Adoption & Juvenile Court


Adoption is the legal and social process by which children become members of families other than their birth families. Adoptive parents have all the rights and responsibilities of birth parents. Through adoption, children obtain a family of their own. For parents, the decision to adopt a child is a serious matter because it involved the care and support of a child. Minnesota adoption laws are based upon the best interests of the child and certain laws give special protection for children based on their age, status as an Indian child under the Indian Child Welfare Act, and other factors. There are several different types of adoption, they are:

  • relative adoption (also called “kinship” adoption);
  • step-parent adoption;
  • agency adoption (including children who are wards of the state and children placed though private agencies such as charitable or religious organizations;
  • private adoptions (usually arranged between biological parents and adoptive parents, and facilitated by an adoption lawyer);
  • international and inter-country adoption

Minnesota law requires that all adoptions be processed in court so that the best interests of the child can be protected. An adoption involves much for than filing papers with the court, and the exact steps you need to follow and papers you need to file depends upon the type of adoption. Generally, the requirements of the adoptive parents (the Petitioners) and steps of the court process include:

  • petitioner(s) must reside in Minnesota for one year (less if they are related to the adoptee);
  • the juvenile court of the judicial district where the Petitioner(s) reside has jurisdiction over the adoption;
  • petitioner(s) must file a “Petition” (and consents or other forms depending on the type of adoption) and a proposed adoption “Decree.”
  • a home study and background check is done on the Petitioner(s);
  • there is a hearing before a judge in court;
  • if the judge approved of and grants the Petition, the court then issues an adoption Decree.
  • following the recording of the Decree and some other administrative steps, such as name change and birth certificate modification, the adoption is complete.

If you are interested in adoption or adoption-related issues, please contact our office.