Adoption Q&A #1
What Expenses Can Be Paid as Part of an Adoption Proceeding in Wisconsin?
Section 48.913, Stats., describes expenses which can be paid or reimbursed to a birth mother as part of an adoption proceeding. Penalties for payment of expenses not permitted by statute can be harsh. Payment or receipt of improper items may result in jail for up to one year, a $10,000 fine and possibly disapproval of an adoptive placement. To best protect all parties, verification of expenses incurred and reimbursed should be made.
Expenses which may be paid or reimbursed include the following:
- Legal expenses of the birth parent and for the guardian ad litem
- Medical expenses not otherwise covered by insurance or Medical Assistance
- Maternity clothing in an amount not to exceed $300
- Local transportation expenses
- Living expenses necessary for the health and well-being of the mother and child (Typically, that may include rent, food and utilities. It would not include payment of past bills of a birth parent or items not needed for the health and well-being of the birth parent or child such as cigarettes, entertainment items, etc.)
- Professional counseling expenses
- Social service agency fees
- A gift of under $100
It is advisable to check with an attorney or caseworker from a licensed child welfare agency within the State of Wisconsin to verify what payments are appropriate and under what circumstances. These rules apply to cases in which the termination of parental rights of the birth parents occurs in the State of Wisconsin.