Cooperative Adoption in New Jersey

How a Cooperative Adoption Works in New Jersey

Flexible arrangements are often necessary in the wake of an adoption because the birth family does not completely want to cut off contact with the child. Through a cooperative adoption, there is some leeway to adopt a child and still maintain some sort of relationship with the birth parents. While New Jersey is not one of the 23 states that have statutes allowing written and enforceable contact agreements between parents, cooperative adoption is still an option.

Challenges of Cooperative Adoptions

There are some challenges presented by cooperative adoptions. The new adoptive parents will often want a fresh start with their child and may not wish to have a great deal of contact with the birth parents. At the same time, they won’t necessarily want their adoptive child to know yet that they are adopted. Parents may wish to hold on to the information surrounding the adoption until the child is older. Furthermore, they might feel as if continuing to have the birth family in the child’s life would be ceding some element of control of the parenting.

However, the birth family may not want to completely give up the child to someone else. In some cases, maintaining contact with the child can be a condition for putting the child up for adoption or allowing a family to assume responsibility for their child.

No Enforceable Agreements in New Jersey

Many cases allow for enforceable agreements that govern the relationship between the adoptive family and the birth family. These involve commitments that must be kept. However, New Jersey is not a state that has statutes that address enforceable cooperative adoption agreements. Therefore, any type of agreement that you reach with the birth family would essentially be a handshake-type agreement that you couldn’t get in trouble for violating.

Benefits of Cooperative Adoption

However, just because the law does not specifically provide for a cooperative adoption does not mean that you will completely want to rule it out for your adoption. It can help ease the transition for the child if he or she is older at the time of adoption and knows the birth family. The stability provided by some sort of a cooperative adoption can help facilitate the process and make it easier for the child. In addition, allowing contact with the birth mother may reduce some of the feelings of abandonment that an older adopted child might feel. These are all factors that you need to consider when deciding what role to give the birth family.

With that in mind, you should consider all the potential pros and cons when deciding whether to allow the child to have any contact with the birth family. If you do allow contact, you should think about how much there should be. There are reasons why legal counsel may be in favor of or against these types of adoptions.

Making a Contract

Even though New Jersey law does not deal with cooperative adoption agreements, there is nothing to prevent two private parties from agreeing to some sort of arrangement so long as it meets contract law requirements. If you enter into this type of arrangement as adoptive parents, you will have the ability to amend the agreement as you see fit if you decide that it is not working out as you intend. This agreement can be written or unwritten because the law would treat them both the same. New Jersey adoption attorneys can advise you on how to implement cooperative adoption in the state.

If the birth parents want to maintain contact with the adoptive child, you will need to figure out the parameters of that contact. As the legal parents of the child, you have the ability to make whatever determination is in the best interests of your family. If you do not feel that it is best for the child, you do not have to permit contact between him or her and the birth parents.

Legal Assistance

Turn to Cofsky & Zeidman when you need New Jersey adoption attorneys who can help you with all of your adoption-related legal needs. Call us today in Haddonfield at (856) 429-5005 to set up your initial consultation. You can reach our office in Woodbury at (856) 845-2555.

The Costs Associated With Adoption

How Much Does Adoption Cost?

About 135,000 children are adopted in the U.S. each year. If you are considering adoption, chances are you are also researching how much the process will cost; the financial expenses associated with adoption vary according to the options you choose, such as a domestic versus an international adoption or a private or a public one. Your New Jersey adoption lawyer can help you better understand the process and choose the options that are best suited for your family.

Private vs. Public Adoption

Private adoptions usually involve a family that adopts a newborn from parents who voluntarily put the child up for adoption. When a family adopts a child from a foster home, the process is referred to as a public adoption. Private adoptions typically require the parents to pay a fee for a home study. The home study fee may range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars. In many cases, the state or local government will cover the costs of a home study for parents who adopt a waiting child from a foster home. Individuals may also avoid fees by fostering a child, though the foster process may involve an elevated level of risk.

Agency vs. Independent Adoption

Parents who opt for an agency adoption may choose one of two routes: agency adoption or independent adoption. During an agency adoption, an agency works with the parents throughout the entire process. The agency even undertakes the task of finding the right expectant mother for couples who enlist their services. Parents who choose the independent route must advertise and network to find the right expectant mother on their own. On average, people who choose independent adoption can expect to save a few thousand dollars on financial expenses. However, both pathways to adoption typically cost more than $30,000.

