How Will Artificial Intelligence Improve the Adoption Process?

The answer to whether AI can help the adoption process is almost certainly yes, but many New Jersey adoption lawyers are measured in their optimism. Trial runs in various states have largely been unsuccessful as of 2023 with perhaps the exception of Family-Match in Florida. AI cannot predict human behavior, and while AI-powered predictive analysis most certainly can be a powerful tool for adoption agencies and social workers, there are implementation challenges and ethical concerns that must be overcome.

What Is Artificial Intelligence?

AI is a computer field with a primary goal of solving cognitive problems that are often linked to human intelligence. While the term AI can evoke heady sci-fi concepts, it is generally much more mundane in practice. Consider a social worker who must evaluate potential foster families for a hard-to-place child. It can be an enormous task, and if AI could effectively pare down the decisions to be made, the social worker could be much more effective and efficient in finding matches that work. Adoption professionals have long used software tools to match preferences. AI is ideally more than that. In this context, it is, according to one expert, the usage of science to predict long-term success.

The Adoption-Share Example

Thea Ramirez is currently at the forefront of this discussion. She is the CEO of the non-profit Adoption-Share, which developed an algorithm — one of the few adoption algorithms on the market as of 2023 — based on research conducted for online dating. The name of the algorithm is Family-Match, and, while there was a great deal of optimism for it initially, that appears to have been short-lived.

Tennessee canceled its trial run prior to launching it due to incompatibilities with its own system. Georgia, which is where Adoption-Share is based and, as far as what is known, provided it the greatest access to state-controlled data, ended the trial within a year. Virginia made the largest financial commitment to the nonprofit, ran a two-year trial and then opted not to continue with it.

Florida is the one state that continues to use it beyond the trial run by funding it with taxpayer money. But Florida is an interesting case. The child welfare system there is privatized. Neither the agencies that use the algorithm nor Adoption-Share itself are forthcoming with data, and an AP investigation revealed widespread dissatisfaction among the social workers using the system.

What Are the Ethical Concerns?

One of the core ethical concerns is access to private information and how algorithms use that data. The AP investigation revealed that Georgia allows Adoption-Share to track gender, sexual abuse and whether a child identifies as LGBTQIA+. Such information is generally tightly controlled and restricted in how it can be used. The AP also found that in Tennessee, the algorithm asked potential families if they were “unconventional” or “uncreative” and whether they “seek God’s help.” Social welfare advocates have expressed concerns that, as a society, we are using children as guinea pigs and that these tools may worsen racial disparities in the adoption process and discriminate against families.

A More Positive Outlook

The concerns and failures associated with Adoption-Share reinforce the need to methodically implement AI into the adoption process, with checks and balances in place. That said, there are already tremendous successes with AI within the business world that should provide us hope. One of the great challenges of the adoption system is the mountain of information that there is to climb, and AI, when used in a calculated and ethical manner, can allow people to focus on the human decisions that really matter.

Legal Help for Adoption in New Jersey

If you need legal assistance with adoption and are located in New Jersey, Cofsky & Zeidman is here to help. Our law firm has extensive experience navigating both private and agency adoptions. To schedule a consultation with one of our New Jersey adoption lawyers, contact us online, or call our Haddonfield office at (856) 429-5005 or our Woodbury office at (856) 845-2555.

What To Know About Adoption Costs

Today, there are five million adopted children in the country. While the emotional rewards of adoption are priceless, the financial expenses can be a huge obstacle for prospective parents. However, managing these adoption costs is possible and can be more affordable than you may think.

What Are the Costs of an Adoption?

If you are considering adopting a child, you will want to know the expected costs. The type of adoption can make a big difference. For example, private agency adoptions in the U.S. can range from $30,000 to $60,000. Along with that, if you decide to seek an independent adoption, you can expect a cost between $25,000 and $40,000. International adoptions can be more expensive, reaching beyond $50,000. And, adopting a family member can reduce costs to $3,000.

Before bringing a child into your home, you will undergo a home study. This process evaluates your suitability as an adoptive parent. The required background checks, childcare training and administrative expenses can range from $1,000 to $3,000. Sometimes, the adoption agency will cover those fees. If they do not, you will be responsible for the total costs.

