When you’re considering adopting a child, you may be wondering about financial considerations for adoption in North Carolina. You may wonder what the financial implications are for adopting a child. Finances are an important thing to discuss when you’re making decisions for you and your loved ones. Prospective parents often want to know what costs are associated with adopting a child in North Carolina and what the financial implications of adoption are now and in the future.
An individual or couple adopting a child incurs costs to complete the adoption process. However, adopting a child may come with financial assistance. There are financial incentives and obligations to be aware of when you decide whether adoption is right for you. Here’s what you should know about the finances associated with adoption in North Carolina:
The costs associated with the legal process
When you make the decision to adopt in North Carolina, there are costs associated with the legal process. You must pay a fee in order to file the case in court. Whether or not you work with an adoption agency, there are costs associated with conducting a home study to make sure that the adoption is a good fit.
You may need to pay to serve the legal documents on other parties. You may need to pay travel costs for witnesses if your case goes to court. There may be unexpected fees for things like having documents notarized or for getting documentation of a criminal record of a parent in order to prove the case for terminating a parent’s right to a child.
In total, legal fees associated with adoption can amount to several thousand dollars. It’s important to be aware of these fees and plan for them as you begin the adoption process in North Carolina. In some circumstances, you can receive assistance with the legal and filing costs associated with pursuing a North Carolina adoption.
Assistance with legal costs
In some cases where a child is in state care, there may be assistance for adoptive parents. The child must meet one of several criteria to qualify as special needs. Special needs doesn’t always mean having a learning or cognitive challenge although that is one way to qualify. Special needs means that the child has one or more factors that makes them more difficult to place with an adoptive family.
If a child qualifies for adoption assistance, potential adoptive parents may receive help with many of the costs associated with pursuing the adoption. Parents may receive help with filing costs to initiate the case. They may receive compensation for the costs of a home study and even the costs of the services of an experienced North Carolina adoption attorney. Qualifying families may receive approximately $2,000 to offset the costs associated with adopting a child.
Paying expenses for the biological mother
An adoptive couple may pay the expenses for a biological mother during her pregnancy and for six weeks after. They may pay for legal fees and for counseling for a biological mother. In general, families are usually advised to pay these fees for the biological mother. Paying fees for the biological mother helps ensure that everyone has clear expectations about the adoption process, and it also helps ensure that the biological mother consents to the adoption with a full understanding of its implications. We can help you understand what costs you should cover in your case.
Certain children qualify for adoption subsidies that provide parents with monthly payments until the child reaches the age of majority. The payments come from the North Carolina Division of Social Services. If a child qualifies, the payments begin when the adoption is complete. The payments continue until the child turns 18 or until a terminating event occurs.
Who qualifies for an adoption subsidy?
A child qualifies for adoption subsidy payments if they meet any of a number of criteria. Some of the qualifying criteria include:
- A child six years old or older
- A child two years old or older who belongs to a minority race or ethnic group
- Sibling groups of three or more children
- Mental or intellectual challenges or difficulties
- Emotional or social challenges for a child
- High risk because of prior abuse or neglect
To qualify, a child must be under the supervision of the state. The purpose of the subsidy is to both help a child find an adoptive family and also provide parents the resources that they need to help a child thrive after the adoption. Adoption subsidies range from $475 to $634 per month depending on the age of the child. Certain children with very specific needs may qualify for additional amounts. Children who qualify for adoption subsidies may also qualify for Medicaid assistance.
Who decides if a child qualifies for an adoption subsidy?
North Carolina’s Division of Social Services evaluates each case in order to determine if a child qualifies for adoption assistance. If parents disagree with the state’s decision, they may request an administrative hearing. If they still disagree with the state’s decision, they may appeal the decision to the North Carolina Superior Court. Parents must file the claim in the North Carolina Superior Court within 30 days of a denial of eligibility. An experienced North Carolina adoption attorney can help you pursue an appeal and represent you at hearings.
Financial obligations after adoption – the right to support
After an adoption, a child is legally the child and dependent of the adoptive parent or parents. That means the parents have a financial obligation to provide the child with the support that they need. Whether or not the parents receive an adoption subsidy, adoptive parents must provide for a child’s basic needs.
What happens if an adopting couple gets divorced after the adoption?
If adoptive parents get divorced, the adopted child is treated the same as any other child is under North Carolina law. Both parents have a right to seek custody of the child. Both parents have the obligation to provide financial support for the child directly or in the form of child support as a court may order until the child reaches the age of majority.
Some children may qualify for college assistance. Children who are adopted may qualify to have help with tuition, room, board and other costs associated with their attendance at a community college or state university. Qualifying children may receive help beyond the age of majority.
How an experienced North Carolina adoption attorney can help
Bobby Mills can help you understand the costs associated with adoption before, during and after the adoption proceedings. An adoption can cost several thousand dollars. Adoptive parents and biological parents alike may have expectations about how these costs will be handled. In addition, there are subsidies and financial obligations that may apply after an adoption is complete. Contact us today to talk about your case and how we can help you pursue the best options for your situation.