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of minor children and adults are filed in Surrogate Court. Persons who are adopted obtain all rights, privileges, and responsibilities as those of natural birth. Because of the complexity of the adoption process, it is suggested that you obtain an attorney who is familiar with the adoption process.

Adoptions fall into two general categories:

Approved Agency Adoptions: An approved agency is a public or nonprofit corporation, association, or agency approved by the State of New Jersey Department of Human Services.

Private Placement Adoptions:

Filing for Adoption : To file for adoption the following forms, reports and fees are needed:

  • Complaint
  • Verification
  • Consent(s)
  • Affidavit of Consideration
  • Affidavit of Non-Military Service
  • Order for Preliminary Hearing
  • Agency Reports
  • Home Study Report
    Child Abuse Clearances
  • Medical History
  • Foreign Documents (Translated)
  • Judgment
  • Report of Adoption (REG-44)
  • Fee Schedule

Filing for Step-Parent Adoptions: To file for step-parent adoptions the following forms, reports and fees are needed:

  • Complaint
  • Verification
  • Consent or Proof of (s)
  • Affidavit of Non-Military Service
  • Notice to Natural Parent(s)
  • Proofs of Service of Affidavit of Diligent Inquiry
  • Order for Preliminary and Final Hearing
  • Judgment
  • Limited Inquiry: Child Abuse Clearance
  • Federal Finger Prints
  • Report of Adoption (REG-44)
  • Fee Schedule

Adoption Records: The Surrogate's Office has on file adoption records dating back to 1900. Prior to 1940 adoption records were public records. Adoption records are now permanently sealed and can only be opened upon request to a Superior Court Judge by a Complaint and Order.

Rights of Natural Parents: Natural parents, including unwed fathers, have a constitutional right to receive notice and an opportunity to be heard at the adoption proceeding. Notice shall also be given to any person whose interests may be affected by the adoption.

If the child to be adopted is 10 years of age or older, the child will be required to appear at the final hearing unless waived by the court for good cause.

Selection of Adoptive Parents: Selection of adoptive parents shall be in the best interest of the child. An approved agency shall not discriminate with regard to the selection of the adoptive parents for any child on the basis of age, sex, race, national origin, religion or marital status provided, however, that these factors may be considered in determining whether the best interests of a child would served by a particular placement for adoption.

For more information see:

New Jersey Court Rules for Adoption Rule 5:10 Adoption of a Child , and Rule 5:11 Adoption of Adult

New Jersey Family Law Resources
Adoption Resource Center, State of New Jersey - Department of
Human Services, 973-648-7490; 1-800-392-2843


By court order the Surrogate may appoint a guardian to oversee the property or funds of a minor.

Where the total value of the personal estate of a minor does not exceed $5,000, certain recipients authorized by law, including either parent or any person having custody of the minor, may receive the personal estate of the minor for the sole use and benefit of the minor upon the filing of an affidavit with the Surrogate.

Where the total value of the personal estate of the minor exceeds $5,000 and the Superior Court has directed by order that the Surrogate have joint control of the funds, the parents must complete guardianship papers with the Surrogate. The funds are held by the Court until the minor attains the age of 18.




Contact Information:

Atlantic County Surrogate

James Curcio, Surrogate

Atlantic County Civil Court House
1201 Bacharch Blvd.
Atlantic City, NJ 08401
(609) 343-2341
FAX (609) 343-2197

Cape May County Surrogate Court
W. Robert Hentges

9 North Main Street (Location of Court Building)
Cape May Court House, NJ 08210

Mailing Address:
4 Moore Road, Dept. 207
Cape May Court House, NJ 08210

Telephone: (609) 463-6666
Fax: (609) 463-6454

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