New Jersey

Adoption

Access to Adoption Records

Who May Access Information
Citation: Ann. Stat. § 9:3-41.1The adoptive parent may have access to nonidentifying information.

Access to Nonidentifying Information
Citation: Ann. Stat. § 9:3-41.1

Prior to placement, the adoptive parent will be provided with all available information relevant to the child’s development, including:

  • The child’s developmental and medical history
  • The child’s personality and temperament
  • The birth parents’ complete medical histories, including conditions or diseases that are believed to be hereditary
  • Any drugs or medications taken during pregnancy
  • Any other health conditions of the birth parents that may influence the child’s present or future health

Information that would identify or permit the identification of the birth parents of the child shall be excluded.

Mutual Access to Identifying Information
Citation: Ann. Stat. § 9:3-52

All records of proceedings related to the adoption shall be filed under seal by the clerk of the court and shall at no time be open to inspection or copying unless the court, upon good cause shown, shall otherwise order.

Access to Original Birth Certificate
Citation: Ann. Stat. § 26:8-40.1

The original birth certificate is available only upon order of the court.

Where the Information Can Be Located

New Jersey Department of Human Services, Adoption Registry Coordinator

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Collection of Family Information About Adopted Persons and Their Birth Families

Agency or Person Preparing the Report
Citation: Ann. Stat. § 9:3-41.1
An approved agency making an investigation of the facts and circumstances surrounding the surrender of a child shall provide a prospective parent with all available information.Contents of Report About the Adopted Person
Citation: Ann. Stat. § 9:3-41.1
The report shall include all available nonidentifying information relevant to the child’s development, including his or her developmental and medical history, personality, and temperament.

Contents of Report About the Birth Family
Citation: Ann. Stat. § 9:3-41.1
The report shall include all available nonidentifying information, including:

  • The parents’ complete medical histories, including conditions or diseases that are believed to be hereditary
  • Any drugs or medications taken during pregnancy
  • Any other conditions of the parents’ health that may be a factor influencing the child’s present or future health

When the Report Is Made
Citation: Ann. Stat. § 9:3-41.1
This information shall be made available to the prospective parent prior to the actual adoptive placement to the extent available and supplemented upon the completion of an investigation conducted by an approved agency pursuant to § 9:3-48.

Exceptions for Stepparent or Relative Adoptions

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.

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Intestate Inheritance Rights for Adopted Children

Birth Parents in Relation to Adopted Person
Citation: Ann. Stat. §§ 9:3-50; 2A:22-3
The entry of a judgment of adoption shall:

  • Terminate all parental rights and responsibilities of the parent towards the adoptive child except for a parent who is the spouse of the petitioner and except those rights that have vested prior to entry of the judgment of adoption
  • Terminate all rights of inheritance under intestacy from or through the birth parent unless that parent is the spouse of the petitioner or that parent or other relative had died prior to the judgment of adoption
  • Terminate all rights of inheritance under intestacy from or through the child that existed prior to the adoption

The right of the adult adopted person, and of such persons as legally represent him or her on his or her death, to take and inherit intestate personal and real property from his or her birth parents and their kindred shall not be altered by the adoption.

In all other respects, all rights, privileges, and obligations due from the birth parents to the adult adopted person and from the adopted person to them and all relations existing between such person and them shall be at an end, including the right of the birth parents and their kindred to take and inherit intestate personal and real property from and through the adopted person.

Adoptive Parents in Relation to Adopted Person
Citation: Ann. Stat. §§ 9:3-50; 2A:22-3
The entry of a judgment of adoption shall establish the same relationships, rights, and responsibilities between the child and the adopting parent as if the child were born to the adopting parent in lawful wedlock. For purposes of intestacy, an adopted child shall have the same rights of inheritance as if born to the adopting parent in lawful wedlock.

All rights, privileges, and obligations due from the parents by adoption to the adult adopted person and vice versa shall be the same as if the adult adopted person had been born to them in lawful wedlock, including the right to take and inherit intestate personal and real property from and through each other.

