How to Petition a Court to Open Adoption Records

By Laura Simpson

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There can be many reasons that a person wants to petition a court in order to open up their adoption records. Some feel that they are entitled to the information being hidden within the court system. Others may be suffering from an illness brought on by the stress of a closed adoption. Open adoption records can provide the adopted with medical information and information identifying their biological relatives. It is important to petition the court for this information if you believe it can improve the quality of your life. Do not get caught up on the complexities of the court system. Filing a petition is, in most circumstances, a very common process to undertake.


Step 1

Find out in which court your adoption files are located, as this is the court you will need to be petitioning. The name and location of the court can most likely be found on finalized copies of your adoption papers.

Step 2

Visit the court and ask which forms need to be filled out in order to file a petition to open your adoption records. Take all relevant information with you when filing the forms out; birth certificate and adoption records on hand. If you feel more comfortable using a lawyer, you may, although it is not usually necessary.

Read More: How to Get a Certified Copy of Adoption Papers

Step 3

Fill out the court forms fully and truthfully. They will most likely ask why you want your adoption files opened. State your reason in a written response and include this with the forms. Return all forms and statements to the court office.

At the hearing, a judge will decide to keep your records closed or to open them. A judge can also decide to partially open your records, providing you with non-identifying information. This can be helpful in the event that you are looking for medical information in your family history ,but not necessarily identifying information as to your biological family. If you appear in person before a judge at your hearing, you might bolster your chances at obtaining the records you desire, as a judge can ask questions.