Domestic vs. International Adoption

International adoptions tend to cost slightly more than domestic ones. There are also other key differences. For example, parents who wish to adopt an infant should choose to adopt domestically because with international adoptions, six to 12 months will typically pass before the child is placed with the adoptive parents. International adoptions also have a greater potential to involve unknowns relating to the child’s birth and the biological mother. Adoptive parents may also be required to budget for costly international travel when adopting a child from another country.

Additional Expenses Associated With Adoption

There are several types of fees that are typically associated with adoption, especially when parents opt to proceed with the process privately. Expectant parents may be required to pay program and application fees that could range from a few thousand dollars to more than $10,000 if they work with an agency. The cost of adoption also may include fees for hiring an attorney.

It is highly advisable that people work with a New Jersey adoption lawyer as the process typically involves complex family law issues in addition to requiring a substantial financial investment. Factoring in adoption attorney costs is critical as consulting with a professional will help you protect your legal rights and financial investment. Parents who wish to adopt a newborn are often required to cover the birth mother’s expenses as well. Whether working with an adoption agency or proceeding with an independent adoption, the parents must also cover the cost of advertising and networking to find the right birth mother and child.

Get the Legal Protection You Need

The adoption process may be as short as one month or as lengthy as one year or even longer. It only makes sense that you would want to protect yourself throughout such a critical process by hiring an adoption attorney. Your New Jersey adoption lawyer can advise you at every step, especially with determining the best road to adoption for your particular circumstances, including choosing an agency if you decide to go that route. If you are unsure about the adoption process, your first call should be to a trustworthy adoption lawyer. Contact Cofsky & Zeidman at our main Haddonfield office by calling (856) 429-5005, and let us assist you as you begin the journey to make your family whole. You can also reach us at our office in Woodbury at (856) 845-2555.

4 Reasons an Adoption Can Fail

Most Common Reasons Adoptions Fail

There are many reasons why adoptions fail, and when it does happen, it can be heartbreaking for all parties involved. While many adoptions are completely successful, a 2010 study found about 6 to 11% of all adoptions are disrupted before they can be finalized. When an adoption fails, it’s always worth consulting your NJ adoption lawyer so you can be sure that you know what options you have to help deal with the situation going forward.

A Failed Match

Perhaps the most common reason for why adoptions fail in New Jersey is when a failed match occurs. A failed match is when the expectant parent decides that they want to be the one to raise the child after all, after already having chosen an adoptive family. This will usually happen either just before or just after the child has been born. What many often don’t realize, even if the birth parent and the adoptive parent have already finalized the adoption by this point, if the birth parent changes their mind about the adoption, then by law, the adoptive parents no longer have any legal claim over the child.

A Disrupted Adoption

Disrupted adoptions tend to occur most commonly with older children who have been adopted from foster care. Adoptive parents can discover that they are not yet properly prepared or adequately trained to take care of children with challenging mental, physical or emotional issues. As a result of this, prospective adoptive parents may decide that they no longer wish to continue with the adoption process.

An adoption can be disrupted after a child has been placed and living in a home, but before the adoption has been finalized in the eyes of the law. When adoption fails, the child will be placed either with new parents or placed back into foster care.

Dissolved Adoptions

In the case of a dissolved adoption, the adoption will have already been legally finalized before it breaks down. Dissolved adoptions are very rare, and will, for the most part, only ever occur in an extreme case where the child’s special needs are unable to be fully taken care of by the adoptive parents. This could be due to many reasons, such as a lack of resources, a lack of information, or an inability to meet the high costs that the special needs of the child require.

Once the process of a dissolved adoption begins, the child and the adoptive parents’ relationship will be severed, and the child will either be placed back into foster care or new adoptive parents will be found.

A NJ adoption lawyer can help you withdraw from an adoption if you meet the child and they have a condition or problems that weren’t disclosed or you do not feel you can handle.

Contested Adoption

A contested adoption can be one of the more challenging reasons why adoptions fall apart. This will occur when one of the child’s biological parents decides they wish to place the child up for adoption, but the other biological parent is against it. In many cases, the father of the child may be completely unaware of the fact that the mother is pregnant, or in other cases, perhaps the person who believes himself to be the father discovers that he is not actually the father. In other situations, the father may feel that he was pressured into placing the child up for adoption or has since simply changed his mind.

