March 31st, 2006
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Q. What sort of information does the court need to have in the petition?
A. The petition should contain the following information: the adopted name of the person; the county of the adoption; the birth date of the adoptee; the names of the adoption parents; the date of the adoption, if known; the file number of the adoption, if known. It should also contain current information about the adopted person: current name, address, telephone number, social security number, reasons why the adopted person is interested in seeking non- identifying information or in having an agent appointed to search for the birth parents.

Q. Must an attorney prepare this petition?

A. No, a letter to the orphans’ court division of the court, which handled the adoption, is sufficient to begin the procedure of appointing an agent.

Q. Does it cost anything to file the petition with the court?
A. No

Q. What steps does the court take after it gets the letter from the adopted person?
A. If there is sufficient information to locate a file in the county records and a file on the particular adoptee is located, the orphans’ court will issue a court order. The court order will appoint an agent to serve on behalf of the adopted person to search for and/or to make contact with the birth parents.

Q. What does this court order mean?
A. This order means that the agent who is named in that order has permission to examine various files and records in the courthouse and elsewhere and has permission to contact the birth parents to determine whether or not the birth parent is willing to make contact with the adopted person.

Q. Is the agent required by the court order to give out all the information?
A. The agent is obligated to exercise discretion to assure that the anonymity of the birth parents is protected unless and until the birth parents choose otherwise. That means that certain kinds of information in the record which could be used by someone to violate that trust will not be given out without permission by the birth parents. The agent will, however, be able to give out non-identifying information as it sees fit.

Q. Doe the birth parent have to respond to a court order that is in the possession of the agent?
A. No.

One Response to “FAQ-Petition and Court Order”

  1. Jan Baker says:

    In California, the methods for petitioning the court vary by county. Petitions are filed here in Superior Court. There is a fee to file the petition in at least some counties. I do not know how petitioning the court works in other states, though I know the procedure in Nevada is similar to ours in California.

    Very informative post – thanks Karen!

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