The Washington Post recently published an article about the advocacy efforts of the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys (AAAA), a national association for which I am the chairman of the legislative committee. Our association recently hired a new lobbyist to advocate for improvements in adoption law.
AAAA was active in pushing to make the adoption tax credit a permanent part of the tax code in the fiscal cliff deal reached in December of last year. One of our current priorities is to establish a national registry to help locate and notify birth fathers of adoption proceedings. With the registry, men could register their name and contact information into a confidential database and would be notified of any attempts to terminate their parental rights, or of adoption proceedings for children they may have fathered.
If interested, please take a look at the full article through the link below: http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/capitalbusiness/family-law-attorneys-lobby-for-improvements-to-adoption-process/2013/03/15/b93f7c28-8d00-11e2-9f54-f3fdd70acad2_story.html
Recently, The Wall Street Journal published an article about the financial impact of adopting a child. In my role as an adoption lawyer, I was interviewed for the story. During the interview, I explained the importance of making a financial plan and setting an adoption budget when looking to adopt. A budget can help avoid paying unnecessary expenses or falling for adoption scams.
In addition, there is financial assistance available to adoptive parents to help offset the cost of adopting, such as the federal adoption tax credit. Congress extended the tax credit in the recent fiscal cliff legislation and I’ve covered it in a number of prior posts on my site here and here, among others.
If interested, please take a look at the full article through the link below: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323452204578287961483250712.html
The adoption expense tax credit has been around since 1997, but it was set to go out of existence at the end of 2012. Fortunately, a part of the fiscal cliff legislation, passed by Congress and signed by the President on January 2, 2013 made the adoption tax credit permanent. (American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 [Pub. L. No. 112-240])
All of the ground rules remain the same as they were for the year of 2012 except that the amount of the maximum credit will increase, as will the numbers that define the lower and upper limits of income eligibility. All three of these numbers are adjusted each year in accordance with the cost of living. The maximum credit for 2013 will be $12,970 (up from the 2012 number of $12,650) and the full credit will be available to taxpayers with a modified adjusted gross income (AGI) of $194,580 or less. The credit will then phase out completely at an AGI of $234,580.
All of the other features remain intact, including:
- the ability to carry the credit forward in order to use it up,
- the ability to claim a flat credit (without the need to show actual expenses) for the adoption of a special needs child, and
- the ability to claim the credit in the case of a failed adoption attempt.
There is one limitation as the permanent tax credit is not refundable. It was refundable during 2010 and 2011 due to a provision of the health care legislation. Since this provision was not in the 2001 legislation (Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act) that was just made permanent, it is not a part of the current law.
The National Law Journal recently published an article on changes to the DC adoption process over the last 15 years. The article speaks to the greater efficiences in the current process, both through internal reforms and legislative changes. As an attorney who has practiced law in the District for 26 years, I am quoted in the article. The Children’s Law Center, also quoted in the article, has gratiously provided a link to a PDF of the full article here.
Read the article online (login required) or download a PDF.
On December 14th, I spoke with Dawn Davenport on her Creating a Family radio show. Our conversation focused on the Adoption Tax Credit. Take a listen – we covered some great information. Additionally, for another resource, take a look at Creating a Family’s FAQ page on the Adoption Tax Credit.
Link to the Adoption Tax Credit Radio Show
Recently, I was interviewed by Andrea Poe, a reporter who writes The Red Thread: An Adoptive Family Forum for The Washington Times. She asked me about my experiences as an adoptive parent and as one of Washington, DC’s top adoption attorneys. Through our conversation, I explained why every adoptive family should seek legal assistance and identified the key issues that prospective adoptive parents should be aware of.
Read the full interview here: Attorney Mark T. McDermott offers legal advice for adoptive parents
Periodically, I speak to different groups interested in adoption issues. As I have done before, on May 2, I gave the keynote address before the International Visitor Leadership Program, a program of the U.S. State Department. My keynote address described the legal and social context for international adoptions in the U.S.
If you have questions about this topic, please feel free to contact me, as I am glad to offer assistance.
Recently the National Council for Adoption (NCFA) asked me to provide my expertise on the issue of insurance for adopted children. The article I composed is linked below:
Health Insurance for Adopted Children
A story published in the February 19, 2010 edition of the City Paper in Washington, DC shows that employers do not always follow the law discussed in the above article.
Adopted Children Left Behind
On September 16, 2009, I was a guest on Dawn Davenport’s Creating a Family radio show. The show is both the #1 rated adoption podcast and infertility podcast on iTunes. The show was aimed at answering some of the key questions regarding independent domestic adoptions. Listen to the audio of the show below:
Independent Domestic Adoptions (Radio Show)
My article in the September RESOLVE newsletter discusses the recent increase in the number of independent adoptions:
Independent Adoption on the Increase
In the article I outline the factors that have led to this increase.