Regulation of Private Domestic Adoption Expenses - Alabama

Date: May 2022

Birth Parent Expenses Allowed

Citation: Ala. Code § 26-10A-34(a)

Preceding and during pregnancy-related incapacity, as an act of charity, the adoptive parent is permitted to pay maternity-connected medical or hospital and necessary living expenses of the mother. Legitimate charges for medical, legal, prenatal, or other professional services are permitted.

Birth Parent Expenses Not Allowed

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.

Allowable Payments for Arranging Adoption

Citation: Ala. Code §§ 26-10A-23(a); 26-10A-34(b)

No person or other entity may accept a fee for bringing the adopting parent together with the child to be adopted or with the child's natural parents, or for placing, assisting, or arranging a minor placement.

Allowable Payments for Relinquishing Child

Citation: Ala. Code §§ 26-10A-23(d); 26-10A-34

The adoptive parents and the parents surrendering the child must attest that no money or other things of value have been paid or received for giving up the child for adoption.

Allowable Fees Charged by Department/Agency

Citation: Ala. Code § 26-10-4.1; Admin. Code r. 660-5-22.04

The Department of Human Resources is required to collect a fee of $300 for investigation services in certain adoptions. Unless waived by the department, the fee will be charged to the petitioners in all adoptions except those in which an investigation is specifically not required by statute (e.g., stepparent and relative adoptions).

The fee is not to be collected for investigations where parental rights have been terminated, in those adoptions involving children placed for adoption by the department or a licensed child-placing agency, or in cases in which the investigative services were performed by a licensed child-placing agency.

In regulation: The department shall waive the fee in cases of indigence of the petitioners when the family's gross income does not exceed 100 percent of the annual Federal Poverty Income Guidelines.

The department may waive the fee for other good cause when the adoption is in the child's best interests, imposition of the fee would prevent the adoption, and any of the following circumstances apply:

  • The petitioners are related to the child beyond the degree of relationship required by law to exempt them from an investigation.
  • The child has lived in the home of the petitioners for several years.
  • The child's relationship with siblings would be injured or severed if the adoption does not proceed.
  • The child has diagnosed special needs for medical care or appliances, counseling, therapy, educational tutoring, or other treatment.
  • The child is one of a sibling group of three or more children being adopted by the same petitioners.
  • The child's approved foster parents are adopting the child independently with the parents' consent and with the approval of the department.
  • The department determines that there are unusual circumstances and imposing a fee would be against the best interests of the child or prevent the adoption.

Accounting of Expenses Required by Court

Citation: Ala. Code § 26-10A-23(b)-(d)

Prior to payment, the petitioners must file with the court a full accounting of all charges for expenses, fees, or services they will be paying relating to the adoption. Payment may be made only with court approval, except that fees may be placed in an escrow account prior to court approval. The court may not refuse to approve a fee for documented services on the sole basis that a child has not been placed. The court shall approve all reasonable fees and expenses, unless it determines that the expense is unreasonable based upon specific written findings of fact.

The petitioner must file a sworn statement that is a full accounting of all disbursements paid in the adoption.

Under penalty of perjury, the adoptive parents and the parent or parents surrendering the child for adoption shall, prior to the entry of the final adoption order, sign affidavits stating that no money or other things of value have been paid or received for giving the minor up for adoption.