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Expenses Allowed Under California Law

Contrary to popular belief, it is against the law to buy and sell children in California or any other state. However, the law does allow for prospective adoptive parents to provide limited financial assistance to or on behalf of a birthmother should the need exist. It is important to realize that any monies paid are done so as an act of charity, not because it's tax deductible but because you don't get it back should she change her mind. California law relating to expenses is set forth in Penal Code Section 273 and Family Code Section 8812.

PENAL CODE SECTION 273

PAYMENT OF MEDICAL AND LIVING EXPENSES:
This section permits payment of maternity connected medical expenses and necessary living expenses of the birthmother preceding and during confinement. The language of the statute is as follows:

Section 273. [Payment for adoption; payment for maternity expenses]

(a) It is a misdemeanor for any person or agency to offer to pay money or anything of value, or to pay money or anything of value, to a parent for the placement for adoption, for the consent to an adoption, or for cooperation in the completion of an adoption of his or her child. (b) This section does not make it unlawful to pay the maternity-connected medical or hospital and necessary living expenses of the mother preceding and during confinement as an act of charity, as long as the payment is not contingent upon placement of the child for adoption, consent to the adoption, or cooperation in the completion of the adoption.

(c) It is a misdemeanor punishable by incarceration in the county jail for six months or a fine not exceeding two thousand five hundred dollars ($ 2,500) for any parent to obtain the financial benefits set forth in subdivision (b) with the intent to receive those financial benefits where there is an intent to do either of the following:

  1. Not complete the adoption.
  2. Not consent to the adoption.
(d) It is a misdemeanor punishable by incarceration in the county Jail for six months or a fine not exceeding two thousand five hundred dollars ($ 2,500) for any parent to obtain the financial benefits set forth in subdivision (b) from two or more prospective adopting families or persons if either parent does both of the following:
  1. Knowingly fails to disclose to those families or persons that there are other prospective adopting families or persons interested in adopting the child, with knowledge that there is an obligation to disclose that information
  2. Knowingly accepts the financial benefits set forth in subdivision (b) if the aggregate amount exceeds the reasonable maternity-connected medical or hospital and necessary living expenses of the mother preceding and during the pregnancy.
e) Any person who has been previously convicted of an offense described in subdivision (c) or (d) who is separately tried and convicted of a subsequent violation of subdivision (c) or (d), is guilty of a public offense punishable by imprisonment in the county jail or in state prison.

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