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Terminations & Adoptions
Orphans' Court Terminations & Adoptions
All termination and adoption cases are scheduled through the Orphans’ Court Administrator’s office. Approved Westmoreland County forms for the terminations and adoptions can be obtained at the Register of Wills office or on this page. The two family court judges are assigned based on the alphabetical listing of the oldest child’s last name.

Termination cases assignments are as follows:
  • A- K   Judge Scherer
  • L- Z   Judge Bilik-DeFazio

Adoption case assignments:
  • A-M   Judge Scherer
  • N-Z   Judge Bilik-DeFazio

There are three ways to obtain a termination of parental rights:
  • Involuntary Termination – The attorney must show by clear and convincing evidence the grounds to terminate the parental right of the birth parent. There are nine grounds for terminating parental rights.
  • Voluntary Relinquishment – The birth parent must appear in court to voluntarily relinquish parental rights.
  • Confirmed Consent – A confirmed consent hearing is similar to a voluntary relinquishment hearing, but the birth parent does not have to appear to testify.

The birth parent has a thirty-day appeal period to file an appeal with the Superior Court regarding the termination of their parental rights. If no appeal has been filed, the attorney can proceed with scheduling the adoption hearing.

Adoptions
The person being adopted must be present at the hearing. If over the age of 12, the person being adopted must testify and consent to the adoption. A name change for a person over the age of 18 who is being adopted must first take place before Judge Gary Caruso in civil court. After the name change, the attorney may schedule the adoption hearing with the Orphans’ Court administrator. A termination is not necessary in an adult adoption.

Foreign Adoptions
Instructions and forms on foreign adoptions can be found on the state website, Orphans' Court Procedural Rules Committee.