The adoptive parents and children will have to attend a court hearing so the judge can finalize the adoption.  There are also important final steps to take to get the child's birth certificate updated once the adoption is complete.  Visit this page to learn more about the hearing, how to prepare for the hearing, and important steps to take after the hearing.

Before the Hearing

Plan for the children and the adoptive parents to all attend the hearing. This is a special occasion and any other friends or family are welcome to attend too!

Arrive at the courthouse at least 20 minutes before the hearing so you have enough time to get through security and find the courtroom. 

Make sure to bring all of the following with you:

  • The children and any family/friends who want to attend.
  • A camera!  You are welcome to take pictures of the happy family, and the judge is usually happy to take photos with the family after the hearing if you like.
  • The Decree of Adoption.  You should complete all of the proposed Decree so the judge can sign it after the hearing.  Make sure you download, complete, and bring a copy of the Decree with you.

Decree of Adoption (pdf fillable)

Decree of Adoption (pdf)


What to Expect at the Hearing

The judge will ask some questions of the adoptive parents (and the children if they are old enough) to make sure all the requirements for an adoption are met.  The hearing is usually short, lasting no more than 10 minutes.

At the end of the hearing, the judge will be able to sign the Decree of Adoption.  Make sure to let the judge know that you brought the Decree with you so the judge can sign it right there for you.


Important Steps to Take After the Hearing

Certain agencies need copies of the Decree of Adoption to update their records, the child's birth certificate, and the child's name (if applicable).  You will have to do the following after you get the final Decree of Adoption:

  1. Mail a copy of the Decree of Adoption to the local child welfare agency.  This is required by law. 
  2. Contact the Vital Statistics Office in the state where the child was born to find out how to get the birth certificate changed. 

    If the child was born in Nevada, do the following:
  • Visit the Nevada Vital Records forms page and download the "Report of Adoption."
  • Fill out part I and part II and the second page of the form.  Bring the form to the family courthouse and ask to see the Clerk's Office.  The clerk will fill out part III.
  • Ask the clerk for certified copies of the Decree of Adoption (you may need several).


Make copies of the Decree of Adoption NOW and keep them in a safe place!  If you lose your Decree of Adoption (or give them all away to agencies), the court will not let you have any more copies without a specific written order from the judge.  This can be difficult and time-consuming, and you may have to pay more money to get copies later.

Get as many regular and certified copies that you think you will ever need.  You may want to get 5-10 copies just to be sure you always have some if needed.  Put them in a safe place where you can access them years later! 

  • Mail the Report of Adoption and a certified copy of the Decree of Adoption to Vital Statistics.  Include a $40 filing fee, plus $20 for any additional copies you want.  Mail the documents to:

Office of Vital Records
4150 Technology Way, Suite 104
Carson City, NV 89706

You should receive the new birth certificate in the mail in about 4-6 weeks.

About This Website

This website is intended to provide general information, forms, and resources for people who are representing themselves in Nevada's courts without a lawyer. There may be additional information you need to know depending on where your case is being handled. If you will be representing yourself in Clark County or Washoe County, you should visit those self-help websites for specialized forms and instructions.

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