Adoption proceedings are handled at the William R. Ridgeway Family Relations Courthouse. All document processing in adoption matters (including housing of adoption files) are handled in the Probate Unit located on the 2nd Floor in Room 214. A service ticket from the Reception Desk, located on the 1st Floor, must be obtained prior to receiving person to person assistance in the Probate Unit. For your convenience, a Dropbox for document drop-off is located on the 1st Floor and can be utilized in lieu of obtaining a service ticket for person to person assistance.
Forms and Filing
All adoptions require the use of mandatory forms with the exception of adult adoptions as there are no mandatory forms developed by Judicial Council. Please go to the California Courts self-help website - external link for reference materials regarding adult adoptions.
If you are seeking an Independent, Agency, or Intercountry adoption:
A hearing can be scheduled after the following documents have been filed with the court:
- Adoption Request;
- Adoption Report;
- Accounting Reports; and
- Consents, Relinquishments, or Termination of Parental Rights
To request a hearing, submit two (2) copies of the previously filed Adoption Request (unless you are filing it and requesting a hearing) along with a self-addressed, stamped envelope. Adoption hearings are scheduled on Monday (Tuesday if case is assigned to Department 125) mornings at 8:30 a.m. If you have dates when you are unavailable you may include them with your paperwork.
Additional information regarding Independent, Agency, and Intercountry adoptions coordinated by the California Department of Social Services, including their associated fees, is available at http://www.CDSS.CA.GOV/Adoptions - external link.
If you are a stepparent or a domestic partner seeking adoption of a Spouse's/Domestic Partner's child:
- Instructions for Stepparent Adoption
- Adoption Request (ADOPT-200)
- Adoption Agreement (ADOPT-210)
- Contact After Adoption Agreement (optional) (ADOPT-310)
- Indian Child Inquiry Attachment (ICWA-010(A))
- Investigation Questionnaire (FL/E-LP-647)
- Consent to Adoption by Parent Retaining Custody (AD 2 (6/02)(signatures must be notarized)
- Consent to Adoption by a Parent in or outside California Giving Custody to Husband or Wife or Domestic Partner of Other Parent (if applicable) (AD 2A/2B (05/11)(signatures must be notarized)
- Adoption Order (ADOPT-215)
- Court Report of Adoption (VS 44)
When you file your petition for adoption, you must pay a court filing fee. For a stepparent adoption, an additional court investigation fee is required. Check the Fees and Forms page for further information.
For Independent, Agency and Intercountry adoptions, see separate associated fees at the California Department of Social Services webpage at http://www.CDSS.CA.GOV/Adoptions - external link.
Due to the strict laws regarding the confidentiality of adoption files, individuals who have been adopted are not permitted to see their adoption records without an order of the court. The following forms packet is used to request an order:
Further, if the court grants an adopted person the right to inspect or have copies of their adoption record, court staff are not permitted to provide documents for inspection or for copying to any person other than the adopting parent(s) and their attorney of record, unless the name of the child's birth parents or any other information tending to identify the child's birth parents is deleted from the documents or copies. Adoption requests can only be processed if the signature of the adoptive parent or parents is notarized. Adoption records are not on the court's public access site.