There may be additional expenses. For example, you may have to cover services for birth parents, including counseling and medical expenses. If you select an open adoption, you could also be responsible for travel expenses for the birth parents. When you are aware of these potential expenses, you can plan better for the adoption.

How To Reduce Adoption Costs

Adopting through foster care can significantly reduce adoption costs. With over 400,000 children in foster care who are searching for permanent homes, there is a need for adoptive parents. Incentives and subsidies are often available, especially for those willing to adopt older children or those with special needs. Even with subsidies, prospective foster parents will need to cover some costs.

You may want to explore all potential tax breaks and employer benefits. Some employers offer reimbursement for adoption expenses. In 2023, adoptive parents can exclude up to $15,950 in employer-provided adoption expense reimbursement from their taxable income. Additionally, qualified adoptive parents with a modified adjusted gross income below $239,230 can receive a tax credit for qualified adoption expenses.

Along with that, there are other ways to manage your adoption costs. They include:

Research Grant Opportunities

If you’re considering adoption, it’s worth looking into the various grants and financial assistance programs available to support adoptive families. Both governmental and nonprofit organizations offer grants to help cover adoption expenses. When you apply for these grants, you can get additional financial support for adoption costs.

Create a Budget

You will want to create a budget. These details can give you all the potential expenses related to the adoption process. You will want to add the agency fees, legal costs, travel expenses, home study fees and any other expected costs to your budget. You can avoid any unexpected strain with a clear picture of your financial obligations.

Adoption Loans

Loans from financial institutions could be a viable option if you are considering adoption and need financial assistance. Some credit unions and banks offer specialized loans with favorable terms specifically designed for adoptive families. However, you always want to carefully review the terms and interest rates before committing to any loan.

Why You Need an Adoption Lawyer

A New Jersey adoption attorney will make sure you have a fair and legally sound adoption process. With their understanding of state laws, they can help you with the costs of adoption. If you plan to pursue a private adoption, an attorney will act on your behalf to protect your interests. Along with that, they will provide solid legal advice regarding agreements or other binding contracts, which can protect you against exploitation.

Reach Out To a New Jersey Adoption Attorney

If you want to know the costs of an adoption, you may want to talk to an experienced attorney. At Cofsky & Zeidman, we can help you understand what to expect regarding the costs of adoption in New Jersey. Schedule a consultation by calling 856-429-5005 today.

Everything You Should Know About Gestational Surrogacy

When someone carries a fetus during pregnancy for another person or couple, this is considered gestational surrogacy. In 2019, more than 9,000 gestational surrogacy pregnancies took place, which marked a significant increase from the 2,800 that occurred in 2011. Since the surrogacy laws changed in 2018 throughout New Jersey, there have been some important updates made to how this type of pregnancy should be handled.

Changes from New Jersey Gestational Carrier Agreement Act

Once the New Jersey Gestational Carrier Agreement Act passed in 2018, gestational surrogacy became a legally viable option for people who are exploring alternatives for having a child. Before this act, all paid arrangements were illegal and considered unenforceable.

While traditional surrogacy is currently legal in New Jersey, it’s possible only if the surrogate doesn’t receive compensation. It’s also important that there isn’t a pre-birth surrogacy agreement in place. Because of these stipulations, traditional surrogacy is relatively rare throughout the state.

Once this act went through, the gestational carrier gained the ability to waive all rights to the child. The intended parents must also assume parentage and all responsibilities once the child is born. A legal framework was created to provide guidelines for Gestational Carrier Agreements. If this type of agreement is made properly, it’s legally binding. There are, however, some requirements that all parties must abide by.

Difference Between Traditional Surrogacy and Compensated Surrogacy

When you’re considering your options, keep in mind that there are some differences between traditional and compensated surrogacy. As touched upon previously, traditional surrogacy is allowed if it’s not compensated. Any traditional surrogacy contracts that are signed are unenforceable.

For intended parents to claim their legal rights, they’ll need to wait until after the birth. At this time, they’ll only be able to seek adoption. Traditional surrogacy involves the biological mother and egg donor carrying the baby. The embryos are made with a donor’s or the father’s sperm.

