1. What is Adoption Assistance?
Adoption Assistance is negotiated with the Departmentof Children’s Services prior to finalization of the Adoption. DCS will usually pay attorney’s fees, court costs and birth certificate fees up to $1,500.00, which is one form of Adoption Assistance. Post adoption assistance is available when adopting “special needs children”. There are various definitions of “special needs child”, too extensive to list here. It is highly recommended that before even addressing with the Department or Agency whether or not you need adoption assistance that you consult with an adoption attorney.
2. What will my adoption cost?
a. DCS/Agency Adoptions. In almost all cases these fees are paid (and you should ask that they are paid) by the Department.
b. Relative/Step parent. Costs depends upon the complexity of the case, which court you are in, whether or not the Judge waives the home study, service of process and other issues. Attorney’s fees, depending upon the attorney, can run from $1,500.00-$2,500.00.
c. Independent/private adoptions. Cost depends entirely upon the circumstances. What expenses has the adoptive parents agreed to pay, does the birth mother have insurance, court you are in, service of process, home study expense as well as whether or not it is contested. Estimates can be made during consultation with your attorney once the attorney has a better idea of the circumstances.
3. What is an Open Adoption?
In some adoptions there can be an agreement to allow continuing contact of some sort between the bio parents and the children. This is very common in familial adoptions and for older children who know their bio parents. It is important to understand however that any Open Adoption Agreements are unenforceable—it is a moral agreement only. If the adoptive parents fail to live up to the agreement there is no recourse.