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
(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:
(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:
- Not complete the adoption.
- Not consent to the adoption.
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.
- 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
- 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.
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