Compensated surrogacy arrangements are currently legal. However, there are limits on the amount of compensation that can be paid. These payments must also be provided solely to cover legal fees and standard living expenses. The types of living expenses that can be paid for with this compensation include:

  • Clothing
  • Medical costs
  • Counseling services
  • Food
  • Shelter

Gestational Surrogacy Requirements

There is a set of guidelines that people must adhere to when it comes to gestational surrogacy. Every intended parent and surrogate needs to have legal representation until the contract has been successfully fulfilled. Each party must have their own representation.

When considering this arrangement, the surrogate needs to be at least 21 years old. They’ll also need to have given birth to one or more children before the current arrangement. The agreement can’t move forward until the surrogate goes through a comprehensive psychological and medical exam. As for the intended parent(s), a psychological examination must be taken.

When a surrogacy contract is made, it must include in-depth details of the arrangement. These details should include statements that the intended parents will accept custody following the birth, the surrogate has a right to make medical care decisions after they notify the parents, and the surrogate is willing to go through an embryo transfer while also providing the intended parents with custody after the birth.

The surrogacy process can officially start once both parties sign the contract. If you’re about to seek gestational surrogacy, schedule an appointment with our New Jersey adoption attorney to discuss your case.

Same-Sex Surrogacy Laws

Same-sex surrogacy is currently legal throughout New Jersey. LGBT+ intended parents and same-sex couples have the same rights that opposite-sex couples have. The only exception to this rule is requiring a sperm or egg donor to finalize the IVF procedure.

Use of Embryo, Donor Egg or Sperm

In New Jersey, using a donor embryo, sperm or egg doesn’t change the ability a non-biological parent has to request a pre-birth order during a gestational surrogacy. State laws indicate that a donor doesn’t have rights to the child and isn’t the legal parent.

If donor sperm is used with traditional surrogacy, a co-parent or stepparent adoption may need to be completed. In most situations, donor rights will be terminated. However, an extra contract might need to be written up for anyone who uses a donor.

If you’re thinking about forming a family through surrogacy, you may need legal assistance if a contract is being created and signed. Call our New Jersey adoption attorney today at (856) 429-5005 to speak with a representative or schedule your first consultation.

Everything You Need to Know About In Vitro Fertilization

In vitro fertilization (IVF) is one of the most common infertility treatments. If you’re considering IVF, it’s very important to understand how it works and what the legal implications are.

What Is In Vitro Fertilization?

IVF is a type of infertility treatment that involves creating a fertilized embryo in a lab environment. During IVF, doctors will collect eggs and sperm and then combine them to create an embryo. Once there’s a viable embryo, the doctors can then implant it in a person’s uterus to result in a successful pregnancy. The uses of IVF include:
Ovulation disorders where the body fails to release eggs on time.
Sperm disorders, such as low sperm count, that make it harder for sperm to reach an egg.
Fallopian tube blockages that prevent eggs from reaching the uterus.
Any situation where a donor egg, donor sperm or surrogate is being used.
Genetic disorders where some embryos might not be viable.
Uterine conditions that make it harder for eggs to implant.

Understanding the Process of In Vitro Fertilization

Once you develop a treatment plan with your doctor, IVF usually takes around two to three weeks. Your experience with in vitro fertilization may vary a little depending on why you are receiving the treatment.

Typically, the most complicated part of the IVF process is collecting the eggs. To get suitable eggs for IVF, the person providing the eggs goes through a regimen of hormone medications that encourage their ovaries to produce more eggs. After a couple of weeks, your medical team will collect the eggs by guiding a thin needle up through the vagina and into the ovarian follicles. The sperm collection part is usually more straightforward. It’s usually done through masturbation but can be done by inserting a needle into the testicles if necessary.

Once your medical team has eggs and sperm, it will combine them in a controlled lab environment. About two to six days after egg collection, your doctors will use a thin tube to insert the embryo through the vagina and into the uterus. If everything goes well, a positive pregnancy test will appear in 12 days.

Exploring the Pros and Cons of In Vitro Fertilization

IVF is one of the safest and most successful forms of assisted reproductive technology. It makes it straightforward to treat several fertility issues, and it also allows you to easily work with a surrogate or use a donor for your pregnancy. IVF is so effective that 55% of people who try it get pregnant on their first try.

However, keep in mind that in vitro fertilization is not entirely risk-free. The embryo doesn’t always implant, and the collection and implantation procedures can lead to soreness, cramping, bleeding and ovarian swelling. The other potential downsides of IVF are that IVF costs are quite high, and implanting multiple embryos at once can lead to an unwanted pregnancy of twins, triplets or more.

