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Adoptions in New Jersey

Adoptions in New Jersey

In New Jersey, adoptions are governed by a state statute. The New Jersey Adoption Act, N.J.S.A. 9:3-37, is the evolution of years of legal modifications to the laws regarding adoptions. The law attempts to satisfy both the best interests of the child with the rights and obligations of the adoptive parents and the biological parents. In the Garden State, there are multiple methods that people can employ to adopt a child. For example, there are private adoptions where prospective adoptive parents seek out the assistance of a state-approved agency. There are also step-parent adoptions and same sex couple adoptions – just to name the most popular. Despite which method of adoption a person or couple chooses, the New Jersey Adoption Act governs and guides all the adoptions in the state of New Jersey. A state-approved agency in New Jersey, is a government agency such as the Division of Child Protection and Permanency (DCP&P) or a non-profit agency that is approved through the Commission of Human Services to conduct adoptions. The New Jersey Adoption Act prevent state-approved adoption agencies from discriminating in the selection of adoptive parents for any child on the basis of age, sex, race, natural origin, religion or marital status. If an agency places a child in the home of prospective adoptive parents, these parents can file a Complaint for the adoption of the child after the child has resided in their home for a period of six months. In non-agency methods of adoption, prospective parents may also file a Complaint for adoption, but in this case, the court will give the prospective parents temporary custody of the child and will appoint an approved agency to oversee the process. The agency will then make sure that the biological parents’ have surrendered their rights to the child and conduct other investigations to ensure that the tenets of the New Jersey Adoption Act are being properly followed by all parties to the adoption. A step-parent may also move to adopt a child who has acted like the step-parent’s child for a long time. If the step-parent has fulfilled the responsibilities and obligations of an absent biological parent, the process may be even easier to effectuate. In these situations, a court may bypass the agency investigation and report requirements and gather evidence at a hearing to determine the facts of the situation. If and when any adoption is finalized, the process will bestow upon the adoptive parents all the rights and responsibilities of the biological parents and, in the legal sense, it is as if the adopted child was born to the adoptive parents. If you are considering any of the aforementioned methods of adoption in New Jersey it is advised that you consult with an attorney with experience in this area of the law. For more information about adoption, child support, divorce, alimony or other family Law matters in New Jersey visit NJCivilUnionLaw.com and HeatherDarlingLawyer.com. This blog is for informational purposes and in no way intended to replace the advice of an attorney.

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