Adams County Clerk of Orphans' Court

Adams County Clerk of Orphans' Court

About Us 

Kelly A. Lawver, the Clerk of Orphans' Court is an elected officer of the Court and has custody of the seal of the Court. She is elected by the people of Adams County and commissioned by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

In Adams County, Orphans' Court is combined within the Clerk of Courts Office. The name "Orphans' Court" comes from a definition from the 18th century as a person lacking protection.  It is used today to define a child whose parents have passed away.  Orphans' Court was established to protect personal and property rights of individuals that cannot otherwise manage their own affairs.

Since Kelly's first term, she has worked at becoming more efficient while providing dignified, respectful and efficient service to all members of the community. Due to her efforts, she was able to eliminate TWO staff positions through attrition in 2012.  In 2013, she had placed another position "on hold", again through attrition, until the job description could be updated and adopted as a part-time position.   In 2015, a full-time position was merged within another position instead of filling a vacancy. In August 2020, another position was eliminated through attrition and merged with another position. 

Kelly has automated the Orphans' Court Office and now offers FREE access to the Orphans' Court index dating back to 1800.  For more information, go to Case Search. 

The primary function of the Clerk of Orphans' Court is as filing office and custodian of the Court records.  The Clerk accepts the pleadings for cases submitted for consideration by the court as well as documents not requiring court action but compulsory to be filed in an estate matter.  

The Adams County Orphans' Court is a division of the Clerk of Courts office and can be located in Room 103 of the Adams County Courthouse. 

The name "Orphans' Court" comes from a definition from the 18th century as a person lacking protection. It is used today to define a child whose parents have passed away. Orphans' Court was established to protect personal and property rights of individuals that cannot otherwise manage their own affairs.  

Orphans' Court records include administration and distribution of estate matters, adoptions, termination of parental rights, marriage applications, and incapacitated persons and minors. There are a few irregular legal issues that have found their home in the Orphans' Court. These include (but are not limited to) Petitions to Amend Birth Certificates, and Gestational Carrier petitions.

The Adams County Clerk of Orphans' Courts is committed to being a highly effective and empowered team of professionals dedicated to providing superior individualized services to each contact. Through constant training, education, and the efficient use of technology, we will meet the challenges of the always fluctuating workload.

The Orphans' Court staff cannot provide any legal advice.

Contact Us

Office Hours:
8:00a.m. – 4:30p.m.
Monday - Friday

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 Clerk of Orphans' Court Services

Information Center

Records include administration and distribution of estate matters, adoptions, termination of parental rights, marriage applications, and incapacitated persons and minors. 

Document Center

We have limited selection of forms available for public use.  If these forms do not include what you need, you may research your issue in the Adams County Law Library.

Filing Instructions

Read and follow all instructions completely. 
Filing office cannot give legal advice.
Don't forget to pay the filing fee when you e-file

Marriage Services

Anyone wishing to marry in Pennsylvania must obtain a PA marriage license. Applicants may apply in any county within Pennsylvania and use the license in any County.

Adoptions

There are different types of adoptions which include Adult Adoptions, Foreign Adoptions, Foster Parent, Private or Parent Initiated, and Stepparent Adoptions. 

Birth & Death Certificates

To complete the form and request by mail, complete the Birth Certificate or Death Certificate​ ​form and follow the instruction provided. Please allow 4 weeks for mail orders.​

Online Services

Pay Online

Here you will have the convenience of paying your fines and costs, or Court filing fees, and marriage application fees. Pay with VISA, MasterCard, Discover and Debit cards.

Online Services

We are pleased to offer our new online services which provide a fast, convenient, and centralized way to search and access cases and documents filed in our office.

Clerk of Orphans Court App

Search: Adams County Clerk of Court
The Adams County PA Clerk of Courts mobile application is an interactive app developed to help improve communication with area residents.