The Legal Implications of In Vitro Fertilization

Due to the way it works, IVF can result in many situations where you might need a New Jersey adoption lawyer. If you use donor sperm or a donor egg, you may need to fill out paperwork to ensure you and your partner are both listed as the infant’s legal parents. There can also be some additional legal agreements you need to work out if you are using IVF with a surrogate. You will need to define how you want to compensate the surrogate for her medical bills and discuss how involved you want to be in the pregnancy. If you skip these arrangements and rely on a verbal donor agreement, you can end up with unexpected parties having parental rights over your child.

Cofsky & Zeidman are happy to help people planning on using in vitro fertilization, and we also assist with a variety of other family planning and adoption matters as well. We help people throughout the Haddonfield and Woodbury regions find ways to expand their families. To learn more about our New Jersey adoption lawyer services, call 856-429-5005 or fill out and submit our contact form.

The Effect of the Dobbs Decision on Adoptions

Did the Supreme Court Decision Affect Adoptions in the U.S.?

Many proponents of tighter abortion control argued that an increase in unwanted pregnancies would lead to more adoptions. More than a year after the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision on June 24, 2022, it remains unclear whether that is true and whether there have been negative impacts. New Jersey adoption lawyers note that there are many difficulties not only in assessing the data but also collecting it.

What the Case Was About

The Dobbs decision is a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court that the U.S. Constitution does not confer a right to abortion. The decision overruled two notable other decisions: Roe v. Wade in 1973 and Planned Parenthood v. Casey in 1992. With this ruling, control over abortion returned to the states. Many states immediately enacted new laws restricting or prohibiting abortion, and some dormant laws once again became active.

New Jersey’s Response

Anticipating the decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy signed the Freedom of Reproductive Choice Act into law in January 2021. This law provides women in the state a legal right to abortion.

No Requirement for Domestic Adoption Data

One of the great challenges in assessing how the Dobbs decision affected adoptions in the U.S.—including something as seemingly simple as determining whether the adoption rate is rising or falling—is that there is no requirement for states to report infant abortion data publicly or even aggregate it. That means that we need to rely on adoption agencies and other sources that choose to share their data. Another component that makes this difficult is estimating the number of women who choose to parent their children rather than give them up for adoption.

Depends Upon Who You Ask

The reality is that we may be years out from being able to look back on the available data and have a clear picture. Even in the states that have recently enacted stringent abortion laws, there has been great variance according to the National Council for Adoption. In Texas, for instance, where the laws are among the strictest, some agencies have reported an increase in adoptions as high as 30% while others in the area have reported little to no change. The Gladney Center for Adoption in Texas, which is one of the agencies to report a 30% increase, also stated that inquires by women about putting children up for adoption have increased by 55%.

The COVID Effect

New Jersey adoption lawyers and other observers warn that we must consider these numbers within the context of the pandemic. In 2019 and 2020, domestic adoptions fell 24% nationwide, so some increase in rates is expected regardless of the Dobbs decision.

Other Effects of the Decision

Twelve states now ban abortions as early as six weeks. That has resulted in a very small window in which women can make the choice between abortion and adoption. According to ACF Adoptions in Florida, the typical call to learn about adoption happened in the second trimester, but the agency is now receiving many more calls from women four and five weeks pregnant.

Another concern is whether more babies with medical challenges will be put up for adoption. Adoption experts fear that if the number increases by 25% or more, then there will not be enough families for these babies. Many are also concerned that predatory baby brokers will become more problematic as there will be more vulnerable women available for them to exploit.

Legal Assistance for Both Birth and Adoptive Parents

If you need legal assistance because you want to adopt or are considering putting a child up for adoption, the law firm of Cofsky & Zeidman would like to help. Donald C. Cofsky is a New Jersey adoption lawyer who has personally handled more than 1,500 adoption proceedings. To set up a consultation, contact us online or call us in Haddonfield at (856) 429-5005, in Woodbury at (856) 845-2555, or in Philadelphia at (215) 563-2150.

How Adoption Stigmas Have Changed Since the ’70s

The National Council for Adoption conducted a study in 2022 that compared adoption stigmatization over the years. In the 1970s, 70% of birth mothers who placed their children for adoption felt stigmatized in some way. That number went up to 90% in the 2010s.