In the case that the biological father refuses to rescind his parental rights and wishes to parent the child himself, then all parties involved must go to court. The case will then be put before a judge who will decide based on the law and the father’s situation what’s best for the child and whether or not to stop the adoption. In this instance, a NJ adoption attorney can help provide any required information and assist with any necessary paperwork that will be instrumental during the court hearings.

To confer with a NJ adoption lawyer, contact Cofsky & Zeidman LLC at (856) 429-5005 to schedule a consultation in Haddonfield. We can help you learn more about your options if you are facing challenges with an adoption.

Different Types of Adoptions You Should Understand

Types of Adoption in New Jersey

Many people are unaware of just how many types of adoption there are to consider from private and agency adoptions to open and closed adoptions. About 59% of non-stepparent adoptions involve children from the foster system, but the remainder comes in many other forms. Ahead, we’ll go through many of the different adoption types that are available to you in New Jersey.

Private Adoptions

Private adoptions are one of the most common forms of adoption, especially for parents adopting infants. When undertaking a private adoption, the birth parents place their child up for adoption and interview prospective families until they find someone they like. The birth parents can either search for families through word-of-mouth, search through profiles, or seek assistance from an adoption agency.

As stated at the outset, private adoptions are the most common of all adoptions for those looking to adopt an infant. It can often be difficult to place infants with a new family when it comes to public adoptions or adoptions from foster care, and while these absolutely can happen from time to time, they are much rarer than adopting privately.

Agency Adoptions

There are essentially two main forms of agency adoptions:

Public agencies: Public agencies exist with the purpose of finding new homes for children in the custody of the state. Children could be in the custody of the state due to neglect or misconduct from their birth family or due to abandonment. In some cases, parents will voluntarily relinquish their parental rights to a state agency.

Many children in the care of public agencies spend a fair amount of time there before being legally free to be adopted as many of the children will have emotional or medical issues due to their troubling backgrounds.

Domestic agencies: With domestic agency adoption, the parental rights of the mother are relinquished or transferred over to the agency after the child is born. After a deep and comprehensive home study process, the adoption agency then places the child with their new adoptive family.

The screening of the family, the counseling of the birth parents, and the facilitation and acceptance of the relinquishment of the child are all the responsibility of the agency, along with supervising the placement of the child until finalization and providing the birth mother with permissible financial assistance. If you need help adopting a child, reach out to our NJ adoption attorney.

Relative Adoptions

Relative adoptions are always going to be the most preferred kind of adoption by the legal system. By adopting a relative, family members can ensure that the child or children will be staying within their biological family. This helps the children better know not just where they come from but also their medical history and their family’s morals, values, and traditions.

Open vs. Closed Adoptions

Prospective adoptive parents will have to consider beforehand whether they’ll want an open or a closed adoption.

Open adoptions: Open adoptions occur when the adoptive parents and the original birth parents keep in regular contact with one another. When the birth mother and the adoptive family have matched, they can exchange information such as names, email addresses, phone numbers, photos, and anything else they need to keep in touch.

Before the baby has been born, the adoptive parents and the birth mother may have some correspondence via email or over the phone, and the adoptive family will most likely visit the birth mother in person. Through communication, the adoptive family and the birth mother can discuss and come to an agreement over what shape the relationship between the baby and the birth mother will take and how much communication there will be between them.

Closed adoptions: Closed adoptions are essentially the complete opposite of open adoptions. There will be little to no exchange of any information, and the protection of privacy and medical information will be kept in confidence by the adoption agency. Once the child has been born, there will be no communication, visits, or even exchanges of letters or pictures.

If you are considering adopting a child, our NJ adoption attorney can help you understand your options, guide you through the legal process and home study, and help the adoption go as smoothly as possible. Contact Cofsky & Zeidman in Haddonfield at (856) 429-5005 or in Woodbury at (856) 845-2555 to learn more about your adoption options.

How to Know You’re Ready to Adopt

Signs You’re Ready to Adopt

The adoption process isn’t easy, but it’s also a rewarding one where you add a new member to your family. Each year, about 140,000 children are adopted in the U.S. If you want to adopt a child but aren’t sure if you’re ready, you’ll need to take stock and figure out a few things about yourself before you start the process of formally adopting a child.

