An adoption petition can be filed in a number of places depending on the circumstances of your case. Pursuant to 23 P.A. CS 2302, an adoption may be brought in the county where the parent(s) reside, where the adoptee resides, where an office is located for an agency having custody of the adoptee, or with leave of court, where the adoptee formerly resided. Section 2301 dictates that each county shall exercise jurisdiction through the appropriate division for adoption matters. In Pennsylvania, it is the Orphans’ Court that regularly handles adoption matters. In New Jersey, it is the Surrogates’ office.
Each county has their own local rules and forms to be used in an adoption matter. Additionally, each county sets their own fee schedule in terms of what filing fees will be due and for which pleadings. The cost and procedure for a home study, where necessary, also varies by county. Finally, the wait for a hearing is longer in some counties than others based on the overall volume of cases to be heard and the number of sitting Judges. All of the above may be reasons to consider in determining where to file an adoption petition.