • State and Federal fingerprint Criminal History Records Investigation (CHRI)  reports
  • State Child Abuse Registry Investigation  (CARI) report
  • Copy of child's birth certificate
  • Consent of parent(s)
  • Consent/Proof of Service of non-custodial natural parent
  • Certified Certificate of Death of natural parent if applicable 
  • Affidavit of Diligent Inquiry if whereabouts of the above are unknown 
  • Certified  marriage certificate if applicable
  • Limited Adoption Agency Investigation
  • Method of payment

What To File For an Adult Adoption

  • Verified Complaint and Judgment 
  • Consent of Adult Adoptee
  • Method of payment

What To File For a Private Placement Adoption

  • Verified Complaint, Order for Hearing, and Judgment 
  • State and Federal fingerprint Criminal History Records Investigation (CHRI)  reports
  • State Child Abuse Registry Investigation  (CARI) report
  • Full home study investigation
  • Post placement agency report
  • Affidavit of Circumstances
  • Medical information of child
  • Consent of birth parents
  • Birthparent(s) acknowledgement of Notice of Lack of Condition on Placement of Child  
  • Proof of Notice of Complaint & Hearing to birth parents
  • Acknowledgement of Right of Counseling of birth parents
  • Affidavit with resect to Indian Child Welfare Act 
  • Certified Certificate of Death of natural parent(s) if applicable 
  • Affidavit of Diligent Inquiry if whereabouts of parents are unknown 
  • Order upon completion of Preliminary Hearing and Final Order termination parental rights 
  • Affidavit of service of Complaint and Hearing to birth parents
  • Affidavit of Valuable Consideration
  • Method of payment
  • Two hearings, 6 months apart

What To File For an Agency Adoption

  • Verified Complaint, Order for Hearing, and Judgment 
  • State and Federal fingerprint Criminal History Records Investigation (CHRI)  reports
  • State Child Abuse Registry Investigation  (CARI) report
  • Full home study investigation
  • Post placement agency report
  • Affidavit of Circumstances
  • Medical information of child
  • Birth Certificate of child
  • Consent of agency
  • Consent of spouse if spouse is not adopting 
  • Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children Report  
  • Affidavit of Valuable Consideration
  • Method of payment

What To File For a Second Parent Adoption

  • All requirements of Step - Parent adoption except for CHRI and CARI background checks
  • If Child is conceived using anonymous donor must have letter from Doctor who performed the procedure 


The Surrogate Court does not provide a Pro Se packet for adoptions. It is highly recommended to consult an attorney that practices family law.

If you choose to prepare the adoption pleadings yourself and represent yourself in court, review the following reference resources available at the law library:
New Jersey Practice Volumes 7a, 8, 8a, and 9 (index); and Rules Governing the Courts of the State of New Jersey. 

Helpful Links and Information:

New Jersey Judiciary

Notice of Rights in Adoption Proceeding (Non-Agency Placement)  - must be served on both non-custodial natural parents

Notice of Rights in Adoption Proceeding (Agency Placement)  - must be served on both non-custodial natural parents


Honorable  John J. Matheussen, J.S.C.
Gloucester County Justice Complex, Court Room #204,
70 Hunter St, Woodbury, NJ 08096 

Phone:(856) 878-5050 15572    Law Clerk:(856) 878-5050 15573     Fax:(856) 379-2474.

Chief Probate Clerk & Special Deputy Surrogate Nancy Richter : (856)-853-3283

Gloucester County Bar Association: (856)-848-4071

Lawyer Referral : (856)-848-4589