The Costs of Adoption

For Birth Mothers

For birth mothers, there are no cost or fees in the adoption process they are required to pay. Birth mothers may receive financial assistance for some of their necessary living expenses during pregnancy and for counseling, if requested, and allowed by state law. Indiana allows $3,000 in birth mother assistance for certain necessities and ensures that a birth mother is provided free counseling, if requested by the birth mother.

Birth mothers must be represented by an attorney in a private adoption and should be represented by an attorney in an agency adoption as well, but a birth mother's attorney's fees are paid by the adopting parents.

For Adoptive Parents

Adopting parents must have an attorney to file their adoption petition and the required supporting documents. I always recommend that adopting parents retain their attorney as early in the adoption process as possible, because a knowledgeable, experienced attorney can save time and often charges less attorney's fees if retained early.

Adopting parents acting in their own behalf or working with adoption agencies that are completing steps or paperwork will often not have the knowledge that an experienced attorney has to take steps to prevent problems. This is not to say there are not good agencies with capable people, but adoption law is complex. Different judges can interpret a statute differently and require different procedures or paperwork.

The actual fees charged by the birth mother's attorney or the adopting parent's attorney will vary based on a number of factors. The general range in Indiana for a birth mother's attorney is often $1,500 to $3,000, and the range for the adopting parent's attorney is typically $2,500 to $6,000.* These are the fees for the actual required paperwork and court appearance for the adoption and do not include funds provided to a birth mother for necessities or funds adopting parents have paid for a home study or to an agency or online service to identify a birth mother. These are ranges/estimates of attorney's fees, and they can vary depending on many factors that I will explain upfront, at my initial consultation, depending the type of adoption.

*If it is an adoption from the Department of Children Services (DCS), funds are usually available from the state to pay all or part of the attorney's fees.

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