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Financing a Florida Adoption

Tens of thousands of children are adopted every year in the United States.  Expenses can widely vary, depending on whether the adoption is by a relative or nonrelative, domestic or foreign, contested or uncontested and whether an agency is used to facilitate the adoption.  Depending on those and other factors, costs can range from $3,000 to nearly $40,000.  However, financial options exist to minimize the expense of the adoption.

Tax Credit.  Adoptive parents can claim approximately $13,000 per child for qualified expenses, including attorney fees, court costs and travel expenses.  The credit phases out for those with gross incomes between $200,000 and $240,000.  The adoption tax credit cannot exceed your total tax liability, but you can carry excess credits into the following year.  Consult a tax professional for specific information and to verify your eligibility for the adoption tax credit.

Adoption Grants and Employer Assistance. Numerous organizations, such as the Gift of Adoption Fund and others, support adoptive parents as they finance adoption fees and expenses.  Some grants are designed to facilitate only certain kinds of adoption or adoptions from certain areas of the world.  Income levels are often a factor with grants, but a growing number of employers now offer financial assistance for adoptions.  Charter Communications, for example, has assisted one of my own clients to adopt a child who was in need of a stable home.  The child was not related to my clients and verification of the expenses was as simple as a letter from my office.

Loans.  A loan can be utilized, often in conjunction with the above-referenced tax credit, to finance a Florida adoption.  A home equity loan may also be an option to offer lower than average interest rates and tax deductibility for interest payments.

Gifts.  As with any deeply personal matter, family and friends are often willing to assist loved ones to pay adoption fees and expenses.

Payment Plans.  Attorneys and adoption agencies often offer payment plans to spread the cost of an adoption out over a period of time, and thereby help clients to ease the cost of a Florida adoption.  I often agree for clients to pay legal fees, in contested adoptions, on a monthly basis as the fees accrue.  Most attorneys including myself will provide a number of pro bono representation for indigent clients as well.

Andrew D. Wheeler, Attorney at Matthews & Jones, (850) 502-3030

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Andrew D. Wheeer is a family law, elder law and appellate attorney, and the founder of The Wheeler Firm, PA. Andrew only take cases in those practice areas in order to focus on those special areas of the law. With offices in Fort Walton Beach and Miramar Beach, Andrew represents clients throughout Okaloosa and Walton counties, and has represented more than 2,000 clients over the course of the past 15 years. Andrew attended the Cumberland School of Law at Samford University, and graduated with a Juris Doctorate of law in 2002. While attending law school, Andrew was active in numerous legal writing opportunities, won awards for legal writing and was selected as a member of the Cumberland Law Review. Andrew was then accepted to the Cumberland Study Abroad Program and attended Durham University in Durham, England. Andrew also worked as a research assistant and intern for Chief Magistrate Judge John Ott in the Federal District Court for the Northern District of Alabama. Over the next 15 years, Andrew represented thousands of clients in divorce, adoption, custody modification proceedings, child support contempt actions, probate litigation, and counseled clients on elder law rights, including long-term care planning and general estate planning. Andrew believes clients desire representation from attorneys who have a thorough understanding of their specific legal issues. Therefore, after beginning his career as a general practitioner, Andrew chose to focus his career on a few specific areas of law - those that affect the family. He continues to concentrate on those areas today. Andrew regularly interacts with the public by speaking to groups of people on family and elder law topics, including long-term care planning and techniques to avoid probate litigation. In 2012, Andrew began teaching seminars on adoption law through the National Business Institute, providing guidance to other attorneys on proper procedures to secure adoptions of children. Andrew is married to Regina Wheeler, with whom he has a son, and the family resides in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida. Andrew serves as President of the Destin Kiwanis Club and is active in the local chambers of commerce.

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