Adoption FAQs: The following is a list of common and frequently asked questions on the topic of child adoption in New Jersey.
Please note that our answers fall under New Jersey jurisdiction and may not apply to you should your family law or divorce legal issue be located out of the state of New Jersey.
I want to adopt my wife’s child. His biological father is deceased and I have raised him for the past 10 years. Can I do this?
Yes. Here in New Jersey this is called a stepparent or second parent adoption and the process is a little easier than a traditional adoption. You would be petitioning the court for the same parenting rights as your wife has to the child. The process will still involve home inspections and background checks, but the fact that you have forged such a strong bond will make the process smoother. The process will end with an adoption hearing.
My partner and I want to adopt a child from China. What can we expect?
International adoptions can be more complicated, more time consuming and more expensive than domestic adoptions. You not only have to abide by the country of origin’s laws and regulations, you have to be sure that you are following New Jersey law as well. Also, it may be more complicated for LGBTQIA+ couples to adopt internationally if the original country is not willing to place a child with an LGBTQIA+ couple. Seek the advice of an attorney familiar with adoptions from China as well as with New Jersey adoption laws.
What is the difference between and open and a closed adoption?
In an open adoption, the adoptive parents and the birth parent or parents maintains contact after the adoption. Some families exchange photos and letters and some even have set up visitation with the child. Other families choose to have no contact between the child and the biological family at any point after the adoption process is completed. This is a closed adoption. The arrangement you select will be up to you and the parties involved. Please note that any written agreement that contact between the birth parents and the child will continue will not be enforced by the courts in New Jersey.
I was told I have to have an adoption “home study.” What is this?
As part of the adoption process here in New Jersey, the state (or approved agency) must make sure that the potential home for the child is safe, secure, clean and appropriate. This is done through investigations including the home study. This includes interviews with the prospective parents and anyone else living in the home, medical assessments, background checks, review of references and verification of income and employment.
We have finished with the home study. Do we still have to go to court?
Yes. After the home study and assessments are completed, the adoptive parents still must file a complaint for adoption with the court. You will initially have a preliminary hearing where the birth parent’s rights are terminated. You will then appear, about six months later, for the final hearing, where the adoption will be legally formalized.
The Answers You Need
For answers to your specific questions about adoption, schedule an initial consultation. Whether you want to know about private adoption, second parent adoption or step-parent adoption, foster care adoption, open vs. closed adoption, and more, our skilled and compassionate family law attorneys can set you up with a strong legal strategy to help you achieve your goals of welcoming a child into your life.
We help you safeguard your family and secure your future. Please contact us to request your initial consultation. Take the first step today. Call: (888) 888-0919.