If the parents by adoption shall have another child or other children entitled to take and inherit from them on intestacy, such children and the adult adopted person shall, respectively, take and inherit intestate personal and real property from and through each other as if all had been children of the same parents born in lawful wedlock.

Adopted Persons Who Are Not Included in a Will
Citation: Ann. Stat. §§ 3B:3-48; 3B:5-9; 3B:5-16
Adopted persons and their descendants, if appropriate to the class, are included in class gifts and other terms of relationship in accordance with the rules for intestate succession.

If a testator fails to provide in his or her will for any child who was adopted after the execution of his or her will, the omitted after-adopted child receives a share in the estate as follows:

  • If the testator had no child living when he or she executed the will, an omitted after-adopted child receives a share in the estate equal in value to what the child would have received had the testator died intestate unless the will gave all or substantially all of the estate to the other parent of the omitted child or to a trust primarily for the benefit of that other parent, and that other parent survives the testator and is entitled to inherit under the will.
  • If the testator had one or more children living when he or she executed the will, and the will gave property or an interest in property to one or more of the then-living children, an omitted after-adopted child is entitled to share in the estate as follows:
    • The portion of the estate that the omitted after-adopted child is entitled to share is limited to bequests made to the testator’s then-living children under the will.
    • The omitted after-adopted child is entitled to receive the share of the estate that the child would have received had the testator included all omitted after-born and after-adopted children with the children to whom bequests were made under the will and had given an equal share of the estate to each child.

The above does not apply if:

  • It appears from the will that the omission was intentional.
  • The testator provided for the omitted after-adopted child by transfer outside the will with the intent that the transfer be in lieu of a testamentary provision.

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State Recognition of Intercountry Adoptions Finalized Abroad

Effect and Recognition of a Foreign Adoption Decree
Citation: Ann. Stat. § 9:3-43.2 A final judgment of adoption granted by a judicial, administrative, or executive body of a jurisdiction or country other than the United States shall have the same force and effect in this State as that given to a judgment of adoption entered by another State, without additional proceedings or documentation, if:

  • The adopting parent is a resident of this State.
  • The validity of the foreign adoption has been verified by the granting of an IR-3 immigrant visa, or a successor immigrant visa, for the child by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Readoption After an Intercountry Adoption
Citation: Ann. Stat. § 9:3-43.1

Notwithstanding the provisions § 9:3-37, et seq., or any other law to the contrary, an adopting parent shall not be required to petition a court in this State for adoption of a child if:

  • The child was adopted under the laws of a jurisdiction or country other than the United States.
  • The validity of the foreign adoption has been verified by the granting of an IR-3 immigrant visa, or a successor immigrant visa, for the child by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

If an adopting parent chooses to file a petition for adoption in this State, a court may grant a judgment of adoption without requiring the consent of a parent otherwise required pursuant to § 9:3-41 if the petitioner files with the petition a judgment of adoption, guardianship, or termination of parental rights granted by a judicial, administrative, or executive body of a jurisdiction or country other than the United States that is in compliance with the laws of that country.

Application for a U.S. Birth Certificate
Citation: Ann. Stat. § 26:8-40.1

The State Registrar may file a new birth certificate for any child born in a foreign country who was not a citizen of the United States at the time of the child’s birth, whose adopting parent is a resident of this State, and who is adopted:

  • Through a court of competent jurisdiction in this State
  • Under the laws of a jurisdiction or country other than the United States and has been granted an IR-3 immigrant visa, or a successor immigrant visa, by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

The new certificate shall be filed upon receipt of:

  • A request for the certificate from the court, the adopting parent, or the adoptee if he or she is age 18 or older
  • Proof that the adopting parent is a resident of this State
  • An official copy of the judgment from the jurisdiction or country in which the child was adopted
  • A certified translation of the foreign adoption
  • Proof of the date and place of the child’s birth
  • Proof of IR-3 immigrant visa status or a successor immigrant visa status

When applicable, the State Registrar may file a new certificate for any child who is not a citizen of the United States and who is adopted by a resident of this State. The certificate shall bear the notation ‘by adoption.’ The notation may be removed at any subsequent date upon submission of acceptable proof that the child has become a citizen of the United States.


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