The most common example is a step father adopting his wife's child from a prior relationship. In these cases, a Complaint must be filed in the Superior Court by the person (plaintiff) who wishes to adopt the child.
The New Jersey Court Rules and Adoption Statute has specific requirements for adoptions. The Complaint should set forth the following:
1. The name, age, address of adoptive father. Adoptive father is a citizen of the United States and not related to the child.
2. The child's name, place of birth, date of birth, and age.
3. Name and ages of any children of the proposed adoptive parent and the child's parent.
4. Where and when the plaintiffs began to take care of the child to be adopted from the natural mother.
5. The date from which the child has been under the continuous care of the plaintiff.
6. The name and address of the natural father and natural mother, if known to the plaintiffs. The natural parents were not married.
7. Whether the child to be adopted has any property.
8. The name by which the child to be adopted shall be known.
9. Place and type of employment and that both plaintiff and mother are able to support the child to be adopted.
10. Attach a typed affidavit of the consent of the natural mother.
11. Plaintiffs demand a judgment of adoption as to the child and that his name be changed.
In addition, the consent of the available natural father should be obtained. The affidavit to be prepared by the attorney which will contain some of the following information:
Consent of Mother/Father - To be signed in front of a Notary
1. The name and age of natural parent, declaration that he/she is the natural parent, city and county of child's birth.
2. Signed consent of natural parent to adoption of child by plaintiffs, relinquishment of all right and claim to child, and agreement that, from the date of the decree of adoption of child, that the child will, to all legal intents and purposes, be the child of the persons adopting the child.
3. (Optional) Consent of natural parent to child being raised in a particular religion.
Hearing Order An order fixing the day for hearing and publication must be prepared by your attorney. It must be submitted to the Court and signed by the Court. The Court Orders will set forth that:
1. The child sought to be adopted is to be a ward of the court;
2. Date and place of the hearing; 3. The Complaint for Adoption, together with the Order for hearing, and
Notice in the form required by N.J.S.A. 9:3-45, shall be published in The Home News and Tribune or another newspaper of general circulation.
4. Who should be served notice by personal service or certified mail.
The adoptive father, natural mother and child should appear at the hearing. The Supreme Court Judge will conduct the questioning in the Judge's Chambers. Your attorney will help you prepare.
Final Judgment of Adoption
A Final Judgment of Adoption by the court will set forth some of the following information:
1. That by virtue of the Complaint that Plaintiff desires to adopt the minor child, and a preliminary hearing having been held, and it further appearing that the best interest of the child would be promoted by such adoption, and it further appearing through notice by Publication of these proceedings set forth in The Home News & Tribune that the natural father of the child, has not contested the proceedings;
2. It is ordered and adjudged:
A. The above named child be adopted by the plaintiff. B. The name of the child shall be changed to _____. C. Upon entry of this Judgment of Adoption, the relationship heretofore existing between the child and the natural father of the child, be in all respects at an end;
D. The entry of this Judgment shall not affect or terminate any rights, duties, privileges, and relationships existing between the child and his natural mother, nor his right of inheritance from or through her, nor the rights of inheritance under the intestate laws of this State through the natural father.
E. The entry of this Judgment shall establish the same relationship between the child and the adopting parent as if such child were born to such adopting parent in lawful wedlock, including the rights of inheritance.
Post Adoption Hearing Procedures
Your attorney should fill out paperwork to obtain a new birth certificate. An adoption is a final proceeding. Even a divorce does not revoke an adoption. For additional information on adoption, contact a New Jersey attorney.
Selected statutes dealing with Adoption:
9:3-42. Jurisdiction in Chancery, venue 6. An action for adoption shall be instituted in the Superior Court, Chancery Division, Family Part of the county in which the prospective parent resides, or in the county where the child resided immediately prior to placement for adoption, or if the child is less than three months of age, the county in which the child was born; except that 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.