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Whether it is a stepparent adoption, Foster Care Adoption, Private Adoption or even an International Adoption, the cost involved in the adoption process can often be intimidating. Few individuals or couples contemplating adoption are aware that there are various subsidies available to assist in the legal costs of the adoption process. A few of the major ones are addressed below:
Federal law authorizes reimbursement for certain expenses associated with adoption to a maximum of $2,000 per child; and up to $5,000 in a given calendar year. There are requirements for this process. For example, the adoption must be arranged by a qualified adoption agency, or one authorized under state or local law, and private and stepchild adoptions must be finalized in the United States. The service member must also be serving on continuous active duty for at least 180 days and the adoption finalized while on active duty. Service persons should check the Department of Defense Regulations for more information.
Many private employers, large and small, offer family friendly benefits, which include reimbursement for legal fees related to adoption. Each employer sets their own guidelines for what qualifies, how to apply and when reimbursement is made. You should not hesitate to check with your employer to see if such options are offered. In addition, while many employers may not offer reimbursement for adoption costs, they do offer flex spending plans that may offer you an option to pay for adoption costs with pre-taxed income. Some employers also offer adoption benefits such as paid and unpaid leave.
Foster Care Adoptions
State and local laws allow for legal fee reimbursement as one of several subsidies available to parents who adopt a child in foster care; particularly children who are classified as “special needs”. Legal fees will be paid by the local department of Social Services, but monthly subsidies and special services can be made available for qualifying adoptions. Section 453 of the New York State legislation regarding Adopted Children Subsidies sets forth the guidelines, which includes when to make the applications and how a child is certified for subsidies.
Gifts through organizations such as GiftofAdoption.org can offer adopting parents up to $7,500 worth of grants to fund the costs of adoption. An online search can assist you in locating similar grants nationwide.
The Adoption Expense Tax Credit is offered by the IRS and allows you to reduce your income tax liability for qualified adoption expenses up to $12,150.00. These expenses may include attorney and court fees, travel expenses, and adoption fees as defined by the tax credit. Check with your accountant for what can be claimed.
While it is impossible to put a price tag on the love shown by those who choose to adopt, don’t let the potential costs or hurdles deter you from growing the family of your dreams.
Barbara J. King, Esq. is chairwoman of Tully Rinckey PLLC’s Family and Matrimonial law practice. For over three decades, Ms. King has represented parents, spouses and other parties from Long Island to the Capital Region in proceedings relating to divorce, separation, equitable distribution, annulment, child support, child custody, spousal maintenance, and adoption. Barbara an be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. To schedule a meeting with one of our attorneys, contact us today at 8885294543.