Adoptions Have Changed

In many cases in the 1970s, no one was aware that the adoption took place at all. There was a higher prevalence of closed adoptions, and in those arrangements, adoptees don’t have access to the original birth records. As a result, relationships or contact between the birth family and the family who adopts usually didn’t happen at all. Such things were kept firmly separate by way of an agency, and the process was anonymized and mediated. Fortunately, these days, many people consult a New Jersey adoption attorney throughout the process so that all parties involved are on the same page.

Who Stigmatizes Adoption?

The National Council of Adoption survey found that most of the people who took part cited their own family members as one of the main sources of stigmatization. This included parents and other immediate family but also included extended family as well. Stigmatization could also come from their circle of friends and even people who work in healthcare. Yet another source of stigma comes from religious leaders and other members of the clergy.

But the question persists: What causes the stigma to begin with, and what causes this type of behavior in those who are supposed to help people? By some people’s reasoning, now that it is less of a stigma to have a child out of wedlock, there’s all the more reason to keep the child and not give them up for adoption.

The Women of Then and Now

There are far fewer teenage pregnancies than in the past on average. According to the study, in the 2010s, women were an average of 29 years old when they decided to place their child up for adoption.

Of these women, 60% were in a marriage, and over two-thirds of them held either a master’s or bachelor’s degree. This helps researchers rule out their age or education as determining factors for their decision to go with adoption. These women face stigma because people feel that if they are the same age as many of their peers who have children and they have an education that allows them to obtain gainful employment they should be committed to raising a child when they become pregnant.

In the past, many women had put their children up for adoption because they were young and unwed when they became pregnant or because they had no education and consequently no means by which to support a child on their own. As a result, it was deemed more understandable when a woman in these circumstances put her child up for adoption.

The Spence-Chapin Research Study on Adoption

The NORC, the University of Chicago’s research organization, came out with the Spence-Chapin Research Study on Adoption in December 2022. This study took a closer look at the mothers who used Spence-Chapin Adoption Services.

The study found that there are double standards at play, many of which are harmful and untrue. Among these are the idea that a mother must be at the peak of her career, have all her finances all in order, and be completely stable and free of work stress to raise a child.

Race Plays a Role

There are racial factors at play as well. Fifteen percent of white women said they hadn’t experienced any stigmatization for their decision to go with adoption. That number is down to 7% for black women who were posed with the same question.

Black women said they had to deal with less perceived judgment from clergy members. Unfortunately, there was an increase in the amount of stigmatization from friends, parents, and extended family members.

Contact Cofsky & Zeidman today at (856) 429-5005. Donald Cofsky is a New Jersey adoption attorney who will work with you without judgment when you make the decision that is best for you.

How Adopted Children Can Influence Their Parents

What Influence Do Adopted Children Have on Their Parents?

The Early Growth and Development Study, or EGDS, is a prospective adoption study that was conducted over a long term, launched by a psychiatrist from Yale. The study’s goal was to find out what influence adopted children have on their parents. Some of the results were surprising.

Shifting the Focus

When it comes to child-parent relationships, most people think of how parents influence their children first. But according to the EGDS’s findings, it may be just as important to consider the reverse, particularly in adopted children. EDGS has been around since 1994 and is still ongoing.

New data has confirmed that genetics play a major role in these relationships, and they are anything but one-sided. Researchers’ findings bear some indication that an understanding of this relationship from both angles can be helpful in resolving family disputes and living harmoniously together.

Four Key Findings

The findings that EGDS investigators made over the course of these studies fall into four overall categories. The first is that the genetic makeup of a child may stir up specific types of responses from the parents. The second is that a child’s genetics play a part in what they need from their parents.

Thirdly, according to the EGDS’s findings, the genetic makeup of a child will have an influence on the way they interact with their parents. It is particularly the case with the pattern in relationships or behavior commonly referred to as “a downward spiral.” This works like a negative feedback loop where each person’s bad reaction fuels the other person’s, and the situation worsens exponentially with each interaction.

The data from this project showed how adoptive children’s genetics can make or break these unhealthy and highly compelling patterns. Depending on what their genetic makeup is, it may work to either speed up the cycle or effectively undo it.

