There are numerous costs involved in an adoption action. The total amount of expenses will vary depending on the nature of the adoption. For example, a kinship or family adoption where the natural parent(s) are cooperating with the adoption will have different costs than a case where the adoption is contested by the natural parent(s) or if the adoption is not kinship. Prospective parents will need to have background checks done prior to the adoption. Pennsylvania presently requires three (3) different background checks. Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Clearance through the Department of Human Services, Pennsylvania Criminal Record Checks through the State Police, Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) Criminal Background Check through the Department of Welfare. The costs are nominal for each of these inquiries. A home study is required for a non-kinship adoption. Due to the intensive inquiry that must be completed, this is usually a fairly substantial cost ($700+). A home study is not required for a family adoption.
There is a filing fee due to the court for an adoption petition once you are at that stage in your case. Other petitions may need to be filed depending on your circumstances and may involve additional filing fees. For example, you may need to file a petition for involuntary termination or confirmation of consent in addition to adoption petition. Filing fees vary by county but can be up to a few hundred dollars. Retaining an attorney for representation in an adoption is crucial due to the stringent requirements and procedures. Most attorneys charge hourly for their time. Ultimately, total expense can also fluctuate quite a bit depending on the nature of your case and whether everything goes smoothly and all parties cooperate versus if it is particularly contentious and additional litigation is required.