You’ve Moved on From Infertility

You should consider adoption if you know you’ve accepted your infertility and moved on from it. It can be challenging to welcome a new child into the home if you’re still trying to get pregnant and you’re going through expensive IVF treatments. Although it’s normal to experience grief after finding out you’re infertile, you should have closure to ensure that you’re in a good place and you’re fully embracing your decision to adopt. You can consider meeting with a marriage counselor to ensure that you have closure and are in a positive frame of mind to adopt.

You’re Financially Secure

There are many different resources that you’ll need to provide everything that a child requires to grow and thrive. You should have consistent employment for several years to ensure that you can provide financially. You’ll also need to be able to afford legal fees, additional medical costs, and adoption agency fees. It’s also important to live in a home where there’s enough room for the child to grow with enough space where they can play. An added benefit is if you live in proximity to family members and friends who can offer assistance with child care when it’s needed.

You Understand the Challenges Ahead

Although adopting a child can be incredibly rewarding and life-changing, it still comes with its challenges. Before you begin the adoption process, it’s essential to know that you’re ready for the uncertainty you may encounter. Consider speaking with someone who has already adopted for insight on their experience and how they navigated the difficulties. You and your spouse should be mentally stable and financially capable of dealing with stress that can come about. These stressors can include the birth parents changing their minds before or after the birth. Many states have a waiting period after the child is born, and the adoption can fall through during this time. Also, if both birth parents don’t initially sign off on the adoption, such as if the birth father cannot be located before the birth, then the birth father may later contest the adoption even after the initial waiting period has expired. Having a solid support system of family members and friends can make the ups and downs easier to handle.

You’re Patient

Not only do challenges come with adopting, but the process of finding the right child to adopt can also be time-consuming and lengthy. Adopting a child costs an average of $10,000 to $30,000 and can take one to two years to complete. International adoption costs $20,000 to $50,000 and takes one to six years. You’ll also need to consider hiring a New Jersey adoption attorney who can assist you with the process and inform you of your rights. If any complications or issues occur, you can be represented by a lawyer who has experience and can find solutions.

You Can Fully Love the Child

It’s important to know if you can fully love an adoptive child who is not your biological child once they’re in your care. You should be excited about caring for the child even if you didn’t give birth to him or her. You should be ready to accept the child as your own and be prepared to meet their emotional and physical needs each day as their parent and caregiver.

Contact Cofsky & Zeidman in Haddonfield at (856) 429-5005 or in Woodbury at (856) 845-2555 to learn more about the adoption process. Obtaining assistance from our New Jersey adoption attorney can help you with understanding your rights in advance.

How Long Does It Take to Adopt a Child?

How Fast Can You Finalize an Adoption?

Each year, roughly 135,000 children are adopted. Of course, the hundreds of thousands of parents involved want to know when the process will finally be over. Finalizing an adoption is an exciting time, so it is no wonder that so many people want to speed through the adoption and get to the end.

The Fastest Possible Adoption Finalization Time

Legally speaking, an adoption in Pennsylvania can be finalized in as little as one to two months after the child first comes to live with their family. This is assuming that everything goes as smoothly as possible. For the most part, a voluntary or a stepchild adoption will go the fastest. The process starts with the adoptive parents filing a report of intention to adopt. Then, after meeting a few requirements, they need to file a petition for adoption and then have an adoption period.

Most of the wait in these situations is just due to the amount of time it takes to schedule a court date. Typically, an adoption only happens this quickly in situations where all parties agree to the terms, such as a stepparent adopting a child with no legal father and when the adoption does not involve interstate or international factors. The amount of time you should expect it to take can vary quite a bit depending on the circumstances of the adoption.

The Timeline for Adopting a Baby

The timeline for adopting a baby is fairly straightforward once you find a birth mother who wants to let you adopt her child. Unlike other types of adoption, you usually do not have to wait to be approved to foster or complete multiple supervisory visits after the child comes home. Since you can file a lot of the paperwork like home study reports before the baby is even born, the process is fairly fast once the infant comes to live with you.

When figuring out how long it takes to adopt a baby in Pennsylvania, the main factors are the revocation period and the time it takes to schedule court dates. Legally, birth parents have three days to change their minds. If you work with an adoption agency, however, it may have different guidelines in place. Some have so many requirements that it can take up to a year to finalize.

The Time It Takes to Adopt a Foster Child

Adopting a foster child may take a shorter or a longer amount of time than it takes to adopt an infant. The length of time it takes to go from fostering to adoption varies so much because circumstances tend to vary. After you get approved and begin fostering a child with the intent to adopt, things can go quite quickly if the parents’ rights are already terminated. In these cases, you may be finalizing your foster child’s adoption within about six months.