The fourth and final finding from the compilation of research involved corroboration with some of the most critical responsibilities that parents have.

Some of the findings from these studies in the EGDS might seem like common sense. For instance, if the child is generally happy and pleasant, they’re much less likely to elicit negative reactions from their parents. However, the data dives deeper and provides more specific insights, such as the fact that these negative or positive reactions are likely to be more pronounced when they come from the father figure.

But if the child is genetically predisposed to anxiety or depression, for instance, these downward spirals of parent-child interactions are much more likely to occur. The studies also show that once families are caught up in these habits, the child’s genetics will likely exacerbate and accelerate this cycle.

The research indicates that there is valuable information to be learned by looking at the genetic predispositions of the child’s birth parents, especially if you’re an adoptive parent working with a New Jersey adoption attorney. According to these findings, whether or not the parents had strong social connections or if they tended towards less healthy mental habits and patterns of activities plays a key role in the family life that their biological children will have.

Process of Elimination

Studies like the EGDS benefit from the adoption component built into the design. Thanks to this fact, researchers were able to rule out common genes that are shared between parents and their children since that can’t be a cause of associations between the child and the rearing parents.

When rearing parents exhibit symptoms like depression and anxiety, it can have an effect on the anxiety, depression, and other behavioral issues in the child. This suggests that there is an environmental aspect of the behavioral phenomenon. However, since the symptoms of depression seen in birth parents were also related to the behavior issues that their child struggles with, it seems to researchers that this environmental component goes along with some degree of genetic influence.

Contact the law offices of Cofsy & Zeidman today for a New Jersey adoption attorney who will help with your case. We serve New Jersey and Pennsylvania. You can reach Donald Cofsky at (856) 429-5005.

The Adoption Tax Credit

Understanding the 2023 Adoption Tax Credit

In 2023, adoptive parents can qualify for a federal adoption tax credit, which acts as a refund depending on how much taxes they owe. Every year, around 135,000 children and adolescents are adopted. Before you complete the adoption proceedings, you should know if you qualify for this year’s adoption tax credit.

Federal Adoption Tax Credit

The adoption tax credit is designed to help families reduce some of the costs associated with completing any type of adoption. To obtain this year’s tax credit, the money must be claimed on next year’s tax return. A person’s financial situation determines how much money they’ll receive when claiming the credit. The highest available amount for every eligible child is $15,950. If the adoption was finalized in 2022, the credit is $14,890.


The limits placed on the tax credit are based entirely on the modified adjusted gross income you accrue during 2023. If your income is higher than $279,230, you can’t claim the full credit. However, a lower amount of this credit is available if you make anywhere from $239,230 to $279,230.

How This Credit Works

The tax credits you receive are mainly based on the qualified adoption expenses you’re tasked with spending. These expenses mainly include:

  • Agency fees
  • Legal fees
  • Travel
  • Adoption court fees
  • Meals during your travels

If you owe $8,000 in taxes and receive a tax credit of $10,000, you will have $2,000 left over for the future. In the event that the child has special needs or is adopted directly through the government, the total credit is provided without taking expenses into account.

Claiming the Credit

These tax credits are meant to be claimed during the year that the adoption is completed. The types of documents that people might require when filling out their tax forms include:

  • Adoption agency placement agreement
  • Child’s social security number
  • Court documents
  • Adoption decree

Since your child’s Social Security Number is necessary, it’s not possible to claim this credit before the adoption is finalized.

Is the Credit Always Available?

There are several additional considerations that might apply when you’re trying to claim the credit. If the adoption is eventually unsuccessful, the tax credit is still available. Expenses that build up when attempting to adopt a child can be reimbursed. However, this benefit doesn’t apply to international adoptions. In this scenario, the adoption must be successfully completed.

Adoptive families that wish to claim the adoption tax credit can fill out IRS Form 8839 to do so. When a married couple tries to claim this credit, they usually need to file a joint return. When filing separately, specific requirements need to be met before claiming the credit. Call our New Jersey adoption lawyer today if you have questions about these requirements.

What Happens When Expenses Are Higher Than Liabilities?

Tax credits can either be refundable or used as an actual credit on your taxes. When a credit is refundable, the amount of the credit that exceeds your tax liability will be provided to you as a refund once you’ve submitted your tax return. Since the federal adoption tax credit is considered a real credit, it can only be used to reduce the tax liability you have.

