The Hunterdon County Surrogate's Court acts as the Clerk of the Superior Court, Chancery Division, Family Part, for all Hunterdon County adoptions. The Surrogate's Court reviews and files all complaints, supporting documents, orders for hearings, and judgments of adoption.
Adoption papers may be filed with the Hunterdon County Surrogate if:
- The adopting parent resides in Hunterdon County OR
- The child resided in Hunterdon County immediately prior to the adoption OR
- The child is less than three months old and was born in Hunterdon County OR
- Whenever the child to be adopted has been received into the home of a prospective parent from an approved agency with a Hunterdon County Office
- For placements by the Division of Child Protection and Permanency, which is an approved agency, the office shall be deemed to be in the county where parental rights were terminated
The child to be adopted is in the custody and control of a licensed adoption agency. Hearing is scheduled within 10 to 30 days.
The child to be adopted is the natural child of the plaintiff's spouse. Biological parents have the right to object. Hearing is scheduled within 60 to 90 days.
The adult to be adopted has requested the adoption and, if desired, a name change. The adopting parent(s) must be at least 10 years older than the adult being adopted. Hearing is scheduled as soon as possible.
The child to be adopted was not received from an agency, but the adoptive parent(s) are the birth father, grandparent, brother, sister, aunt, or uncle of the child. Biological parents have the right to object. Hearing is scheduled within 60 to 90 days.
Same-Sex Confirmatory Adoption
The child's birth certificate lists two same-sex parents and the adoption confirms legal parentage. No court appearance is necessary.
The child to be adopted has not been received from an approved agency but directly from a birth mother. Biological parents have the right to object. Preliminary hearing scheduled within 60 to 90 days; finalization requires a waiting period of 6 months thereafter.
The foreign child to be adopted is in the custody and control of an approved agency.
The foreign child has already been adopted in a foreign country and will be re-adopted in this country, thereby creating a paper trail and obtaining a New Jersey Birth Certificate.
See New Jersey Court Rule 5:10 for statutory requirements of filing documents and submissions.
- $175 payable to Hunterdon County Surrogate to file an adoption Complaint
- If the child was born in New Jersey, include a check for $27 payable to Treasurer, State of New Jersey for amended birth certificate (This includes one amended birth certificate; Include $2 extra per additional certificates)
- If the child was not born in New Jersey, research the document and fee necessary to obtain an amended birth certificate and include those with your filing.
All adoption files are sealed, pursuant to NJ.S.A. 9:3-52. An adoption file cannot be unsealed by the Surrogate's Court without a Court Order signed by a Superior Court Judge. The Surrogate's Court can only advise you of the procedure and cost of petitioning the Court to break the seal on the adoption file.
The New Jersey Adoptees Birthright Act gives adult adopted persons who were born and/or adopted in New Jersey the right to obtain a copy of their original birth certificate (OBC) upon request to the New Jersey Registrar of Vital Statistics.
View the NJ Department of Health website for more instructions.
We can assist pro se applicants with stepparent, adult, and same sex confirmatory adoptions. Contact Deputy Surrogate Jessica Wallace.
An attorney should be consulted for assistance with all other adoption filings.