Regulation of Private Domestic Adoption Expenses - Montana

Date: May 2022

Birth Parent Expenses Allowed

Citation: Ann. Code §§ 42-7-101(1); 42-7-102(1), (2)

The adoptive parent may provide payment for the following services for the birth parent:

  • Medical care or services, including cost-sharing amounts for medically necessary prenatal and postnatal outpatient mental health services
  • Prenatal care
  • Counseling related to providing information necessary to make an informed decision to voluntarily relinquish a child
  • Travel or temporary living costs for the birth mother
  • Legal fees incurred for services on behalf of the parent placing the child
  • The reasonable costs incurred by a placing parent in a direct parental placement adoption to document the disclosures of medical and social history required by § 42-3-101
  • Other reasonable costs related to adoption

A prospective adoptive parent may pay counseling expenses a combined maximum of 10 hours of adoptive decision support services, provided pursuant to § 42-2-409, and postadoptive counseling provided pursuant to § 42-4-211.

A prospective adoptive parent may pay cost-sharing expenses for prenatal or postnatal outpatient mental health services provided to the birth mother. These expenses are limited to a total of 15 outpatient mental health counseling sessions during the prenatal period and the 5 years following the birth of the child.

A prospective adoptive parent may pay for legal costs entailed for providing legal counsel for one birth parent unless the birth parents elect joint representation. The right of a relinquishing parent to legal counsel paid for by the prospective adoptive parent continues only until the relinquishment becomes irrevocable. An attorney may not represent both a birth parent and a prospective adoptive parent.

Birth Parent Expenses Not Allowed

Citation: Ann. Code § 42-7-101(1)(k)

Costs related to adoption do not include education, vehicles, salary or wages, vacations, or permanent housing for the birth parent.

Allowable Payments for Arranging Adoption

Citation: Ann. Code § 42-7-105(3)

A person who, as a condition for placement, relinquishment, or consent to the adoption of a child, knowingly offers, gives, agrees to give, solicits, accepts, or agrees to accept from another person, either directly or indirectly, anything other than the fees allowed under § 42-7-101 commits the offense of paying or charging excessive adoption process fees.

Allowable Payments for Relinquishing Child

Citation: Ann. Code §§ 42-7-101(2); 42-7-105(4)

The payment of expenses may not be made contingent on the placement of a child for adoption or upon relinquishment of and consent to adoption of the child. If the adoption is not completed, a person who is authorized to make a specific payment is not liable for that payment unless the person has agreed in a signed writing with a birth parent or a provider of a service to make the payment regardless of the outcome of the proceeding for adoption.

It is illegal to require repayment or reimbursement of anything provided to a birth parent under § 42-7-101. All payments by the adoptive parent made on behalf of a birth parent pursuant to this section are considered a gift to the birth parent.

Allowable Fees Charged by Department/Agency

Citation: Ann. Code § 42-7-101(1)

Reasonable adoption fees may be paid by the adoptive parent for the actual cost of services. The cost of services must relate to the following:

  • A petition for adoption
  • Placement of a child
  • Foster care
  • A preplacement evaluation

Accounting of Expenses Required by Court

Citation: Ann. Code §§ 42-7-106; 42-5-101

The department may review and investigate compliance with this title and may maintain an action in court to compel compliance.

A disclosure of any disbursements made in connection with the adoption proceeding must be attached to or accompanying the adoption petition.