However, most adoptive parents of foster children are not this lucky. In many cases, they have to announce their intent to adopt formally and then go about terminating the biological parents’ rights. When the parent does not want to voluntarily give up their rights, it can turn into a lengthy process that involves a PA adoption attorney submitting evidence to the court that the biological parent is unfit.

How to Speed up the Process

Because unexpected legal delays can lengthen the adoption process, you need to have a good PA adoption attorney available to guide you through the process. Having an experienced adoption lawyer on your side can help your adoption go as smoothly as possible. With an office conveniently located in Philadelphia, the law firm of Cofsky & Zeidman is happy to help the residents of Pennsylvania with adoptions. Call us at (215) 563-2150 or fill out our online contact form to schedule your free consultation today.

Common Mistakes to Avoid While Adopting

Mistakes to Avoid Making When Adopting

Couples who are planning on adopting a child may be new to the process, which carries with it many challenges and complexities. The good news is that approximately 98 percent of adoptions are successful, but there are instances where mistakes are made and issues develop. If you want to avoid delays and potential problems, it’s important to be aware of a few common mistakes that many people make when trying to adopt.

A Lack of Legal Assistance

It can be challenging to understand all of the terms and fine print with all of the paperwork that must be completed throughout the adoption process. It’s important to obtain legal assistance with the help of a New Jersey adoption lawyer to ensure that you can get guidance from a professional. Your lawyer can explain every document you need to sign and inform you of your rights. Your attorney can also offer tips on how to try and make the process a quicker one.

Failing to Respect the Birth Family

Although the adoptive parents are legally responsible for the child once the adoption is complete, it’s still important to respect the biological mother and father. Regardless of the birth parents’ background or why they chose to put their child up for adoption, they still deserve respect. Depending on the type of adoption you’re considering, the biological parents could still be allowed involvement with their child. This is especially the case with open adoptions where the birth parents are generally allowed some form of contact whether in person, over the phone, through texts, etc. If you’re planning an open adoption, you’ll want to remain cordial with the biological mother and father to make the situation easy on your adopted child.

Not Knowing the Rules

Some adoptive parents make the mistake of not conducting enough research on the adoption process ahead of time, which can make it easy to break a few rules along the way. During the adoption education process, it’s essential to work closely with the adoption agency to understand the state’s guidelines. New laws are created each year to protect adopted children, especially when it comes to what can be posted on social media. Inquire about the guidelines with the agency to ensure you protect yourself and the child without suffering any legal ramifications that could risk the adoption being completed.

 

Failing to Do Your Homework

It’s essential to do your homework in advance before starting the adoption to ensure you know what to expect. There are many variables when it comes to the cost, the time frame, the paperwork that must be submitted, and the medical history of the child. Failing to research the different issues can lead to an unsuccessful adoption due to a lack of funds or not enough information. Even leaving the country for a specific period of time can affect the process, which makes it necessary to understand everything that is expected of you if you want to adopt as soon as possible. You can encounter significant delays and complications if you fail to do your research. You’ll want to work closely with a legal professional to understand the guidelines as well as your rights.

Becoming a Victim to Scams

Many hopeful parents become victims of scams while looking to adopt. Avoid a few red flags when finding the right agency to use. One red flag includes having to provide money up front before the adoption process is complete. You’ll also need to use a qualified professional to handle all of the financial transactions to ensure that mistakes aren’t made when signing your name on different documents.

Working closely with an adoption lawyer can also allow you to use someone who is licensed to handle adoptions and will spot any red flags while facilitating the process. Look for a New Jersey adoption lawyer instead of attempting to arrange an adoption on your own for the first time.

Contact Cofsky & Zeidman in Haddonfield at (856) 429-5005 or in Woodbury at (856) 845-2555 to learn more about common mistakes to avoid making when you’re ready to begin the adoption process. With the help of an adoption attorney, you’ll be more prepared to adopt a child.

What to Know About Open Adoptions

Top Pros and Cons of Open Adoptions

Those who are looking to adopt a child should understand that open adoptions are now considered to be the standard form of adoption. In fact, 95% of adoptions are considered open adoptions. The process works to provide a better relationship between the adoptive parents and the child to ensure there’s a mutual agreement for less conflict or complications that can develop.

