Regulation of Private Domestic Adoption Expenses - Wisconsin

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Birth Parent Expenses Allowed

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 48.913(1)

The adoptive parents, or a person acting on their behalf, may pay the actual cost of any of the following:

  • Preadoptive and postadoptive counseling for a birth parent or an alleged or presumed father of the child
  • Maternity clothes for the child's birth mother, in an amount not to exceed $300
  • Local transportation expenses of the birth parent that are related to the pregnancy or adoption
  • Medical and hospital care received by the child's birth mother in connection with the pregnancy or birth of the child
  • Medical and hospital care received by the child
  • Legal and other services received by a birth parent, an alleged or presumed father, or the child in connection with the adoption
  • Living expenses of the child's birth mother, in an amount not to exceed $5,000, if payment of the expenses is necessary to protect the health and welfare of the birth mother or the fetus
  • If the adoption is completed, the cost of any care provided for the child under § 48.837(4)(d)
  • Birthing classes
  • A gift to the child's birth mother from the adoptive parents, not to exceed $100 in value

Birth Parent Expenses Not Allowed

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 48.913(1), (4)

Medical and hospital care does not include lost wages or living expenses.

The adoptive parents or a person acting on their behalf may not make any payments to or on behalf of a birth parent, an alleged or presumed father, or the child, except as permitted above.

Allowable Payments for Arranging Adoption

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 948.24

It is unlawful for any person to solicit, negotiate, or arrange the placement of a child for adoption for anything of value, except under § 48.833. It is unlawful for any person, for the purpose of receiving a child for adoption, to give anything exceeding the actual cost of the legal and other services rendered in connection with the adoption and the items listed in § 48.913(1)(a) to (m) and the payments authorized under § 48.913(2).

Allowable Payments for Relinquishing Child

Citation: Ann. Stat. §§ 948.24; 48.837(6)(b)

It is unlawful for any person to place or agree to place his or her child for adoption for anything exceeding the actual cost of the items listed in § 48.913(1)(a) to (m) and the payments authorized under § 48.913(2).

The court shall determine whether any payments or the conditions specified in any agreement to make payments are coercive to the birth parent of the child or to an alleged or presumed father of the child or are impermissible under § 48.913(4). Making any payment to or on behalf of the birth parent, an alleged or presumed father, or the child conditional in any part upon transfer or surrender of the child, termination of parental rights, or finalization of the adoption creates a rebuttable presumption of coercion. Upon a finding that impermissible payments have been made, the court shall dismiss the adoption petition and refer the matter to the district attorney for prosecution.

Allowable Fees Charged by Department/Agency

Citation: Ann. Stat. §§ 48.913(1); 48.837(7) 48.838(2); 48.84

The adoptive parents may pay the following:

  • The actual cost of services provided by a licensed child welfare agency in connection with the adoption
  • The cost of any investigation ordered under § 48.837(4)(c), according to a fee schedule established by the Department of Children and Families based on ability to pay
  • If the adoption is completed, the cost of any care provided for the child

The department may charge a fee of no more than $75 to review foreign adoption documents and provide the certification and approval required by State and Federal law.

A proposed adoptive parent who petitions to adopt a child in an independent adoption shall pay the costs of the required preadoption preparation and the postadoption training offered. The department shall pay the costs of the preadoption preparation and the postadoption training for a proposed adoptive parent with whom a child is placed by the department or a licensed agency.

Accounting of Expenses Required by Court

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 48.913(6), (7)

A report shall be provided to the court at the time of the hearing on the petition for adoptive placement or upon the order of the court. The report shall include a list of all transfers of anything of value made or agreed to be made by the adoptive parents or by a person acting on their behalf to a birth parent, an alleged or presumed father, or the child; on behalf of the birth parents or child; or to any other person in connection with the pregnancy, birth, placement, or adoption of the child. The report shall be itemized and shall show the goods or services for which payment was made or agreed to be made. The report shall include the dates of each payment and the names and addresses of each attorney, doctor, hospital, agency, or other person or organization receiving any payment from the adoptive parents or a person acting on their behalf.