Adoption Information

The Probate Court has exclusive jurisdiction to finalize Adoptions in Franklin County.

All Adoptions must be e-Filed through the Franklin County e-Filing System in compliance with the requirements of the Ohio Revised Code and Local Rules governing adoptions.

e-Filing System Information

Adoption eForms

When e-Filing a Proposed Entry Setting Hearing you'll need to select a hearing date through the eHearing Locator.

Suggested hearing date from date petition filed:

Private Agency
Public Agency
Foreign re-adoption
Step Parent
Private Placement
30 days
30 days
30 days
90 days
90 days
90 days
90 days
60 days

Those wishing to adopt are required to submit to a personal and home investigation to insure their suitability as adoptive parents. More than 600 adoption cases were opened in the Franklin County Probate Court in 2012. The hearing and records are confidential by law.

Frequently Asked Questions About Adoptions

Who May Adopt?

  1. A married couple, jointly
  2. A stepparent
  3. An unmarried adult


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Who May Be Adopted?

  1. A minor child
  2. An Adult, who:
    1. Is determined to be totally and permanently disabled.
    2. Is determined to have mental retardation as defined by law.
    3. Had a stepparent or foster parent relationship while the adoptee was a minor.
    4. If the adult was, at the time of the adult's eighteenth birthday, in the permanent custody of a public children services agency or a private child placing agency, and the adult consents to the adoption.

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What are the Types of Adoptions?

On occasion, the adopting parents are given guardianship of the minor by the foreign jurisdiction, and an original adoption proceeding is held in Ohio.

In both types of foreign adoption, a licensed adoption agency is frequently retained to investigate the adopting family and issue a report of its findings and recommendation.

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The Role of the Assessor

In stepparent, agency, and private adoptions, the services of an adoption assessor are used to investigate the adopting family and prepare a report called a home study. The home study contains basic information about the adopting family and the assessor's recommendation. This information will assist the Court in determining whether the adopting family is suitable to adopt and whether the approval of the adoption is in the best interest of the adoptee.

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Is a Home Study Always Necessary?

Except for the adoption of an adult, a home study is required in every adoption, and will be conducted by an adoption agency or a Probate Court Assessor.

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Generally, the legal parent(s) of the minor to be adopted, a minor child being adopted who is over the age of 12, and an adult adoptee must consent. However, many laws apply as to who must consent and when the Court may dispense with the consent. Any questions concerning consent should be directed to an attorney.

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Can A Putative Father Preserve His Rights?

A putative father is a man who may be the father of the child, but is not legally recognized as such. He can preserve his rights as father of the child by registering with the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services Putative Father Registry or by mailing written registration forms to The Ohio Putative File Registry, Department of Job and Family Services, PO Box 182709, Columbus, 43218-2709. This must be done either before the birth of the child or not later than fifteen days after the birth. No fee is charged to the putative father for this registration. The telephone number for the Franklin County area is (614) 728-9659, and the toll free number is 1-888-313-3100. For more information please visit the the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services Putative Father Registry webpage.

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Where Should an Adoption be Filed?

The Probate Court has exclusive jurisdiction over adoptions. One may file a petition in the Probate Court of the County where any of the following apply:

  1. The agency having custody of the child is located.
  2. The child was born.
  3. The person or persons seeking to adopt reside.
  4. The home of record for a person stationed in military service.
  5. Where the birth parent(s) reside.

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Is a Court Appearance Required?

It is mandatory that adopting parent(s) and the child appear at the Probate Court hearing unless otherwise ordered by the Court.

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Is the Birth Certificate Changed?

The original birth certificate will be sealed, and a new birth certificate issued. The adopting parent or parents will be reflected on the new birth certificate, just as though they had been the birth parents.

Adopted children born in Ohio or a foreign country, receive their new birth certificates from the Bureau of Vital Statistics, Columbus, Ohio. Children adopted in Ohio, but born in other states, obtain their new birth certificates from the Bureau of Vital Statistics or equivalent agency in the state where they were born.

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Is It Necessary to Have an Attorney?

The adopting parents shall be represented by an attorney. The Probate Court will appoint an attorney to represent a birth parent in all cases where the birth parent is a minor, under legal disability, or upon the request of the birth parent, when the birth parent is appearing before the Court to place the child for adoption. Adoptions of an adult or a foreign adoption may be exempted from this requirement.

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Where Can I Obtain More Information in Franklin County About Adoptions?

Any attorney who practices in the area of adoptions can provide information, and they can be found through the Lawyer Referral Service of the Columbus Bar Association, telephone (614) 221-0754. There are also several adoption agencies which can be found in the classified section of the Columbus telephone directory under Adoption Services.

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Can An Adoption Be Open?

Due to recent changes in Ohio law, an adoption of a child not related to the adopting couple may now be open. If all parties to the adoption agree, the birth parents and the adopting parents may know each other's identity. Otherwise, the adoption will be closed and the identity of the parties remains confidential. Any agreements made by the birth parents and the adopting parents for post adoption communication and contact are not enforceable by a Court in this state after the adoption has become final.

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Are Adoption Records Accessible?

Due to the changes in the Ohio laws over the years the accessibility of adoption records depends upon the date of finalization of the adoption.

Upon written request and payment of a fee, persons adopted prior to 1964 may obtain a copy of their adoption records on file with the State of Ohio, Department of Health, Bureau of Vital Statistics.

For adoption records for persons adopted between 1964 and September 18, 1996, a person age 21 or older or the adoptive parent of an adopted person over the age of 18 and under the age of 21, may request a copy of the contents of the adoption file from the State of Ohio, Department of Health, Bureau of Vital Statistics. The Bureau of Vital Statistics will release that copy upon payment of the appropriate fee unless there is an effective denial of release from either birth parent.

At the discretion of the Court, non-identifying and medical information may be released to the adopted person upon showing of identification and written request. Very little of this information was provided to this Court prior to September 18, 1996.

For further information on this topic you should contact an attorney.

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Helpful Telephone Numbers

State of Ohio, Department of Health, Bureau of Vital Statistics: (614) 466-2531
State of Ohio, Department of Job and Family Services Adoptions: (614) 466-9274
Putative Father Registry: (614) 728-9659
Columbus Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service: (614) 221-0754

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Legal practice in the Probate Court is restricted by law to attorneys who are licensed by the Supreme Court of Ohio. Due to the complexity of the law and desire to avoid costly errors, most individuals who have filings before the Court are represented by an attorney. Court employees are prohibited by statute from practicing law and cannot give legal advice.