Pro: Medically Informed

Adoptive parents can have peace of mind knowing that they’ll be medically informed of the child’s health and well-being with an open adoption. Parents are provided an extensive medical history of the child and even obtain new information over time. It can be easier to care for the child both now and in the future if all of the details are disclosed in advance. Parents can also avoid surprises in the future if they aren’t left in the dark about their adopted child’s medical history.

Con: Extended Family

If there’s extended family that is involved with the open adoption process, it can complicate it for the adoptive parents. There may be more paperwork to fill out and submit if the child has siblings or comes from a Native American family. There can also be a higher risk of a legal battle if the extended family learns that the child is going to be adopted. Tribal members and siblings have rights that allow them to visit the child even if they’re not closely related to the individual. For adoptive parents, this could prove to be challenging and may require flexibility with working with the family members on when they want to spend time with the child.

Pro: Provide Adoptees With Information on Their Background

Open adoptions can offer emotional relief and comfort to adoptive children by allowing them to obtain information on their biological parents. Adoptees can have detailed knowledge of their background, which can provide them with access to their birth parents when they get older. The birth parents can be known and accessible, which can provide kids with information on their adoption story. For many children, this can help their emotional well-being and prevent them from having confusion about where they come from as they get older.

The adoptive parents will also have knowledge of the child’s family history, such as the birth parents’ characteristics. Those who choose to meet the birth parents ahead of time can be more prepared for the adoption process compared to not meeting the parents at all.

Con: Less Anonymity

In most cases, there’s less anonymity that comes with open adoptions, which can allow the birth parents to have full access and knowledge of the adoptive parents’ information. Some people may feel less protected with an open adoption. The birth parents may be able to access names, email addresses, and phone numbers. For some adoptive parents, this can be a concern and cause them to worry about if they’ll be contacted in the future by the birth parents. It can also lead to legal conflicts or issues that require the help of our NJ adoption lawyer.

Pro: Peace of Mind to Birth Parents

For birth parents who choose to put their child up for adoption, it can be easy to have a sense of loss when separating from their child. Open adoptions can offer comfort and peace of mind by allowing the birth parents to be involved in their child’s future. They can still have control over the process and avoid feeling like all communication or contact is completely cut off. For the child, this can also help their emotional development and help them thrive in their adoptive home.

Contact Cofsky & Zeidman to learn more about open adoptions and protect yourself through the process with the services of a legal professional. With the help of our NJ adoption lawyer, you can learn more about your rights. Call our Haddonfield office at (856) 429-5005 or our Woodbury office at (856) 845-2555 to speak with a legal counselor.

Tax Credits to Make Adoption More Affordable

Offsetting Legal Expenses With the Federal Adoption Tax Credit

About 2,000 adoptions are finalized in the state of Pennsylvania each year. The Federal Adoption Tax Credit often plays a significant role in such adoptions and was introduced to ensure that it was not only the wealthiest Americans who could afford to adopt. Representation from a PA adoption lawyer is often necessary and highly recommended, and the tax credit can offset those costs as well.

What Is the Federal Adoption Tax Credit?

Since being instituted in 1997, the Federal Adoption Tax Credit has been available to adopting parents across the U.S. There have been some changes each year, such as the amount available to claim and the income limits. In addition, the credit became refundable for 2010 and 2011 before reverting back to being nonrefundable for the following years. The credit covers expenses that occur before, during and after the adoption. Practically any expenditure directly tied to the adoption can be claimed. Some of the most common examples include:

  • Court costs
  • Legal expenses
  • Adoption agency fees
  • Traveling expenses, including food and lodging

There are some expenses that are explicitly excluded by the tax law, such as:

  • Surrogacy costs
  • Money spent for a step-parent
  • Expenses covered by an employer

Who Is Eligible?

Anyone who has expenses related to an adoption is eligible. Whether the adoption was ever finalized has no bearing on eligibility. Note that there are some income restrictions. If your income is greater than the first threshold, the tax credit available to you is reduced. If your income is greater than the second threshold, you are not qualified to claim the credit.

When the Credit May Be Claimed

Adoption-related expenses can be claimed on your tax return for the year following the period in which they were incurred. However, in the year you complete an adoption, you have the option of claiming those expenses on the tax return for that year. In addition, any expenses related to an international adoption cannot be claimed until those proceedings have been finalized.