Let’s say you owe $10,000 for the year but are eligible for a tax credit of $13,000. The refund you receive will cover the $10,000. However, the remaining $3,000 doesn’t just disappear. When the adoption tax credit is higher than the tax liability, it can be moved forward for as long as five years. In this scenario, the remaining $3,000 could be put toward your next tax return.

What Employer Reimbursements Involve

Some employers have adoption benefit programs that employees can gain access to. These programs often reimburse some of the adoption expenses, which can then be excluded from the income you report on your tax credit. Any benefits you receive from this program are tax deductible. Employer contributions often range from $5,000-$25,000.


Even when someone receives this exclusion, they’re able to claim the tax credit for any remaining adoption expenses. However, the tax credit can’t be used for the same expenses that were excluded by your employer.

Whether you seek a private adoption or agency adoption, the process of adopting a child can be a lengthy one. With legal assistance, you can obtain counsel throughout the entire adoption process. Call our New Jersey adoption lawyer Donald Cofsky today at (856) 429-5005 to schedule your first appointment.

The Costs of LGBTQ Family Formation

How Much It Costs to Form an LGBTQI+ Family

Over the past decade, a considerable amount of progress has been made when it comes to LGBTQI+ civil rights, which has made it easier for LGBTQI+ people to start families. According to the 2023 LGBTQI+ Economic and Financial (LEAF) survey, around 36% of LGBTQI+ respondents are parents or primary guardians for one or more children. Regardless of how you choose to start a family, there are certain costs you’ll be tasked with paying.

Adoption Costs

If you’re looking to adopt a child into your LGBTQI+ family, the costs vary substantially depending on the adoption method you choose. Every type of adoption comes with different requirements and processes as well. For instance, you could decide to take part in an open or closed adoption.

In a closed adoption, the adoptive and biological parents don’t have much contact or details about one another. Open adoptions are less stringent in this regard. In most cases, the child’s birth parents and adoptive parents will exchange contact information and even maintain relationships over time. These adoptions usually cost anywhere from $8,000-$30,000. The other types of adoptions and their respective price ranges are:

  • Domestic or international adoptions – $25,000-$75,000
  • Independent adoptions – $15,000-$40,000
  • Private or public agency adoptions – $2,000-$50,000
  • Foster to adoption – $1,000-$5,000
  • Second-parent adoption – $2,000-$3,000

The factors that determine how much you pay during this process depend on the type of adoption you believe is best for your LGBTQI+ family. If you have questions about the adoption process, a New Jersey adoption attorney might be able to help.

Surrogacy Costs

If you aren’t interested in adoption, another solution that might interest you involves surrogacy. For instance, gestational surrogacy takes place when a donor’s fertilized egg is implanted through in vitro fertilization (IVF). It’s possible for the egg and sperm to come from a donor or biological parent. Surrogacy is expensive and can cost anywhere from $60,000 to $150,000.

There are many factors that determine what costs you pay. For instance, you could pay anywhere from $25,000 to $50,000 as surrogate compensation. If you’re able to find a close friend or family member who will be an egg donor or surrogate without requiring compensation, your costs can be reduced significantly. While surrogates often require compensation of around $50,000, these costs can be higher if the pregnancy involves cesarean delivery or leads to the birth of twins.

During this process, you might also need to pay for the surrogate’s lost wages and living expenses, which could be $25,000 or more. Healthcare costs add up quickly when paying monthly premiums, deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance. Out-of-pocket expenses can be high since many insurance providers don’t provide much coverage for fertility treatment. Additional expenses come in the form of background checks and health screenings, which can add a few thousand dollars to your total costs.

In Vitro Fertilization and Artificial Insemination Costs

There are two primary types of assisted reproductive technology, which include in vitro fertilization and artificial insemination. In vitro fertilization has a success rate of around 50% or higher. During this process, eggs are retrieved from a woman’s ovaries, after which they are fertilized in a lab and transferred to a uterus. An IVF cycle takes around three weeks. However, the entire IVF process requires three cycles, which can take up to nine weeks. The costs range from $45,000 to $70,000.

Artificial insemination costs anywhere from $200-$2,000 and involves delivering sperm to a woman’s uterus or cervix. The two types of artificial insemination include intrauterine insemination (IUI) and intracervical insemination (ICI). The ICI process costs less.

