Prepare to attend a stepparent adoption hearing

Who should attend

The stepparent who is adopting, the parent retaining custody, and the child who is being adopted must attend the hearing. You may invite others to attend, such as family members (including siblings), friends, and important connections.

Let the clerk or bailiff know if you plan to bring a group of people. Learn more
Space is sometimes limited because most often stepparent adoption hearings are held in the judge’s chambers (the judge’s office behind the bench in the court room). If you have several people who want to attend, plan to ask the clerk and/or bailiff at the courthouse or courtroom before your case is called to see if the judge will allow the hearing to accommodate everyone. Sometimes the judge will close the courtroom and use it as the place for the hearing.

These hearings are considered confidential which means that the public is not allowed in the finalization hearing.

What to wear and bring

Dress nicely, as if you are going to a job interview or place of worship.

Cameras are usually not allowed in the courtroom. You may be able to bring a camera into the courthouse if you explain to the front entrance deputies that you are finalizing an adoption. Provide the judge’s name and the department number to the deputy and ask permission to bring in the camera.

It is always up to the judge if you can take photos. Even if you plan to use your cell phone as a camera, you must always ask the judge for permission to take photos before, during, and after the hearing.

Plan to arrive early

Make sure you allow enough time to park. You will also stand in line to go through metal detectors, similar to traveling on an airplane. All items brought into the courthouse will be searched. Someone may be searched if the metal detectors are set off.

success alert banner:

Have a question about Stepparent Adoption?

Look for a "Chat Now" button in the right bottom corner of your screen. If you don’t see it, disable any pop-up/ad blockers on your browser.