In Hawaii, a legal adoption is a lengthy process with several phases. Here are some important things to know before commencing the process 

In Hawaii, you can adopt a child if you 

  • Are single or married and at least 18 years old   
  • Are able to support a child financially and provide a safe home environment  
  • Can pass a criminal and Child Welfare Services background check  

The first step is to gather all required documents, complete the required supplemental forms, and file a packet with the adoption clerk. Some of those documents includea certified copy of the child’s birth certificate, petitioner’s marriage certificate, a death certificate for the child’s mother or father if applicable, and a certified copy of the judgement of termination of parental rights.   

A complete list of potential documents and forms to be submitted to the adoption clerk can be found here: 

Adoption clerks often request additional paperwork and modifications to submitted documents, so prospective adoptive parents should build in extra time to provide more information and confirm that already provided forms and paperwork are up to date. If anything is incomplete, the court will not set a hearing.  

Once the background check is approved and the adoption packet is complete, the adoption clerk will set a hearing date. At the hearing, the judge will confirm the information provided and speak with the prospective adoptive parents and the child (if he or she is old enough) about the relevant background and the reasons for the adoption. If the adoption is uncontestedthe court can then move forward to finalize the process 

For assistance with all facets of adoption, contact Seth Harris, senior associate with the PMK Family Law Division, at 

In the next blog post, learn more about the difference between contested and uncontested adoptions.