Regulation of Private Domestic Adoption Expenses - Louisiana

Date: May 2022

Birth Parent Expenses Allowed

Citation: Children's Code Art. 1200; 1223

Only the following services provided by the Department of Children and Family Services or payments made through a licensed adoption agency or an adoption attorney are permissible:

  • Actual medical expenses, including hospital, testing, nursing, pharmaceutical, travel, or other similar expenses, incurred by the birth mother for prenatal care and medical expenses incurred by the mother and child related to birth
  • Actual medical expenses and foster care expenses incurred on behalf of the child prior to the decree of adoption
  • Actual expenses incurred by the department or agency for counseling, training services provided to the adoptive parents, and home studies or investigations
  • Actual expenses incurred for counseling services provided to a birth parent or a child for a reasonable time before and after the child's placement for adoption
  • Actual expenses incurred in ascertaining the information for the statement of family history required by articles 1124 and 1125
  • Actual and reasonable living expenses needed to maintain an adequate standard of living that the mother is unable to maintain otherwise due to lost wages for a period when they are unable to work, including the following:
    • Temporary housing expenses, such as rent or mortgage payments
    • Utilities, such as electricity, gas, water, or telephone
    • Food for the mother and any minor children residing in her home
    • Transportation costs related to the pregnancy or adoption
    • Maternity clothing for the mother
    • Personal hygiene products, cleaning products, and laundry services
  • Actual and reasonable attorney fees, court costs, travel, or other expenses incurred on behalf of a parent who surrenders a child for adoption or otherwise consents to the child's adoption

Birth Parent Expenses Not Allowed

Citation: Children's Code Art. 1200

Living expenses for the birth mother may be paid for a reasonable time before the birth of the child and for no more than 45 days after the birth. Actual living expenses shall not include vehicles, salary or wages, recreation or leisure activities, permanent housing, gifts, or other payments for the monetary gain of the mother.

The total and cumulative amount of living expenses paid to the birth mother during the term of the pregnancy by one or more agencies or attorneys shall not exceed $7,500, except as otherwise specifically authorized by order of the court, prior to payment, upon a specific finding that the expense is reasonable and necessary.

If a court determines from an accounting that an amount that is going to be or has been disbursed for expenses is unreasonable, it may order a reduction in the amount to be disbursed and order the person who received the disbursement to refund that portion.

Allowable Payments for Arranging Adoption

Citation: Children's Code Art. 1200; Rev. Stat. § 14:286

Except for expenses permitted by law, the payment or receipt of anything of value for the procurement, attempted procurement, or assistance in the procurement of a party to an act of voluntary surrender of a child for adoption is strictly prohibited.

Allowable Payments for Relinquishing Child

Citation: Children's Code Art. 1200; Rev. Stat. § 14:286

The payment of expenses may not be made contingent on the placement of a child for adoption, relinquishment of the child, or consent to the adoption, and the prospective adoptive parent shall have no right to seek reimbursement of any payments solely based on the mother's decision not to place the child for adoption. However, the prospective adoptive parent may seek reimbursement of payments from a mother or any other person, agency, or attorney who accepts such payments if the person accepting payment knows that the mother on whose behalf payment is accepted is not pregnant at the time of the receipt of payments or that the mother is accepting payments concurrently from more than one prospective adoptive parent without the knowledge of the prospective adoptive parent who is seeking reimbursement.

Except as specifically provided in Children's Code Articles 1200 and 1223, it shall be unlawful for any person to do any of the following:

  • To sell or surrender a minor child to another person for money or anything of value or to receive a minor child for such payment of money or anything of value
  • To pay or receive anything of value for the procurement, attempted procurement, or assistance in the procurement of a party to an act of voluntary surrender of a child for adoption

It shall be unlawful for any petitioner, person acting on a petitioner's behalf, agency, attorney, or other intermediary to make or agree to make any disbursements in connection with the adoptive placement, surrender, or adoption of a child except as specifically provided in the Children's Code.

Allowable Fees Charged by Department/Agency

Citation: Children's Code Art. 1200

The petitioner may pay actual and reasonable administrative expenses incurred by the department or the agency, including overhead, court costs, travel costs, and attorney fees connected with an adoption. In approving a fee for overhead, the court shall consider and include additional expenses incurred by the department or the agency not specifically allocated to the adoption before the court, including the cost of failed adoptions, where those expenses or fees represent actual costs of the department's or agency's adoption services.

Accounting of Expenses Required by Court

Citation: Children's Code Art. 1200; 1201

The petitioner shall file with the adoption petition a current estimate and accounting of fees and charges in accordance with article 1201. The petitioner also shall file a final adoption disclosure affidavit with the court no later than 10 days prior to the date scheduled for the final hearing on the adoption.

The court shall not issue a final decree of adoption until it has reviewed and approved the final accounting.

Each petition for an adoption shall be accompanied by an affidavit executed by the petitioner and petitioner's attorney containing an accounting of all fees and charges paid or agreed to be paid by or on behalf of the petitioner in connection with the adoption. The affidavit shall include the date and amount of each payment made, the name and address of the recipient, and the purpose of each payment. Receipts, or other documentation in the event receipts are not available, for each expense shall be attached to the affidavit.