 

Adoption Tax Credit Refundability Act

The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 extended the credit perpetually but did not allow for the refundable status. There have been multiple attempts to push through an Adoption Tax Credit Refundability Act. The most recent such act as of this writing had been drawn up and introduced but not expected to be passed. The credit being refundable would mean that adopting parents could claim it even if they did not owe taxes. In other words, it would add to their return.

Carrying the Credit Forward

Although this particular tax credit is not refundable at the time of this writing, you can carry it forward. File any claims at the appropriate time as you normally would. Any credit that goes unused due to a lack of tax liability will be available to offset future liabilities for up to five years.

Other Tax Credits Relevant to Adoption

The Federal Adoption Tax Credit is not the only tax credit that affects adoptive parents. The Child Tax Credit is available to all parents, claimable on a per-child basis and partially refundable. If an adoptive parent will have childcare expenses once the adoption is finalized, then he or she is eligible for the Child and Dependent Care Credit. There is also the Earned Income Credit, which is aimed at lower incomes—as in around $50,000 or less—and is refundable.

The Adoption Assistance You Need

If you’re considering adopting or have already started the process, then we highly recommend seeking local representation from a PA adoption lawyer. It is never too early to seek the necessary legal counsel. At Cofsky & Zeidman, we focus on adoption in NJ and PA, and we’d welcome the chance to assist you. Schedule your consultation by contacting us online or by calling our Philadelphia office at 215-563-2150, our Haddonfield office at 856-429-5005 or our Woodbury office at 856-845-2555.

Minimizing Stress During the Adoption Process

Dealing with the Stress of the Adoption Process

Unfortunately, the child adoption process does not always go smoothly. There can be frustrating legal delays and long waiting periods. As parents-to-be, you must find ways to deal with stress so that you’re emotionally and physically ready when it is time for your child to move into your home.

Time and Patience

Stress is your body’s natural reaction to a threat. When your body is under stress, your blood pressure rises and your heart rate increases. Your body releases energy stored in fat to prepare your muscles for a fast response. This is your body’s response to any generalized threat. While it may be helpful if you’re dealing with a wild animal, the response is not so helpful when you’re dealing with an unexpected delay or a nervous day in court. If you’re engaging this response several times a day, it can have serious consequences to both your physical and mental health. The legal process surrounding adoption is complicated because the stakes are so high for the child involved. However, that doesn’t mean you should let yourself become consumed with stress.

High levels of chronic stress have been linked to depression, heart attack, stroke, weight gain and diabetes. Adoption stress can be troubling because you may be dealing with frequent moments of momentary stress as you go through the process.

Learn to Slow Down

The stress response is so fast that you often do not realize it’s happening until you’re in the middle of it. Thankfully, there are some simple ways that you can respond to stress. The easiest technique is controlling your breath. Much of the stress response is automatic and out of your control once it starts. You cannot control your heart rate, but you can control your breath rate. Taking a few slow, deep breaths can start to slow things down.

Deep breathing also gives you a way to slow down your mind. Most people under stress find that they develop tunnel-vision and are only able to handle the task at hand. This is not the best time to make important decisions as you’ll have trouble seeing all the angles. It can be a real problem when you are going through the adoption process. When you take those deep breaths, pay attention to the feeling of breathing, the way your chest rises and falls. By redirecting your attention from the issue that is giving you stress, you can go back to it from a better, calmer perspective.

Learn to Get Moving

Another way to deal with stress is to get moving. The stress response is all about preparing your body for action. In the stress response, your body releases several hormones to stimulate various physical changes. Exercise can help process these hormones and get them out of your system. Your body is preparing to move, so let it move.

On a day-to-day basis, regular exercise is an important part of dealing with the effects of stress. While you’re going through the adoption process, find an activity you enjoy and do it regularly. Take an exercise class. Go walking, jogging, biking or swimming. The important thing is to keep your body moving.

On court dates or meeting dates, you may want to find opportunities to take a walk. When there is a break in the proceedings, walk around the block. You will come back calmer and in a better frame of mind.

Work With a Partner

Coping with stress during adoption is much easier when you are working with a lawyer who specializes in the field. One of the causes of stress during adoption is not knowing what will happen next. An adoption lawyer can help you prepare for any bumps in the road.

After many years as an NJ adoption attorney, Donald Cofsky knows how stressful the adoption process can be for potential parents. Our law firm can guide you throughout the process and help provide you with peace of mind. If you are looking for an NJ adoption attorney, contact our Haddonfield office at 856-429-5005.