If you are seeking to adopt an infant domestically, one of the issues you’ll have to eventually address involves what expenses of the birth mother you are willing to pay. The expenses you can be accountable for are governed by state law, so every jurisdiction is different. As a general rule, you can be asked to pay reasonable medical, legal and counseling fees. You may also be allowed to pay some living expenses.
Though many adoptive parents are willing to help defray living expenses, advocates for birth mothers say doing so puts an additional burden on birth parents, as it places pressure on the birth parents to put the child up for adoption, even though the law allows them to change their mind. In fact, under the laws of every state, a birth parent cannot be compelled to terminate parental rights and an adoptive parent cannot be required to adopt a child.
A critical question for many adoptive parents centers on what happens if the birth parents changes her mind after the birth of the child. Can the adoptive parents get their money back? As a practical matter, probably not. If the birth parent had the resources to meet her own expenses, it’s likely she wouldn’t have asked for assistance. As a legal matter, though, the answer depends on state law. Some states consider any financial assistance given to the birth mom to be a gift, which cannot be revoked or taken back. A small number of states actually do recognize the validity of a reimbursement agreement between biological and adoptive parents, but such a contract is seldom put in place.
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To set up an appointment, call us in Haddonfield at 856-429-5005 or in Woodbury at 856-845-2555. We can also be reached in Philadelphia at 215-563-2150 or by e-mail. For clients with personal injury or workers’ compensation claims, we offer a free initial consultation, and will represent you on a contingency basis, only charging attorney fees if we recover compensation for you.
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