- General Information
- Forms and Filing
- Adoption Records
Adoption proceedings are handled at the William R. Ridgeway Family Relations Courthouse. All document processing in adoption matters (including housing of adoption files) are handled in the Probate Unit.
Forms and Filing
All adoptions require the use of mandatory forms with the exception of adult adoptions as there are no mandatory forms developed by Judicial Council. Please go to the California Courts self-help website - external link for reference materials regarding adult adoptions.
If you are seeking an Independent, Agency, or Intercountry adoption:
A hearing can be scheduled after the following documents have been filed with the court:
- Adoption Request;
- Adoption Report;
- Accounting Reports; and
- Consents, Relinquishments, or Termination of Parental Rights
To request a hearing, submit two (2) copies of the previously filed Adoption Request (unless you are filing it and requesting a hearing) along with a self-addressed, stamped envelope. Adoption hearings are scheduled on Monday mornings at 8:30 a.m. If you have dates when you are unavailable you may include them with your paperwork.
Additional information regarding Independent, Agency, and Intercountry adoptions coordinated by the California Department of Social Services, including their associated fees, is available at https://www.CDSS.CA.GOV/Adoptions - external link.
If you are a stepparent or a domestic partner seeking adoption of a Spouse's/Domestic Partner's child:
When you file your petition for adoption, you must pay a court filing fee. For a stepparent adoption, an additional court investigation fee is required. Check the Fees and Forms page for further information.
For Independent, Agency and Intercountry adoptions, see separate associated fees at the California Department of Social Services webpage at https://www.CDSS.CA.GOV/Adoptions - external link.
Adoption and Termination of Parental Rights cases may involve the taking of a child into a family, creating a parent child relationship, and giving him or her all the rights and privileges of a natural child. Adoption and Termination of Parental Rights records are confidential. These documents may only be viewed and copied by the parties or their attorneys of record.
Due to the strict laws regarding the confidentiality of adoption files, individuals who have been adopted are not permitted to see their adoption records without an order of the court. The following forms packet is used to request an order:
Further, if the court grants an adopted person the right to view or have copies of their adoption record, court staff are not permitted to provide documents for viewing or for copying to any person other than the adopting parent(s) and their attorney of record, unless the name of the child's birth parents or any other information tending to identify the child's birth parents is deleted from the documents or copies. Adoption requests can only be processed if the signature of the adoptive parent or parents is notarized.
Valid state or federally issued photo identification
Valid state or federally issued photo identification is required to view records. Acceptable forms of state or federally issued photo identification that are unexpired include:
- Driver's License
- U.S. Resident's Card (green card)
- State issued I.D.
- Military I.D.
- Voter's I.D.
Viewing or Copying Adoption or Termination of Parental Rights Records
Adoption and Termination of Parental Rights records are available in Room 214 at the William R. Ridgeway Family Relations Courthouse. The guidelines for viewing and requesting copies of records vary depending on how they are stored, whether you are a party, and whether you are representing a public agency. The various processes are as follows:
|Adoption and Termination of Parental Rights Records||Are stored...||And may be obtained...|
|With case numbers starting with:
||At the courthouse.||
|Filed between 1938 and 1974||Digitally at the courthouse.||By mail or drop box. Copies may be requested by submitting a Request for Copies of Family Law Records form and mailing or by placing it in the drop box located inside the courthouse. See instructions below.|
|Filed before 1937||At the Center for Sacramento History.||By contacting the Center for Sacramento History directly or by email at centerforsacramentohistory.org.|
|That are not listed above.||At our offsite facility.||By mail or drop box. Copies may be requested by submitting a Request for Copies of Family Law Records form and mailing or by placing it in the drop box located inside the courthouse. See instructions below.|
In Person Viewing or Copying
If the file is stored at the courthouse, you may view or request copies of records in person, in the Probate Unit located on the second floor, room 214 at the William R. Ridgeway Family Relations Courthouse, and you must:
- Obtain a service ticket at Reception;
- Complete a public file request card received at the courthouse;
- Provide the court with your valid state or federally issued photo identification; and
- Ask the court clerk to make your copies.
By Mail Viewing or Copying
To obtain a copy of records by mail or drop box, you must complete a Request for Copies of Family Law Records and mail or drop it in the drop box at William R. Ridgeway Family Relations Courthouse, 3341 Power Inn Road, Sacramento, CA 95826. The request must be accompanied with a copy of valid state or federally issued photo identification, the fees or copy of the fee waiver, if applicable, and addressed to the Probate Records Clerk. Fees can be paid by check or money order. Do not mail or drop box cash.
The drop box is located at the entrance of the William R. Ridgeway Family Relations Courthouse and the building hours are from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday (excluding court holidays).
Public entities inside the state of California may request a copy of records in person or by mail. If requesting by mail, complete a Request for Copies of Family Law Records and provide a copy of your public entity identification.
Public entities outside the state of California may request a copy of records in person or by mail; the copy and certification fees pursuant to the court's fee schedule are required.
Pursuant to Government Code Sections 70626 through 70628 - external link, copy and record search fees are as follows:
|Standard Copy||$0.50 per page|
|Certified Copy of document or file||$40.00 per certified document or file + Standard Copy Fee|
|Exemplified Copy||$50.00 per case + Standard Copy Fee|
|Records Search||$15.00 if a case number is not provided|
|Postage fees||To be determined|