Costs of Protecting LGBTQI+ Family

When you’re forming an LGBTQI+ family, you may eventually pay out-of-pocket legal expenses to secure your parentage. Legal fees occur when contracts need to be drafted and reviewed. Keep in mind that legally establishing parentage for you and your partner requires a court judgment, which can cost anywhere from $4,000 to $7,000. While certain states are currently taking steps to make this process simpler and more streamlined, progress still needs to be made to reduce costs. If you’re in the midst of creating an LGBTQI+ family, legal expenses are difficult to avoid altogether.

Starting a family can be costly for LGBTQI+ parents. However, there are numerous options available when building a family, which provides you with a certain amount of control over what the final costs will be. Call our New Jersey adoption attorney today at (856) 429-5005 if you’re getting ready to start the adoption process or go through assisted reproduction.

Surrogacy vs. Adoption

Should Your Family Pick Surrogacy or Adoption?

An estimated 2 to 4% of people in the United States have adopted, but over one-third of the population have at least given the option a thought. Many have also considered surrogacy. Both arrangements come with advantages and obstacles, and one might be the right fit for your family.

Genetic Factors

Surrogacy and adoption involve distinctly different processes. It gives intended parents a significant advantage if they know the steps they’ll have to take and everything that goes into these processes before they jump into one or the other. These are some of the main differences to bear in mind between surrogacy and adoption.


With gestational surrogacy, an embryo transfer is used to impregnate the surrogate mother with the genetic materials of the donors or parents. This means that the surrogate mother has no relation to the child even though she carries the baby to term. Rather, the baby is related to the parents or donors.


When you adopt, on the other hand, the birth mother is still biologically related to the child, and the adoptive couple is not. This may come with deep emotional implications between the birth parents and your child later on in life. All of this is on top of the potential legal challenges that this process may present as well.


Consider the genetic parents, yourselves as the adoptive couple, and the child you adopt as well. Think of how you’re going to handle the situation going forward. As the child grows up, it helps to have a plan in place for all of the difficult conversations so that there are no unpleasant surprises along the way.


With surrogacy, it’s often helpful that you are biologically connected from a legal point of view. For one thing, it gives intended parents more say over how the surrogacy process goes.


It’s possible for either one or both of the intended parents to be genetically related to their surrogate child. If a biological relation to your child is something that is important to you and your partner, it’s important to discuss the matter openly and be honest about your feelings.

Money Matters

Surrogacy comes with no shortage of fees and expenses. This is to cover the process of transferring the embryo as well as to compensate the surrogate mother and pay the healthcare costs associated with pregnancy and delivery. For all these reasons, surrogacy is by far the more costly option when compared to adoption.


Program fees, agency fees, and myriad professional services are inevitable no matter which of these routes you take. It’s going to be an expensive process whether you choose surrogacy or adoption, but the former comes with the most additional expenses.


Most of the time, the intended parents pay their surrogate. This is meant to compensate them for the time and effort and everything that they sacrificed throughout their pregnancy and the rest of the process. Payments from the intended parents are for living expenses, which are to cover things like rent, other bills, and groceries.


Unfortunately, couples who want to try surrogacy might not have as many opportunities to seek financing because surrogacy lacks a federal tax credit. If you choose to adopt, on the other hand, the adoption federal tax credit is a resource you may have access to. This is something that a New Jersey adoption attorney may be able to help you with.

The Matching Process

The process of matching with your child or surrogate mother is a major part of either process. As such, it can be the source of a significant amount of stress and anxiety.


In most adoptions, the intended parents decide on the kind of adoption situation they’re comfortable with. They can choose some things about what they’re looking for in a child, such as race or whether the child has been exposed to any substances. Adoptive parents should also decide if they want an arrangement with contact between the birth parents and child after they’ve been placed with the adoptive parents.


With adoption, the birth mother gets the final say as to where the child ends up. For more of a shared, reciprocal matching process, surrogacy might be what you’re looking for. Couples get to look through potential surrogates, and then the surrogates they choose have the opportunity to express mutual interest.


Call Cofsy & Zeidman for a New Jersey adoption attorney who can help you decide which of these arrangements is best for you. Contact our offices in New Jersey and Pennsylvania at (856) 429-5005.