Regulation of Private Domestic Adoption Expenses - Florida

Date: May 2022

Birth Parent Expenses Allowed

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 63.097(2)

The following fees, costs, and expenses may be assessed by the adoption entity or paid by the adoption entity on behalf of the prospective adoptive parents:

  • Reasonable living expenses of the birth mother that the birth mother is unable to pay due to unemployment, underemployment, or disability, including rent, utilities, basic telephone service, food, toiletries, necessary clothing, transportation, insurance, and expenses found by the court to be necessary for the health and well-being of the birth mother and the unborn child
  • Reasonable and necessary medical expenses

Such expenses may be paid during the pregnancy and for a period of up to 6 weeks postpartum.

Birth Parent Expenses Not Allowed

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 63.097(3)-(5)

Approval of the court is required when the total amount of expenses permitted above exceeds the following:

  • $5,000 in legal or other fees
  • $800 in court costs
  • $5,000 in reasonable and necessary living and medical expenses

Any fees, costs, or expenses not included above or prohibited as listed below require court approval prior to payment and must be based on a finding of extraordinary circumstances.

The following fees, costs, and expenses are prohibited:

  • Any fee or expense that constitutes payment for locating a minor for adoption
  • Any payment that is not itemized and documented on the affidavit filed under § 63.132
  • Any fee on the affidavit that does not specify the service that was provided and for which the fee is being charged, such as a fee for facilitation, acquisition, or other similar service, or that does not identify the date the service was provided, the time required to provide the service, the person or entity providing the service, and the hourly fee charged

Allowable Payments for Arranging Adoption

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 63.097(2), (6)

The adoptive parent may be assessed for the following expenses:

  • Expenses necessary to comply with the requirements of this chapter, including, but not limited to, service of process, investigator fees, a diligent search as required by § 63.088, a preliminary home study, and a final home investigation
  • Court filing expenses, court costs, and other litigation expenses
  • Birth certificate and medical record expenses
  • Costs associated with advertising under § 63.212(1)(g)
  • The following professional fees:
    • A reasonable hourly fee or flat fee necessary to provide legal representation to the adoptive parents or adoption entity
    • A reasonable hourly fee or flat fee for contact with the parent related to the adoption, including clerical support, transportation, transmitting funds, arranging appointments, and securing accommodations
    • A reasonable hourly fee for counseling services provided to a parent or a prospective adoptive parent

Allowable Payments for Relinquishing Child

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 63.212(1)(c)-(d), (f)-(h); 63.085(1)

It is unlawful for any person to carry out the following:

  • To sell or surrender, or to arrange for the sale or surrender of, a minor to another person for money or anything of value or to receive such minor child for such payment or thing of value
  • To assign or transfer their parental rights for the purpose of, incidental to, or otherwise connected with, selling or offering to sell such rights and duties
  • Except an adoption entity, to charge or accept any fee or compensation of any nature from anyone for making a referral in connection with an adoption
  • Except an adoption entity, to advertise or offer to the public, in any way or by any medium whatever, that a minor is available for adoption or that a minor is sought for adoption
  • To contract for the purchase, sale, or transfer of custody or parental rights in connection with any child, in connection with any fetus yet unborn, or in connection with any fetus identified in any way but not yet conceived, in return for any valuable consideration

The payment of living or medical expenses by the prospective adoptive parents before the birth of the child does not, in any way, obligate the parent to sign the consent for adoption.

Allowable Fees Charged by Department/Agency

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 63.097(1)-(2)

When an adoption entity uses the services of a licensed child-placing agency, a professional, any other person or agency, or, if necessary, the Department of Children and Family Services, the person seeking to adopt the child must pay the licensed child-placing agency, professional, other person or agency, or the department an amount equal to the cost of all services performed, including, but not limited to, the cost of conducting the preliminary home study, counseling, and the final home investigation.

Accounting of Expenses Required by Court

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 63.132(1)(a)-(c)

Before the hearing on the adoption petition, the prospective adoptive parent and any adoption entity must file a signed affidavit. The affidavit must itemize all disbursements and receipts of anything of value, including professional and legal fees, made or agreed to be made by or on behalf of the prospective adoptive parent and any adoption entity in connection with the adoption. The affidavit also must include, for each legal or counseling fee itemized, the service provided, the date the service was provided, the time required to provide the service if the service was charged by the hour, the person or entity that provided the service, and the hourly fee charged.

The affidavit must show any expenses or receipts incurred in connection with the following:

  • The birth of the minor
  • The placement of the minor with the petitioner
  • The medical or hospital care received by the mother or minor during the mother's prenatal care and confinement
  • The itemized living expenses of the birth mother
  • The services relating to the adoption or placement of the minor for adoption that were received by or on behalf of the petitioner, the adoption entity, either parent, the minor, or any other person

The affidavit must state whether any of these expenses were paid for by collateral sources, including, but not limited to, health insurance, Medicaid, Medicare, or public assistance.