Adoption records are not public records in the State of New Jersey. (See N.J. Court Rule 1:38-3(16).) All judgments of adoption and all records of proceedings relating to adoption are sealed, which means that they are not open to inspection, copying or otherwise made public except upon order of the court. (N.J.S.A. §9:3-51 & 52.) The Surrogate’s Court in each county enters judgments of adoption, places adoption records under seal and maintains these records.
In order for an adoption record to be opened, an order must be obtained from a judge of the Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Family Part. This usually involves filing a notarized petition with the Surrogate and paying the required fees; however procedures may vary depending on the county in which the request is being made.
To obtain specific information on filing procedures for obtaining adoption records, contact the Surrogate’s Office in the county in which you believe the adoption took place. The Surrogate’s Office can advise you on the necessary procedures and filing fees in connection with petitioning the court to open adoption records. For a list of County Surrogate’s Offices in the State of New Jersey, click on the link below.