General Information

Adoption is a legal process whereby a person becomes a parent of a child with all moral and legal obligations accompanying the relationship as if the two were biological child and parent. The Adoptions Court processes four types of adoptions: Stepparent adoptions, independent adoptions, agency adoptions, and inter-country adoption

Adoption Terms & Definitions

Adoptive Parent(s): means a person who has obtained an order of adoption of a minor child or, in the case of an adult adoption, an adult.

Birth Parent: means the biological parent, or in the case of a person previously adopted, the adoptive parent.

Adoption Agency: means the adoption of a minor, other than an intercounty adoption, in which the California Department of Social Services or a licensed adoption agency is a party to, or joins in the adoption request.

Independent Adoption: means the adoption of a child in which the California Department of Social Services is neither a party to or joins in the adoption request.

Intercountry Adoption: means the adoption of a foreign-born child for whom federal law makes a special immigration visa available. Intercountry adoption includes completion of the adoption in the child’s native country or completion of the adoption in the state of residency of the petitioner(s)/adopting parent(s).

Stepparent/Domestic Partner Adoption: means an adoption of a child by a stepparent or domestic partner where one birth parent retains custody and control of the child.

Clerk’s Office Reopen Information


Clerks Office: (707) 207-7340

Court Investigators: (707) 207-7390

Hours: Mon - Fri: 8:00 AM - 11:30 AM, 1:00 PM - 2:30 PM (Phone)

Hours: Mon-Fri: 8:00 AM - 11:30 AM (Drop-in)

Hours: Mon-Fri: 8:30 AM - 3:00 PM (Appointment)

phone and visiting hours exclude court holidays | holiday schedule

Hall of Justice
600 Union Ave,
Fairfield CA 94533

phone and visiting hours exclude court holidays | holiday schedule


The length of time depends upon the Petitioner(s). The Petitioner(s) will be required to submit several documents, including certified copies of both birth certificates, a marriage certificate, prior divorce decrees, employment verifications, letters of reference and consents, etc.. A home study and recommendation will also need to be prepared by the Court Investigators or Department of Social Services, depending upon which type of adoption proceeding you file. The parental rights of one biological parent may need to be terminated. An adoption can take anywhere from approximately six months to a year to complete.

It is possible to represent yourself in adoption proceedings. Many prospective parents represent themselves in their adoption cases. However, it is a good idea to consult with an attorney as to the proper forms to file and procedures to follow throughout your case. It is also helpful to visit your local law library for more information.

A stepparent adoption is where a person adopts his or her spouse’s or registered domestic partner’s child. You can access the forms under the Stepparent Adoption area on our webpage.

If you are not married to or in a registered domestic partnership with the child’s legal parent, you cannot do a stepparent adoption. You might want to talk to a lawyer to see what other options you have.