In Re Anonymous, N.Y.L.J. June 20, 1977, p.12, col. 1.


Surrogate Laurino

    IN RE ANONYMOUS-In this proceeding for access and inspection of petitioner's adoption, the guardian ad litem appointed by the court for the petitioner's natural parents, has filed a report of his preliminary findings in this matter (see prior decision, Matter of Anonymous, 390 N.Y.S.2d 779).

    From the facts stated in his report, it appears that the guardian was not only [12:2] successful in locating the present wherabouts of his wards, but also upon communicating the purpose of this proceeding to them, he received their formal consent to reveal their present names and addresses to the petitioner.  He now seeks the court's advice and direction as to whether he should disclose this information to petitioner.  He has been joined in this application, albeit informally, by petitioner who requests that in view of the guardian's findings, the court waive a hearing in this matter, grant the petition and issue an order permitting access.

    Section 114 of the Domestic Relations Law provides that "no order for disclosure or access and inspection shall be granted except on good cause shown..."  While this statute provides for notice of proceeding to be served all interested parties (i.e., adopted child, adoptive parents and natural parents), it is not truly adversary in nature; but rather informational in the sense that it provides a procedural vehicle in which all relevant facts and circumstances can be presented to the court so that it may determine whether "good cause" has been shown.

    As one element of the finding of good cause, the interests and desires of the parties over whom the court has obtained jurisdiction are weighed together with all of the other facts presented.  It follows that regardless of the consent of the parties or even in default of their appearance the court must on its own be satisfied that good cause has been shown (cf. People v. Doe, 138 N.Y.S.2d 307).

    In this respect the proceeding envisioned by section 114 Domestic Relations Law is analogous to section 1408 of the Surrogate's Court Procedure Act which places the duty on the court to independently inquire into the genuineness of a will and the validity of its execution, despite the facts that all interested parties have either defaulted or consented to the probate of an instrument as a wil (Matter of Wilberg, 197 Misc. 511; see also Matter of Lawler, 182 Misc. 67).

    Accordingly, on the court's own motion the parties are directed to appear before this court on July 12, 1977 at 9:30 A.M. to give proof on the issue of "good cause."

    The foregoing is the decision and order of the court.

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