It is a common and valid question for many prospective birth parents: If you give your baby up for adoption, do you still have to pay child support?
Of the many reasons parents may choose adoption for their baby, financial pressure is near the top of the list. Raising a child from birth to 18 is more expensive than ever. The ability to provide a stable living situation for a child can have a significant impact on their development. Adoption is a way to give the child an opportunity to grow up in a loving, stable household while also relieving the unbearable financial pressure the birth parents are facing.
It makes sense, then, that any prospective birth parent would ask about adoption and child support. In fact, this is a common question among birth fathers, no matter how old the child being placed for adoption is. If you’re in this kind of situation, you may be worried about a few big questions:
- If the birth mother puts a child up for adoption, does the birth father have to pay any money?
- If you give up a child for adoption, do you still have to pay child support to their new parents?
- When giving up a child for adoption, can they still come after you for child support you owe?
So, do you have to pay child support after adoption? Find out more below.
Keep in mind that nothing in this article constitutes legal advice. While we aim to provide accurate and helpful adoption information, it’s always best to contact an attorney for more specific information about adoption and child support as it applies to your unique situation.
Responsibilities of Birth Parents after Adoption
Prospective birth fathers aren’t the only ones who ask about child support in the adoption process. Many prospective birth mothers ask us about this topic, too, with questions such as:
- If the birth mother puts a child up for adoption, does the birth father have to pay any money to support her?
- Does a mother who puts her child up for adoption still have to pay child support?
- If you put a child up for adoption, does the dad still have to pay child support?
The answer, generally, is no (but in every case, it is important to confirm that this is true for you with an adoption attorney or the office that handles child support matters in your state). Whether you are a prospective birth mother or birth father, know this: Adoption is the legal transfer of parental rights and responsibilities from the birth parent(s) to the adoptive parent(s). This means that, whether you are making an adoption plan for your child with a new adoptive family or your child is being adopted by a stepparent, you will likely not be responsible for future child support after adoption. Once you have consented to adoption and a placement has occurred, your parental rights are terminated, along with the parental responsibilities those rights entail, such as child support payments.
But what about situations where a birth parent was already making child support payments for a child before his or her adoption? If you give your child up for adoption, how quickly does child support stop? Generally, it stops immediately after placement occurs. However, if you are behind on past child support payments for the child in question, there is a chance you may still be responsible for making those outstanding payments — so it’s best to confirm with the department that handles child support issues in your state.
In the case of a full adoption, both birth parents’ rights are legally terminated and the child is placed for adoption with a new family. Once the birth parents sign their consent to the adoption, they no longer have rights or responsibilities for the child, including the legal obligation to make future child support payments. When you work with a private agency to create an adoption plan, you should not run into any situation where both parents give a child up for adoption but owe child support for the child they are placing.
This doesn’t, however, mean that you have to lose all connection to your child. The vast majority of private adoptions are at least semi-open, which means there is some sort of ongoing communication between the birth parents, adoptive family and child. This communication can take the form of photos, letters and other occasional updates, or it can look like video calls and in-person visits. It all depends on the adoption plan created by the birth parents. Even though your parental rights are terminated and there is no more child support after adoption, you can still maintain a connection to your child, if you’d like.
Stepparent Adoption and Child Support
Similarly, you will not be required to make future child support payments in the case of a stepparent adoption, in which you are separated from your child’s other biological parent and that parent’s new partner is adopting the child. However, if you are behind on past child support payments, you will be responsible to pay that outstanding obligation. This is important to realize, as adoption should never been seen as a “fix” for wiping the slate clean with late child support payments.
Before you stop making existing child support payments, it is important to contact the office that handles child support matters in your state. They can answer your questions about your past and future child support obligations in your individual circumstances. You may also wish to work with an adoption professional or child support attorney to ensure you are not held liable for any additional child support payments after the adoption is finalized.
So, if you’re asking, “If someone else adopts my child, do I still have to pay child support?” know that the answer is no. Your obligation for child support will likely end once the adoption is finalized. However, if you owe child support at the time of adoption, you’ll want to speak to a family lawyer to determine whether this obligation remains outstanding.
Adoption Financial Assistance
The source of your questions about adoption and child support may be motivated by financial anxiety. This is something that thousands of expectant parents experience, and we frequently receive questions such as, “Is it possible to give up a child and not pay child support?”
You should know that if you are considering adoption, it is always free to prospective birth parents. There will be no costs from an adoption agency for prospective birth parents. In addition to this, you may have access to helpful resources and potentially be able to receive adoption financial assistance during the process.
Learn More about Adoption and Child Support
The adoption process can seem complex, as can the legal elements associated with it. While this article provides some general information that we hope you find helpful, it is not intended to and should not be taken as financial or legal advice. Nothing you read on the internet can tell you for certain whether you still have to pay child support in your situation, so it’s best to contact a local attorney or your state’s child welfare department to get your specific questions answered.
If you have more questions about child support after adoption, or if you are considering adoption for your baby, you can contact request additional free adoption information online with no obligation to proceed with the adoption process. An adoption specialist can answer any additional questions you may have about the rights and responsibilities of birth fathers in adoption, as well as the financial resources available to expectant parents considering an adoption plan.